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Meet Yvonne

Relevant Legal Experience

Yvonne Chicoine received her J.D. from the University of New Mexico School of Law in 2007, and was that year’s recipient of the Irwin Stern Moise Award in Legal and Judicial Ethics.  While attending law school, she clerked in the office of the district attorney for the Second Judicial District as a DWI prosecutor, at Los Alamos National Laboratory in the business, environment, employment and intellectual property law groups, and in the Albuquerque office of the United States Attorney.  She also interned in the chambers of Judge Paul Kelly (U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit) and Judge Roderick Kennedy (N.M. Court of Appeals), and in the First Judicial District Court under the supervision of then-Chief Judge James Hall.  While clerking in the First Judicial District Court, Ms. Chicoine recognized her passion for criminal justice.

Upon admission to the New Mexico Bar in 2007, Ms. Chicoine began working as an assistant district attorney in the First Judicial District.  In that capacity, she prosecuted hundreds of cases in Los Alamos, Rio Arriba and Santa Fe Counties, including murders, domestic violence, child abuse and other violent crimes, DWIs, white collar offenses and probation violations.  She cleared a backlog of more than 1,500 DWI cases, hundreds of which had been pending for more than twenty years.  She tried dozens of cases in the magistrate and district courts.

In 2011, Ms. Chicoine’s commitment to service took her to the office of the attorney general.  Between 2011 and until 2015, she served as an assistant attorney general in the criminal appeals division, arguing dozens of cases to the NM Supreme Court and the NM Court of Appeals on behalf of the people of New Mexico.

In 2015, shortly after he took office, Attorney General Hector Balderas recognized Ms. Chicoine as one of the State’s top prosecutors and appointed her to special prosecutions team.  That year, Ms. Chicoine was lead prosecutor in an eleven-year-old case that resulted in a jury finding Carlsbad defendant Curtis Jones guilty of child abuse resulting in death.  The attorney general recognized that effort with his Ultimate Crime Fighter Award.

Ms. Chicoine left her position with the office of the attorney general in March 2016 to seek election as district attorney for the First Judicial District.

In addition to being a member of the New Mexico Bar, Ms. Chicoine is admitted to practice before the U.S. Supreme Court, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit, and the U.S. District Court for the District of New Mexico.

Growing Up and Early Education

Ms. Chicoine was born in Ames, Iowa, and grew up in Downers Grove, Illinois, a suburb of Chicago, where her father taught high school industrial arts and initiated one of the Chicago area’s first co-op education programs.

In 1973, Ms. Chicoine graduated from Benet Academy, a Catholic high school in nearby Lisle, Illinois.  She went on to earn a bachelor of arts degree in international studies (magna cum laude) from Bradley University in 1977.  In 1975, she attended Georgetown University through the Institute on Comparative Political and Economic Systems, a summer program of the Fund for American Studies.  As part of that program, Ms. Chicoine interned in the Capitol Hill office of Congresswoman Cardiss Collins (D-IL).

Leading Organizations and Teams

From 1977 to 1980, Ms. Chicoine served as legislative assistant and legislative director for the American Conservative Union (ACU) in Washington, DC.  Initially hired as a coordinator of national task forces involved with issues ranging from government tax and spending issues, regulatory reform, and labor law, to national defense, Ms. Chicoine translated that part-time administrative job into a full-time policy-development position in about two months.

From 1980 to 1993, Ms. Chicoine worked for the New York-based International Trademark Association (INTA), a worldwide organization of trademark owners and those who serve them.

As INTA’s government relations manager from 1980 to 1989, Ms. Chicoine drafted and shepherded the Trademark Law Revision Act (TLRA) of 1988 through Congress in roughly eleven months.  Hailed as the most significant change in U.S. trademark law in more than 40 years, the TLRA allowed for federal trademark registrations based on intent-to-use, and paved the way for United States involvement in international trademark registration treaties and accords.  She also participated in achieving congressional passage of the Trademark Counterfeiting Act of 1984, which imposed federal criminal penalties for the intentional use of counterfeit trademarks.

As INTA’s international manager from 1989 to 1993, Ms. Chicoine was actively involved in developing policies to achieve wider international protection for intellectual property rights and developed a worldwide network for analyzing, reporting and influencing change in global trademark and unfair competition law.

During that time, Ms. Chicoine participated regularly in treaty negotiations convened by the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), a United Nations agency based in Geneva, Switzerland, and represented INTA at the diplomatic conference in Madrid, Spain that resulted in the Madrid Protocol to the Madrid Agreement for the international registration and management of trademarks.

From 1993 to 1995, Ms. Chicoine served as director of trade policy for the American Forest and Paper Association (AFPA), where she was actively involved in developing policy following the convergence of trade and environment issues as the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) evolved into the World Trade Organization (WTO).  While with AFPA, Ms. Chicoine stood toe-to-toe with European Union officials who were working to restrict European imports of American paper products through environmental labeling requirements.

Calling Santa Fe Home for more than Twenty Years

Ms. Chicoine has called Santa Fe County home for more than twenty years.  She moved to Santa Fe from Washington, DC, after her 1995 marriage to Tom Starke, a physicist at Los Alamos National Laboratory.

After her 1995 move to New Mexico, Ms. Chicoine volunteered as editor of the final report of the Government Operations Advisory Committee Report, which Governor Gary Johnson commissioned to analyze the operations New Mexico’s cabinet departments.  In 1997 and 1998, she served as an analyst and as chief legislative analyst for Republican members of the New Mexico House of Representatives.

From 1997 to 2004, Ms. Chicoine served as chief staff officer for Associated Builders and Contractors (ABC) in Albuquerque.  In that capacity, she directed the internal and external affairs of the organization, and oversaw ABC’s apprenticeship training programs and the educational trusts that funded those programs.  She implemented management systems that significantly improved ABC’s efficiency and effectiveness.

During Ms. Chicoine’s tenure, ABC experienced substantial membership growth, its assets increased by more than 300 percent, and it purchased land on which it later built its offices and training facilities.  Ms. Chicoine left ABC in 2004 to attend law school.

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