Zach joined the firm of Garcia Ives Nowara in 2012, having practiced for over a decade at Freedman Boyd Hollander Goldberg Ives & Duncan PA. Before he began practicing, he served as a law clerk to the Honorable Pamela B. Minzner, who was then Chief Justice of the New Mexico Supreme Court. He represents clients in criminal cases and investigations, appeals, and civil rights cases in federal and state courts.
Zach is listed in The Best Lawyers in America in the area of white-collar criminal defense. He represents people and corporations involved in criminal investigations and cases. His clients have included witnesses, subjects, targets, and defendants in white-collar cases including health care fraud and political corruption, and in many other types of cases including drug possession and trafficking, firearms offenses, violent crimes, and immigration offenses. Zach also handles administrative investigations into suspected misconduct, as well as administrative proceedings such as debarments and security clearance matters.
Zach co-wrote the merits brief in Gonzales v. O Centro Espirita Beneficente Uniao do Vegetal, 546 U.S. 418 (2006). The United States Supreme Court decided the case unanimously in favor of the client Zach and his co-counsel represented: a small church seeking to prevent the federal government from interfering with its religious practices.
Other appellate decisions include State v. McClaugherty, 2008-NMSC-044, 144 N.M. 483, 188 P.3d 1234; State v. Villa, 2004-NMSC-031, 136 N.M. 367, 98 P.3d 1017; United States v. Martinez-Barragan, 545 F.3d 894 (10th Cir. 2008); and United States v. Burson, 531 F.3d 1254 (10th Cir. 2008).
Zach has also represented amici curiae (friends of the court) in appeals involving significant legal issues. In the Supreme Court of New Mexico, he argued and briefed an appeal for the New Mexico Criminal Defense Lawyers Association in a challenge to the constitutionality of the state sentencing statute. He also assisted in representing the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers in In re Sealed Case, 310 F.3d 717 (Foreign Surveillance Ct. of Rev. 2002).
In 2008, the American Civil Liberties Union of New Mexico named Zach a cooperating attorney of the year for his work in a variety of different types of civil rights cases. He seeks compensation for the victims of police misconduct, fights to protect his clients’ rights to freely exercise their religion and to freely express their ideas, and works to improve jail conditions through class action litigation. He has also represented employees who have suffered unlawful discrimination and retaliation.
New Mexico Supreme Court, Uniform Criminal Jury Instructions Committee, Chair, 2006–2011, and Member, 2003–2006
United States Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit, Criminal Justice Act Appeals Panel, Member, 2006–present
United States District Court for the District of New Mexico, Criminal Justice Act Felony Panel Member, 2006–present
New Mexico, 2000.
United States District Court for the District of New Mexico, 2001.
United States Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit, 2001.
Supreme Court of the United States, 2005.
United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit, 2008.
Vassar College, B.A. 1995, with honors, Phi Beta Kappa.
University of New Mexico School of Law, J.D. 2000, Magna Cum Laude, Order of the Coif, Thesis Honors, Alumni Writing Prize, Clinical Honors, Julia Raymond McCulloch Memorial Award for Constitutional Law, Jerrold J. Walden Award for Overall Academic Performance.
Landmark Supreme Court case on religious liberty
— Gonzales v. O Centro Espirita Beneficente Uniao do Vegetal, 546 U.S. 418 (2006). Our opposing counsel from the Department of Justice described the United States Supreme Court's unanimous decision in this case in favor of our clients as having "changed the legal landscape" in the area of religious liberty. Our clients were a small church and its members who were seeking to enjoin various federal officials and agencies from interfering with their religious practices.
Murder conviction reversed: prosecutorial misconduct
— State v. McClaugherty, 2008-NMSC-044, 144 N.M. 483, 188 P.3d 1234. The New Mexico Supreme Court reversed the murder conviction of our client based on extreme prosecutorial misconduct.
Jury verdict for disabled man in false arrest case — Lucero v. City of Albuquerque, et al.: $720,000 jury verdict in favor of disabled man who spent two days in jail after being falsely arrested for DWI.