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Shammara H. Henderson

Judge Shammara H. Henderson serves as a judge on the New Mexico Court of Appeals. Shammara has an extensive career fighting for New Mexicans in their time of need, protecting our civil rights and ensuring everyone has their fair day in the legal system. Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham appointed her to the New Mexico Court of Appeals, and she must run statewide in the 2020 election to keep her seat on the bench. Shammara was appointed to the court after the bi-partisan Judicial Nominating Commission found her “qualified” and recommended her to the Governor.


Shammara has always had the strong desire to serve her fellow New Mexicans. Prior to being appointed, she practiced law at the Freedman, Boyd, Hollander, Goldberg, Urias & Ward Law Firm in the areas of criminal defense, plaintiff’s injury, employment discrimination, civil rights, and witness representation. She presented throughout the country and internationally on issues regarding affirmative litigation; trial skills; electronic discovery (eDiscovery) and use of electronically stored information (ESI) in court; civil rights and criminal civil rights; implicit bias; heroin and opiate addiction; and trains law enforcement.

Born and raised in Albuquerque, NM, Shammara graduated from Valley High School. Shammara received a bachelor’s degree in political science and philosophy from American University in Washington, D.C., where she received a full ride with the highly competitive Frederick Douglass Scholarship. Shammara received her J.D. from the University of New Mexico School of Law where she received the W.E. Bondurant Scholarship and University of New Mexico Graduate Fellowship and upon graduation the Dean’s Award.


After graduating from law school, Shammara clerked for Justice Charles W. Daniels at the New Mexico Supreme Court. She started her career as a litigator as a prosecutor with the Second Judicial District Attorney’s Office in Albuquerque, N.M., where she prosecuted DWI/DUI and domestic violence cases. She later became the Associate General Counsel for the Office of Governor. Shammara advised the governor’s office on legal matters ranging from pardons and paroles to criminal legislation, environmental legislation, and higher education.


In 2011, Shammara joined the United States Attorney’s Office for the District of New Mexico. There, she prosecuted reactive narcotics, bank robberies and other burglaries, identification fraud, and child pornography cases, including international production of child pornography. She focused on long term drug investigation cases, large drug trafficking organizations, and diversion cases as well as criminal civil rights cases, involving issues like excessive force, hate crimes, and reproductive rights. She successfully prosecuted hundreds of cases to include sentences up to 120 years.


Alongside her duties as a prosecutor, she engaged in extensive outreach with the community and law enforcement to ensure the best allocation of finite resources. She successfully promoted fairer enforcement of the laws to alleviate disparate impacts of the criminal justice system, especially racial impacts, and ensure more just punishments for low-level, nonviolent convictions. She advocated for bolstering prevention and reentry efforts to deter crime and reduce recidivism and strengthening protections for vulnerable populations. She helped train federal and local law enforcement to work more closely with federal and state prosecutors to focus on the most violent criminals in the state. She developed and presented training and outreach programs across the state. Finally, Shammara practiced civil law, defending the United States in personal injury, civil rights, and employment discrimination cases.


In 2017, Shammara co-founded her own law firm Henderson & Grohman, PC. She successfully appealed a race-based detention order for their African American client that resulted in his release, dismissed criminal cases base on discovery violations, and successfully settled multiple plaintiff injury cases in New Mexico. Henderson & Grohman, PC joined Freedman, Boyd, Hollander, Goldberg, Urias, & Ward, PA in October of 2018.


Shammara has received the following awards: Albuquerque Business First 40 Under 40 (2016); National Bar Association Nation’s Best Advocate 40 Lawyers Under 40 Award (2017); University Of New Mexico School Of Law Alumni Promise Award (2017); State Bar Outstanding Young Lawyer Of The Year Award (2018); National Bar Association Presidential Award (2018); Super Lawyers Rising Star (2020).


Shammara’s community involvement includes: Chair, New Mexico Sentencing Commission; Board Member, Center on Law and Poverty; Member, University of New Mexico Alumni Association Board; Fellow, American Bar Foundation; Arts Facet Chair, Albuquerque Chapter of the Links, Inc.; Member, Alpha Kappa Alpha, Sorority, Inc., Iota Xi Omega Chapter; past-President, UNM School of Law Alumni/ae Board; past Board Member-At-Large, National Bar Association; past President, New Mexico Black Lawyers Association; past Board Member, NM Board Of Bar Examiners;

Shammara is licensed to practice in New Mexico, the U.S. District Court for the District of New Mexico, and the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit.