Re-Elect Kari Brandenburg for District Attorney
Re-Elect Kari Brandenburg for District Attorney


Kari Brandenburg: Doing the Right Thing for the Right Reason

Democratic Candidate for Second Judicial District Attorney

Meet Kari

Early Years

Kari Brandenburg was born and raised in Albuquerque. Her passion for justice began early: She grew up in the courtroom watching her father, Jim Brandenburg, serve with distinction as the Chief Trial Attorney for the Bernalillo County District Attorney’s Office from 1965 to 1971, and as the District Attorney from 1972 to 1976.

Legal Career

Following her graduation from Southern Methodist University’s School of Law in 1979, Kari went to work for the New Mexico Public Defender’s Office, where she honed her skills not only as a trial lawyer, but also as a skillful collaborator and manager of people.

In 1982, Kari joined her father in private practice, specializing in criminal law. She has practiced in New Mexico in Metropolitan, Magistrate, and District Courts.

She has had the privilege to participate in Federal cases in California and Arizona. She has also argued before the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals in Denver, Colorado.

Kari is equally at home in the courtroom as she is in the office, taking a multi-faceted approach to her job that is considered distinctive among district attorneys nation-wide.

Kari’s work as a trial lawyer is of great significance to her, as it represents a willingness to fight personally for the issues she considers important. This commitment has earned her the respect not only of her colleagues in the Second Judicial District Attorney’s office, but also of Bernalillo County’s law enforcement community.
Kari has personally tried several high profile cases. All resulted in successful prosecutions. She is currently involved in prosecuting a death penalty case and other ongoing homicide cases.

Political Victories

In June 2000, Kari ran a rigorous primary campaign for Second Judicial District Attorney, beating the incumbent by a wide margin.

In the 2000 general election, held in November, she was up against a longtime New Mexico state senator. Once more Kari won—again, by a wide margin.

Kari’s 2004 run for Second Judicial District Attorney was uncontested.

On November 4, 2008, Kari beat her Republican opponent in a 16 point landslide victory. 

In the June 2012 primary, Kari trampled her opponent with an almost 20 point victory margin. Of significant note is that Kari spent two out of the five months leading up to the primary in out-of-state trials, taking her away from the campaign trail.

Kari faced a write-in candidate in the November 2012 general election. Despite this, she had more votes than any other candidate in Bernalillo County, including those unopposed. She won with over 96% of the vote.

Professional Objectives

In January 2001, Kari assumed the office of the Second Judicial District Attorney. She has been consistently committed to three objectives:

-To raise the morale of staff members and support them in achieving their full potential

-To increase public safety by effectively prosecuting offenders of the law

-To restore the public’s faith in the integrity of the criminal justice system


Kari is committed to increasing public safety and quality of life for Bernalillo County residents.

She believes that every case her office prosecutes is important and impacts the community.
As a result, assistance to victims and their families is of great importance, as is maintaining a trusting and productive partnership with both law enforcement agencies and the courts.


During her tenure as Second Judicial District Attorney, Kari developed a number of initiatives. These include:

  1. Truancy Prevention Program
  2. Early Plea Program
  3. Kids Against Violence Art Project
  4. Mether Initiative

The Second Judicial District Attorney’s Office also developed several significant Memoranda of Understanding (MOU):

- Between 2002 and 2006, MOUs with three local pueblos—Isleta, Laguna, and Sandia—to prosecute crimes committed in gaming facilities.

-In 2001, a collaborative MOU with law enforcement agencies to assure that all officer involved shootings would be investigated thoroughly and with objectivity and integrity. This MOU has served as a model throughout the state of New Mexico.

Teaching and Outreach

From 2004 to 2006, Kari headed the Metropolitan Criminal Justice Coordinating Council, an organization that brought participants in the criminal justice system together to collaborate on relevant issues and work collectively to become more proactive, efficient, and effective.

Each June, Kari teaches a course on professionalism at the Second Judicial District Attorney Office’s June Jubilee. She also teaches on the same subject at the annual Association of District Attorney’s Fall Conference, which draws attendees from across the state.

During her terms as Second Judicial District Attorney, Kari has taught various classes as a guest lecturer at the University of New Mexico School of Law, including a course on ethics and a session on women and the law at UNM’s 2003 Women’s Law Caucus. In 2011, Kari spoke at the New Mexico Bench and Bar Conference.

Kari’s television show, Full Disclosure With The District Attorney, has been airing on the government channel for more than two years. She sees the program as a valuable tool for educating the public by discussing legal issues and demystifying the criminal justice system.

As part of her commitment to civic awareness, Kari also spends a great deal of her personal time accommodating requests to speak in front of organizations—from community groups like Rotary and Civitan to high-school and middle-school classes.

Awards and Honors

The Second Judicial District Attorney’s Office has received recognition and many awards over the past eight years. Among them are:

-Coordination Honor Award, presented by the United States Department of Justice, Office of Justice Programs, Community Capacity Development Office, which recognized the Second Judicial District Attorney’s Office for “exemplary contribution as a partnering agency and member of the Violent Crimes Impact Team in the implementation of the Albuquerque Weed and Seed projects.”

-The United States Department of Justice Certificate of Commendation, for “outstanding performance and invaluable support of law enforcement efforts in the District of New Mexico.”

-Honorary Commander, Kirtland Air Force Base 2003 to 2008

-Special Recognition of Community Service from the Westside-South Valley Weed and Seed Strategy.

-Certificate of Appreciation from the New Mexico Drug Enforcement Advisory Council.

-Albuquerque Bar Association Outstanding Attorney of the Year.

-The New Mexico Narcotics Officer's Association Prosecutor of the Year

-The New Mexico District Attorney's Association Prosecutor of the Year

Professional Affiliations

Kari is a member of numerous legal associations, including:

-The American Bar Association
-The New Mexico Bar Association
-The National District Attorney’s Association
-The Association of District Attorneys
-National College of District Attorneys Alumni Association

Professional Coalitions

Kari is a member and participant in a number of professional coalitions, among them:

-The Criminal Justice Collaborative Executive Team
-Albuquerque Family Advocacy Center Advisory Board
-The National District Attorney’s Association

Other Affiliations

Kari and the Second Judicial District Attorney’s Office are or have been active with the following organizations:

-Middle Rio Grande Valley Task Force
-New Mexico Gang Task Force
-Financial Institutions Security Officers Association (FIOSA)
-National White Collar Crime Center
-Criminal Justice Collaborative Technical Support Team
-Project Safe Neighborhood
-Weed and Seed
-Albuquerque Retailers Assets Protection Association (ARAPA)
-APD Problem Oriented Policing Partnership (POP)
-Auto Theft Task Force
-APD Public Safety Partnership
-NETWORK to Prevent Sexual Assault and Domestic Violence
-Intimate Partner Death Review Team
-Judicial Performance Evaluation Committee
-Children’s Law Section, New Mexico State Bar
-Juvenile Detention Alternatives Initiative
-Second Judicial District Court Juvenile Drug Court Team
-Sexual Offender Response Team (SORT)
-Metro Court Rules Committee
-New Mexico Pedestrian Death Action Review Team
-Albuquerque Community Collaborative to Reduce Truancy
-Children’s Justice Act Advisory Group (CJAAG)
-Board of Advocacy, Inc.
-Bernalillo County Multi-Disciplinary Team for Child Abuse
-Child Fatality Review Team
-Child Abuse and Neglect Panel
-Supreme Court Criminal UJI Committee
-Supreme Court criminal Rules Committee
-MDT (a multidisciplinary team consisting of law enforcement, CYFD, All Faiths, the Second Judicial District Attorney’s Office, and others.)
-Juvenile Justice Advisory Council (JJAC)
-New Mexico Sentencing Commission- Juvenile Subcommittee
-S.A.N.E. Board of Directors
-Legislative Education Study Committee Work Group
-Specialty Courts:

Metropolitan Court:

Mental Health Court
Courts to School
Homeless Court

Juvenile Court:

Teen Court

District Court:

Drug Court
Judicial Supervision Program (formerly known as Mental Health Court)
Veteran's Court

-New Mexico DNA Identification Oversight Committee
-New Mexico Drug Enforcement Advisory Council (DEAC)
-New Mexico Narcotics Officer's Association
-New Mexico Sheriff's and Police Association
-New Mexico Crimestoppers
-Construction Industry Crime Alliance
-High Intensity Drug Enforcement Area (HIDTA)
-Albuquerque Fraud Reduction Group
-Community Behavioral Health and Criminal Justice Summit
-Family Advocacy Center Advisory Board
-Various Legislative Memorial Committees

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