SOUTH FORK — District Judge Patrick Hayes, 58, died Tuesday, May 29, at his South Fork home.
He had served as district judge in the 12th Judicial District since 2015 and had previously served as Rio Grande County judge.
Hayes filled a new position created by state legislation increasing the number of district court judges in the 12th Judicial District. He served on the district court bench with Chief District Judge Pattie Swift, District Judge Martin Gonzales and District Judge Michael Gonzales.
The 12th Judicial District covers the entire San Luis Valley — Alamosa, Conejos, Costilla, Mineral, Rio Grande and Saguache counties.
A San Luis Valley resident since 1996, Hayes had progressed through the judicial system as deputy district attorney, chief deputy district attorney, municipal magistrate, criminal defense attorney in private practice, water referee and county court judge.
Hayes earned his undergraduate degree from Cameron University in 1987 and his Juris Doctor from Oklahoma City University School of Law in 1994.
He began his legal career in Oklahoma as assistant district attorney for Oklahoma County, Oklahoma (1994-1996). He then served as assistant district attorney for Payne County, Oklahoma before moving to the San Luis Valley in 1996.
Hayes was initially hired as a deputy district attorney for the 12th Judicial District in 1996 and served as chief deputy for the DA’s office from 1997-2001.
He then served as juvenile magistrate for the 12th Judicial District (2001-2003) and as municipal magistrate for the City of Creede (2001-2004).
He also served in private practice.
Hayes was appointed as the county court judge for Rio Grande County and as Water Referee for Division 3 in 2011.