Quay County Sun - Serving the High Plains

Schutte, Mitchell presented to Gov. Martinez as judge options


December 12, 2014

QCS Managing Editor

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Donald Schutte, a Tucumcari attorney and former district judge, and Tenth District Court Judge Albert Mitchell on Thursday received recommendations as potential appointees for the district’s sole judge position.

The position will be vacant as of Dec. 31 because Mitchell failed to receive enough votes to be retained in the Nov. 4 general election. About half of the voters in Quay, DeBaca and Harding counties voted to retain him; 57 percent of the vote is needed for retention.

Mitchell, however, has applied not to keep his job, he said, but to fill the vacancy created by his failure to be retained by voters.

A 13-member judicial nominating commission voted Thursday to recommend both Mitchell and Schutte, the former judge whom Mitchell defeated in a 2008 election for the position, to Gov. Susana Martinez.

The governor will appoint the judge, whose district includes De Baca and Quay counties.

The governor has 30 days to appoint either Mitchell or Schutte or seek more names from the nominating commission, according to the state’s judicial nominating rules.

"Although a final decision has not been made, we do not anticipate sending the list back for additional names," Mike Lonergan,a spokesman for the governor, said Friday.

Mitchell and Schutte were the only candidates to apply for the judge’s position.

The commission, chaired by David Herring, dean of the University of New Mexico School of Law, included state supreme court justices, appellate judges, and representatives of Gov. Susana Martinez, and both Republican and Democrat state legislators.

After the vote, Mitchell said he is satisfied with the outcome.“The system worked as it should,” he said.

Schutte, too, said he is pleased with the outcome.

The purpose of the commission’s process, he said, “is to allow those who are qualified to go forward.”


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