WCA Judges

WCA Continues Limited Onsite Operations

The New Mexico Workers' Compensation Administration (WCA), in keeping with directives issued by Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham to further reduce community spread of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19), will continue to operate telephonically for mediations and hearings, and for much of the agency's daily operations.
Just another reminder, employers are responsible for the cost and arrangement of a qualified interpreter for the telephonic hearings and mediations, including arrangements for telephonic participation by the interpreter. Employers and their counsel are requested to set up conference calls for all parties, and provide conference calling information to the mediators, judges and Director. All parties, counsel and interpreters are strongly encouraged to participate telephonically from their own homes and offices to minimize exposure.
Continuing updates will be posted on the WCA website as soon as available. ​

It is improper for a party to contact a judge directly regarding a pending matter. Please feel free to contact the secretary listed.

Shanon RileyShanon Riley

Secretary: Brenda Zamora - 505-841-6068

Chief Judge Shanon Riley practiced law in New Mexico for 10 years prior to joining the WCA as a judge in August 2011. Riley had been serving as assistant district attorney in the 1st Judicial District Court in Santa Fe and spent three years as the general counsel for the New Mexico Department of Military Affairs. She also worked as an analyst for the House Judiciary Committee; as an associate attorney with a private law firm; and associate trial attorney for the 2nd Judicial District Attorney’s Office. She earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in criminal justice in 1993 from the University of New Mexico, and a Juris Doctor degree in 2001 from the University of New Mexico School of Law.



Rachel BaylessRachel A. Bayless

Secretary: Jaime Gutierrez - 505-841-6007

Judge Rachel A. Bayless was appointed in April 2017. She previously served as general counsel of the WCA since February 2014. Bayless has worked as an associate attorney at Madison, Harbour & Mroz, P.A., and as a staff attorney for the Law Office of Eva K. Blazejewski. Her experience includes insurance defense, personal injury defense, representing employers and insurers in workers’ compensation matters, and some plaintiffs' work. She has also worked for the 2nd Judicial District Attorney’s Office as an assistant district attorney in the Metro Court and Crimes Against Children Divisions. Bayless earned a Bachelor of Business Administration degree from Eastern New Mexico University in 2001, and a Juris Doctorate degree from the University of New Mexico School of Law in 2005.



Judge Tony CoutureTony Couture

Secretary: Andrea Martinez - 505-841-6841

Judge Tony Couture graduated from the University of New Mexico School of Law in 2007. He was in private practice in the areas of workers’ compensation, general liability and complex civil litigation. Before entering the legal field, he was a registered nurse and computer scientist. His nursing experience has helped him have a deep understanding of the complicated medical issues that often accompany workers’ compensation matters. Couture is passionate about working to advance the New Mexico Workers’ Compensation Administration’s mission to assure the timely delivery of benefits to injured workers at a reasonable cost to employers. He is a member of the State Bar of New Mexico and the American Bar Association.



Leonard PadillaLeonard Padilla

Secretary: Brenda Zamora - 505-841-6068

Judge Leonard Padilla brought more than 25 years of legal experience to the WCA when he was appointed in August 2013. He previously worked in both private practice and public service, including 16 years of experience in workers’ compensation law. From 1992 through 1997 he was recognized as a certified specialist in workers’ compensation law by the New Mexico Board of Legal Specialization. Before joining the WCA, Padilla served nine years as chief administrative law judge for the New Mexico State Personnel Office. He earned a Bachelor of Science degree in education in 1979 from Eastern New Mexico University, and received a Juris Doctor degree in 1988 from Southern Methodist University in Dallas,Texas.




Reginald WoodardReg. C. Woodard

Secretary: Anna Torres - 505-841-6029

Judge Reg. C. Woodard had more than 35 years of legal experience, prior to his appointment in November 2012. Woodard practiced in the area of workers’ compensation law for more than 16 years. He had been a recognized certified specialist in workers’ compensation law by the New Mexico Board of Legal Specialization since 2005. Woodard came to the WCA from the law firm of Woodard and Associates, PC., where he was a sole proprietor since 2004. Prior to that he was affiliated with Sturges, Houston & Sexton, PC. He has also been in-house counsel for CIGNA Insurance Companies. Woodard earned a Bachelor of Undergraduate Studies degree from the University of New Mexico in 1974. He earned his Juris Doctor degree in 1977 from the University of New Mexico School of Law.