Matthew Chandler (district attorney)
Matthew Chandler is the district attorney for the 9th Judicial District of the state of New Mexico. In 2010, Chandler narrowly lost to Democrat Gary King in the race for the office of New Mexico Attorney General. Chandler served as the Ninth Judicial District Attorney from 2004-2014. He took the office when he defeated his predecessor and incumbent in the primary election with 62% of the vote. In 2014 however, Chandler resigned from the position to open his own personal law firm, and Andrea Reeb was appointed by Governor Martinez to complete his term.
Matt Chandler was born and raised in Clovis, New Mexico. His father was a police officer and his mother a school teacher. Chandler went on to graduate from Clovis High School, where he excelled in sports and student government activities. From there, he decided to stay in his home state and attend Eastern New Mexico University in Portales, NM, where he earned his B.S. in Sociology and Criminal Justice in 1998. Chandler was very active in campus life and the student body, and was an officer in his fraternity, Kappa Sigma.
Chandler's father, Caleb, was the chief of the Clovis Police Department for 25 years, serving until 1990, when he became a local magistrate judge. He also served in the New Mexico State Senate for 12 years as a Democrat.
Chandler has cited his father's public service as a police officer as the impetus for his desire to pursue a career in law enforcement. After receiving his law degree, he served briefly at a private firm in Albuquerque before returning to Clovis in 2002 to accept a position as an Assistant District Attorney. During his first two years in the office, Chandler prosecuted many high-profile cases and had the highest conviction rate in the entire office.
Citing a spike in violent crimes and methamphetamine production and what he perceived to be a lack of aggressive prosecution of those cases, Chandler decided to challenge his boss, incumbent DA Brett Carter, in the 2004 Republican primary. After Chandler informed Carter of his intentions, Carter immediately fired him. However, Chandler would go on to defeat Carter in the primary, garnering 62% of the vote in the process.
Throughout his tenure as Ninth Judicial District Attorney, Chandler has been the recipient of lavish praise from state leaders in both parties, including Governor Bill Richardson, who has praised Chandler's work in fighting Meth production, saying, "I was very impressed by the presentation of the DA (Matt Chandler). It makes sense to me. We're going to try to develop something statewide that supplements this. We're not making the progress I want on meth labs. They're springing up everywhere."
Chandler has been credited with much of the success Curry and Roosevelt counties have had in fighting meth production, and his program, Meth Watch, has been implemented on a statewide basis with the backing of the New Mexico District Attorneys Association.
In 2006, Chandler was honored by the New Mexico Bar Association as "New Mexico's Law Enforcement Prosecutor of the Year" for his work with law enforcement officers throughout New Mexico and his success in prosecuting tough crimes. Chandler was nominated by numerous law enforcement officials throughout his jurisdiction. One of those officials, longtime Curry County Deputy Sheriff Sandy Loomis, called Chandler the, "... most devoted and professional prosecuting attorney I have had the pleasure to work with in almost 33 years of being a peace officer."
In 2012, Chandler was again honored as one of New Mexico's finest, as the New Mexico District Attorney's Association named him "New Mexico Prosecutor of the Year". This made Chandler one of the only prosecutors in New Mexico to receive two of the State's highest honors.
In 2014, Chandler was named special prosecutor of the Berrendo (Roswell) Middle School shooting. Another testament to his ability to handle the most difficult of criminal cases.
In 2014, after serving as a prosecutor for nearly 12 years, Chandler opened his own private law office in Clovis, New Mexico. The Chandler Law Firm advertises as a general law practice, capable of effectively litigating complex legal cases.
In July 2015, Chandler was appointed by Governor Susana Martinez to fill a vacancy in the Ninth Judicial District Court. Judge Chandler took the oath of office, from his father, on July 24, 2015. Judge Chandler also serves on New Mexico's Uniform Law Commission as an appointee of Governor Martinez.