The first in the history of his family to ever have the chance to attend high school, Charles Daniels joined the United States Air Force for five years of active duty after graduating from the Albuquerque Public Schools.
With the assistance of the G.I. Bill, academic scholarships and part-time jobs, he received his degree from the University of Arizona, where he graduated Magna Cum Laude; his Juris Doctor dgree from the UNM School of Law, where he was editor-in-chief of the law review, earned a position on the National Moot Court Team and graduated first in his class academically; and his Master of Laws Degree from Georgetown University, where he was awarded a Prettyman Fellowship and a Certificate of Proficiency in Trial Advocacy.
He and his wife, Albuquerque lawyer Randi McGinn, have 4 children and 6 grandchildren. Currently living with them at the family home are a grandson, Axiao Daniels, and a student from Hong Kong, Cheuk Ho Yan, who came to them several years ago under a foreign exchange program and who has stayed to pursue his own educational opportunities at the University of New Mexico.
In addition to his legal and family interests, Justice Daniels has been a semiprofessional race car driver with season championships at four different race tracks and a country-rock bass guitar player and songwriter (you can see him playing bass on the Brooks and Dunn video "Brand New Man")
Prior to being appointed to the Supreme Court by Governor Bill Richardson, Charles Daniels was a senior member of the firm that bore his name since its founding over three decades ago. His practice was devoted to criminal and civil trials and appeals in both state and federal courts.
He had been recognized by his peers in the legal profession with the highest Martindale-Hubbell "AV" ratings, inclusion in the Bar Register of Preeminent Lawyers and recognition in every edition of the legal profession's survey-based publication, "Best Lawyers in America," since its first edition over twenty years ago. He has been recognized by the Albuquerque Bar Association with its Outstanding Lawyer of the Year Award, by the New Mexico Bar Association with its Quality of Life award, and by the Roscoe Pound Institute with its National Trial Advocacy Teacher of the Year award.
Justice Daniels' cases in courts from Puerto Rico to Hawaii involved a wide range of subjects, including the entire spectrum of criminal defense practice, personal injury and wrongful death, business litigation, securities litigation, antitrust, civil rights, law reform, legislative redistricting and election integrity issues.
A former professor at the law schools of the University of New Mexico and Howard University, Justice Daniels continued to teach ethics and litigation-related topics in law school courses and professional seminars to judges and lawyers throughout the country.
Prior to his appointment to the Supreme Court, Justice Daniels served as a member of the Supreme Court's Lawyer Disciplinary Board and as Chair of its Uniform Jury Instructions and Rules of Evidence Committees.
His legal work as a lawyer has been featured on such national venues as Court TV, 20/20, Dateline and A&E's City Confidential. Although he represented celebrities, political figures, professionals and others in the public eye, he had the privilege of representing a lot of little-known people whose cases and whose lives have been every bit as important.
For over thirty-eight years as a lawyer, he had the extraordinary opportunity to work for justice for one client at a time. As a Justice of the Supreme Court, he now has the even more extraordinary opportunity of working for justice for all.