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Ex-Chief Justice of New Mexico Dies While Giving Speech to Law Students

Posted Nov 5, 2009 9:25 AM CDT
By Debra Cassens Weiss

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Former New Mexico Supreme Court Chief Justice Gene Franchini collapsed and died Wednesday while giving a speech to first-year students at the University of New Mexico School of Law.

Students tried to perform CPR but were unable to revive Franchini, KOB.com reports. The audience of about 100 people included students, faculty and Franchini’s wife, the story says.

Franchini was a judge for 18 years, including 12 years on the supreme court, according to a story published last year in the New Mexico Business Weekly. He was chief justice from 1997 to 1999.

Franchini was delivering his annual speech on ethics and the role of a judge when he collapsed. Law student Sheldon Spottedelk said Franchini’s death has changed his perspective. "It puts a lot of things into context about what life is," he told KOB.com. "As law students get wrapped up in school, but I don't know, I think that brings a human aspect of life back to us."

Hat tip to How Appealing.

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