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Sarah M. Singleton

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Sarah M. Singleton
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Current Court Information:
New Mexico First Judicial District Court
Title:   Judge
Active:   2009-12/31/2020
Past position:   Attorney, Montgomery & Andrews
Past term:   1985-2009
Personal History
Undergraduate:   Sarah Lawrence College, 1971
Law School:   Indiana University School of Law, 1974
Candidate 2014:
Candidate for:  1st District Court
Position:  Retention
State:  New Mexico
Election information 2014:
Incumbent:  Yes
Election date:  11/4/2014

Sarah M. Singleton is a district court judge in the First Judicial District of New Mexico. She was appointed to the court in 2009, and elected in 2010.[1] She was retained in 2014 for a term that expires on December 31, 2020.[2]



See also: New Mexico judicial elections, 2014
Singleton ran for retention to the 1st District Court. The general election took place on November 4, 2014.[2]

Judicial performance evaluation

The New Mexico Judicial Performance Evaluation Commission recommended that Judge Singleton be retained. The full report is available here.


In 2010 Singleton ran for election to the seat she was appointed to in 2009. She defeated Peter V. Culbert in the Democratic primary, winning 78.1% of the vote and ran unopposed in the general election receiving 100% of the vote.[1][3]

See also: New Mexico judicial elections, 2010


Singleton was endorsed by the Rio Grande Sun.[1]


Singleton attended the Sarah Lawrence College in Bronxville, New York for her B.A. in 1971. In 1974 she received her J.D. from the Indiana University School of Law in Bloomington, Indiana.[4]


Singleton worked in the appellate division of the New Mexico Public Defender Department from 1974 to 1975 and in 1976 she was the acting appellate defender. From 1976 to 1981 she was a founding partner of Pickard & Singleton. She worked in the Singleton Law Offices from 1981 until 1985. Singleton was with Montgomery & Andrews from 1985 to 2009.[5]

Awards and associations

Notable cases

Same-sex marriage licenses to be issued in Santa Fe County (2013)

On August 22, 2013, Judge Singleton became the first New Mexico judge to rule that same-sex couples can be married. The judge wrote in her order:
[R]eading a sex or sexual orientation requirement into the laws of New Mexico violates the state constitution, which mandates that ‘equality of rights under law shall not be denied on account of the sex of any person.’[6][7]

The order came as a result of a lawsuit filed by Alexander Hanna and Yon Hudson. Judge Singleton ordered the County Clerk Geraldine Salazar to issue the couple a marriage license, which Salazar, as a self-proclaimed supporter of same-sex marriage was happy to do. Commissioner Liz Stefanics, a former state senator, and Linda Siegle became the first gay couple to get a marriage license in Santa Fe County. They were followed by Hanna and Hudson.[8]

The issue of gay marriage also surfaced in other New Mexico courts around the same time. The New Mexico Supreme Court ruled on August 22, the same day as Judge Singleton's ruling, that a photography company could not refuse to photograph a lesbian wedding.[9] On August 21, Doña Ana County Clerk Lynn Ellins decided on his own to start issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples. Following Judge Singleton's decision in Santa Fe County, District Judge Alan Malott made a similar ruling in Bernalillo County on August 26, arguing that denying same-sex marriage amounts to discrimination based on sexual orientation, which the New Mexico Constitution forbids.[10]

The rulings of Judge Singleton and Judge Malott, however, affected only the counties within their jurisdiction. New Mexico law does not currently ban same-sex marriage, nor does it explicitly approve it. The attorney general's office interpreted the law as prohibitive of gay marriage, but earlier 2013, the Santa Fe City Council passed a resolution recognizing gay marriage as legal.[6]

Statewide license investigation (2011)

In September 2011, following the return of undeliverable documents, Singleton authorized the state to investigate whether foreign nationals were still living in New Mexico, through the Residency Recertification Program. The state sent letters to 10,000 foreign nationals who hold driver's licenses. A lawsuit is pending that challenges the scope of the investigation, with the governor's administration and the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund at odds.[11]

On August 31, 2011, Singleton issued a temporary restraining order against the administration.[12]

See also

External links


New MexicoUnited States District Court for the District of New MexicoUnited States bankruptcy court, District of New MexicoUnited States Court of Appeals for the Tenth CircuitNew Mexico Supreme CourtNew Mexico Court of AppealsNew Mexico District CourtsNew Mexico Magistrate CourtNew Mexico Municipal CourtsNew Mexico Probate CourtsNew Mexico Problem-Solving CourtsNew Mexico Workers' Compensation Administration CourtBernalillo County Metropolitan CourtNew Mexico countiesNew Mexico judicial newsNew Mexico judicial electionsJudicial selection in New MexicoNewMexicoTemplate.jpg