AJ Salazar, Esq.
518A Paseo de Onate
Espanola, New Mexico, 87532
505.747.3977 (Office) 505.459.8571 (Cell)
I have represented clients across the entire state of New Mexico in various litigation matters for over 23 years, including successfully obtaining favorable verdicts in the majority of more than 100 jury trials conducted. I have represented clients before state agencies and commissions and in numerous arbitration and ADR proceedings on such issues as civil rights violation actions, labor/employment claims, and civil and criminal traffic citations.
In addition to my successful criminal defense practice, I also represent professional and amateur Mixed Martial Arts Competitors in various regional and international promotions such as Invicta FC and the UFC.
Expertise is sought by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center.
Served in Baghdad, Iraq with Central Criminal Court of Iraq-Task Force 134, Multi-National Forces-Iraq, prosecuting over 500 insurgents through the new criminal justice system, educated Iraqi government leaders in the American system of jurisprudence and participated in developing a foundation for the new Iraqi government.
As Special Counsel to the Speaker of the House, provided legal counsel and legal analysis to Speaker of the House Rep. Ben Lujan during the 2009 legislative session. Prepared bill analysis and coordinated with citizens, state agencies, legislative leadership and committees regarding hearings, procedure and movement of legislation. Researched issues on complex areas of law to assist in the drafting and passing of legislation beneficial to the citizens of New Mexico.
As Chief Deputy District Attorney, managed caseloads for the division/bureau in addition to personal caseload of over 100 felony cases, assisted and lead in special prosecutions assigned by the District Attorney and supervised and mentored attorneys and staff of 35 plus employees.
Extensive knowledge in the areas of criminal prosecution, rules of evidence and rules of criminal procedure, office policies and procedures; public relations skills, organizational skills, supervisory skills, advanced computer skills, fully-effective trial skills; ability to draft legal documents, ability to work effectively with other criminal justice agencies, ability to communicate effectively, ability to research/analyze information and situations.
Instructor for several notable courses/programs for the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center (FLETC), Rural Policing Institute, New Mexico Law Enforcement Academy, New Mexico State Police, University of New Mexico, and Northern New Mexico Community College.
Salazar Law Offices, P.C.
Statewide practice consisting of general civil law, (personal injury, domestic relations, employment) and criminal law.
Maintain office budget and supervise/direct office staff.
Held contracts for prosecution services for the City of Espanola and for the County of Los Alamos; prosecuted municipal offenses and failure to appear/failure to comply and zoning code violations. Interact with court staff and coordinate and advise police department personnel and County Attorney as needed.
United States Army Judge Advocate General’s Corps
Office of the Staff Judge Advocate US Army Reserve Legal Command October 2002-Present
Trial Counsel, 103rd Sustainment Command (Expeditionary), Des Moines, Iowa
Team Leader, 117th Legal Operations Detachment, Albuquerque, New Mexico, 2011-2016.
Military prosecutor and Staff Attorney responsible for providing support to active Army component and legal assistance to active and reserve soldiers.
Engaged in all legal aspects of Federal misdemeanor/felony prosecutions and non-judicial actions.
Primary legal advisor to commanders, special agents and investigators.
Provided oversight and training of all office personnel comprised of attorneys, paralegals, and administrative staff.
Deployed twice to Iraq, for a total active duty of twenty months in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom.
Advised, prepared and presented cases for prosecution of insurgents and terrorists in the Central Criminal Court of Iraq, Task Force 134, 2007.
Specialized knowledge, experience and expertise in joint military operations in strategic, operational and tactical levels.
Specialized training in weapons, self-defense and combat techniques.
Pueblo of Pojoaque, Judge Pro Tem
March 2010-August 2010
Served as Tribal Judge in complex criminal proceedings on an as-needed basis.
New Mexico Secretary of State’s Office Bureau of Elections Director April 2009-February 2010
Oversaw and administered all elections for the State of New Mexico.
Coordinated with state legislators regarding the drafting of new proposed elections-related legislation.
Drafted and implemented several elections-specific New Mexico Administrative Code rules.
Testified before Legislative Finance Committee.
Supervised professional staff.
Developed strategic and technical plans and budge regarding oversight of the reconstruction and redesign of campaign finance reporting website.
First Judicial District Attorney’s Office
Chief Deputy District Attorney, July 2005-January 2009
Deputy District Attorney
July 2000-July 2005
Served as Chief Deputy District Attorney for Santa Fe, Los Alamos and Espanola, New Mexico.
Supervised the Rio Arriba County Branch Office consisting of two staff attorneys and four support personnel.
Charged and prosecuted criminals in routine and complex felony cases.
Conducted training for staff and law enforcement.
Assisted in establishing and enforcing office policies.
New Mexico Attorney General’s Office
Assistant Attorney General January 1999-March 2000
Attorney assigned to Special Prosecutions Division and Foreign Prosecutions Unit.
Prosecuted criminal cases throughout the state of New Mexico.
Investigated and prepared felony criminal cases for prosecution in the Republic of Mexico.
Worked closely with multi-national officials to ensure successful criminal prosecution in routine and complex cases involving immigration status issues.
Second Judicial District Attorney’s Office
Assistant District Attorney April 1997-January 1999
Attorney assigned to Property Crimes and Violent Crimes Division.
Prosecuted violent felony cases in State District Court.
In charge of coordinating and directing investigations of all police-involved shootings within the Second Judicial District.
Performed all routine duties of ADA; charged and prosecuted criminals in routine and complex misdemeanor and felony cases.
Lead and assisted in trial teams.
Appointed co-counsel in major death penalty litigation in Capital Crimes Unit.
Law Office of Salazar and Raphaelson
October 1996-April 1997
General practice specializing in criminal law.
Developed superior research and writing skills.
Maintained office budget.
First Judicial District Attorney’s Office
Assistant District Attorney August 1993-October 1996
Prosecuted cases in State District Court.
Assigned as Children’s Court Prosecutor.
Handled all civil mental health commitments within the First Judicial District.
Performed all routine duties of ADA.
EDUCATION & TRAINING
University of New Mexico School of Law-Albuquerque, New Mexico
Juris Doctorate, 1993
National Mock Trial Team, 1992-1993
Council on Legal Education Opportunities (CLEO)
Fellowship recipient, 1990-1993
Phi Delta Phi International Fraternity
Mexican American Law Student Association, member/treasurer 1990-1992
Co-Author for the New Mexico Criminal Practice Manual, Chapter 4, Competency of the Defendant, 1992
University of New Mexico -Albuquerque, New Mexico Bachelor of Arts in Criminal Justice, 1989
State Bar of New Mexico, Admitted 1993
Federal Bar for the District of New Mexico, Admitted 1997
Special Qualifications and Training
Certificate of Training: The University of New Mexico-Anderson School of Management, Grant Skills Writing Workshop, 2016
Certificate of Training: International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP); "Police Use of Force" seminar, 1998
Certificate of Training: New Mexico Office of the Medical Investigator for Death investigation, 1998
Certificate of Training: U.S. Department of Justice in Gang/Drug Prosecutions, 1994
Currently hold U.S. Secret Clearance issued in 2002
Graduate of Phase I, Phase II and Phase III of United States Army Command General Staff College (Master's Level Military Science, Doctrine and Leadership) 2015
Organizations and Awards
New Mexico Trial Lawyers Association
New Mexico State Bar Criminal Law Section, current
National Hispanic Bar Association, current
First Judicial District Bar Association, current
Fraternal Order of Police, Santa Fe, New Mexico
First Judicial District Judicial Selection Committee, 1996-1997
New Mexico Gang Task Force, 1999-2000
Veterans of Foreign Wars, Santa Fe, New Mexico
Awarded Outstanding Work Performance from Second Judicial District Attorney’s Office, 1998
Bronze Star Medal, awarded for service in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom, 2004
Combat Action Badge, awarded for combat service in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom, 2004
Joint Meritorious Service Medal, awarded for service in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom, 2007
United States Department of Justice, award for prosecution excellence, 2006
United States Department of Justice, award for prosecution/community prosecution, 2008
First Judicial District Attorney’s office, award for meritorious service, 2008