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Three seek district judge post

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Three seek district judge post

LOVINGTON — The Fifth Judicial District Nominating Commission will meet on May 17 to evaluate three applications to fill the district judge vacancy created by Judge Gary L. Clingman’s resignation.

Clingman resigned to accept appointment to the New Mexico Supreme Court last month.

Applications received by the Monday deadline were from Magistrate Judge David Finger, Chief Deputy District Attorney Lisa Kuykendall and Hobbs City Attorney Michael H. Stone, listed alphabetically.

Other than confirming he had submitted an application, Finger declined to make a statement due to a potential conflict with the code of judicial conduct.

As for her qualifications, Kuykendall said, “I’ve always considered potentially being a district court judge. I think this is a good opportunity to apply for it and see what happens. I have extensive trial experiences. I’ve done approximately 82 jury trials in my career, approximately 19 in the last two years.”

Stone also addressed his qualifications, saying, “I have prepared for 25 years to serve as the district judge. I sincerely desire the opportunity to serve our county in that position. I would be honored to be appointed by Gov. Martinez.”

According to the state Constitution, district judge appointees must be at least 35 years old, have practiced law for at least six years and reside within the district for which they are being appointed to serve.

The commission will evaluate other characteristics as well, such as physical and mental ability to perform the tasks required, impartiality, integrity, professional skills, writing ability, decisiveness, judicial temperament and other qualities.

The nominating commission will meet on May 17 at 9 a.m. at the Lea County Courthouse, 100 N. Main St. in Lovington.

The commission meeting is open to the public. Those wishing to make public comment are requested to be present at the opening of the meeting.

The Constitution of New Mexico provides a mandate for selecting judges by the Judicial Nominating Commission, a board comprised of New Mexico judges, attorneys and citizens, chaired by the dean of the University of New Mexico School of Law.

The UNM School of Law website notes, “The Commission meeting includes public input as well as candidate interviews. Members of the public may speak on behalf of or against any applicant during the opening portion of the meeting, prior to the first interview. Such comments are limited to five minutes.”

Following the interviews of the candidates, the meeting may be closed to the public for the commission to deliberate, then reopened for a vote.

The commission then will recommend candidates to the governor.

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