By Thomas Garcia
QCS Senior Writer
After more than nine years as Quay County magistrate judge, Joel Garnett has traded a docket full of cases for spending time with his grandchildren.
Local officials and residents filled the magistrate courtroom on Friday to celebrate Garnett’s retirement.
“After 34 years of law enforcement and serving the residents of Quay County, I am ready to give retirement a try,” Garnett said.
Garnett said he began his law career with the Quay County Sheriff’s Office, moved to the 10th Judicial District Attorney’s Office and rounded it out as magistrate judge.
Friday was Garnett’s last official day as judge.
“We hate to see Judge Garnett leave but I wish him all the best in his retirement,” said Paula Chacon, magistrate court clerk.
Garnett said his immediate plans are to travel and spend time with family.
“I have grandchildren from here to Rock Springs, Wyoming, that I would love to spend time with,” Garnett said.
Garnett said if it is possible he would like to squeeze in some time for hunting and fishing.
“It has been an honor to work with judge Garnett over the years,” said prosecutor Thomas Blakney III.
The retirement vacates the bench for the remainder of the four-year term won by Garnett in 2014.
Applications to fill the vacancy have been submitted to Gov. Susana Martinez’s Office.
On Wednesday the list of the submitted applications was released. Chacon, Blakney, Kristine Olsen, Jefferson L. Byrd, Nathan S. Wallace, Edwin A. Bruhn, Timothy Quinn and Patricia J. Lopez have all applied for the position.
Staff with Gov. Martinez’s office declined to comment on when interviews will be conducted or how long it will take for Gov. Martinez to appoint a new judge.