Quay County Sun - Serving the High Plains

Candidate Q&As: Magistrate judge

 


The following are Q&A conducted with the candidates seeking the position of Quay County Magistrate Judge in the upcoming June 5 Primary Election.

Timothy James O'Quinn

Q: What makes you the best candidate to serve as the Magistrate Judge for Quay County?

A: I have a bachelor's degree in business administration, after college I attended the University of New Mexico and earned my law degree. Since I began serving as the magistrate judge, following the appointment by Gov. Susana Martinez, I have rendered fair, legally accurate and impartial decisions. I feel that is based in a large part because of my training and experience.

Q: What experience do you have that would help you to perform the duties as magistrate judge if elected?

A: Before taking the bench as the Quay County magistrate judge I spent better part of a decade learning and practicing the law as an attorney in both civil and criminal cases. I have prepared briefs and notices in that have gone before the court of appeals and supreme court of the state. I feel I have a unique experience, having been on all sides of a court case as both an attorney and a judge. Viewing things from all sides is crucial and vital in making fair and unbiased decisions.

Q: As magistrate judge you may have to hear a case against someone you know. Will you be able to be impartial in your judgment or know when to recuse yourself?

A: Yes. Given my experience as a judge so far, you must follow the code of judicial conduct but also use common sense as well. If the person appearing before your court is a friend or family member you must recuse yourself from the case. If you didn't that would be a major ethical violation that could get you removed from the bench. I do my best to perform my duties as judge and avoid the situations that could potential lead to me having to recuse myself.

Q: Have you ever been arrested if so what was the nature of the arrest and the resolution?

A: I was arrested as a juvenile, but the charges were dismissed. I do not want to go into detail as juvenile records are very sensitive.

Q: Have you ever been involved in a civil or criminal as the defendant or plaintiff? What was the outcome?

A: As an attorney I have been involved in numerous criminal and civil cases. Personally I was the plaintiff in a civil case involving the painting of a car I owned. Due to the quality of the work that was done, I filed a civil case in magistrate court for the return of my money and I won.

Patricia J. Lopez

Q: What makes you the best candidate to serve as the magistrate judge for Quay County?

A: I have the most experience with the law. I have been applying the law for more than 25 years as a law enforcement officer. I have been involved with a variety of cases from misdemeanor to felonies, that has given me a unique experience that would help me serve as magistrate judge.

Q: What experience do you have that would help you to perform the duties as magistrate judge if elected?

A: My years as a police officer has given me insight into the social and economic issues facing our area. I have been qualified as an expert in drug trafficking and to do so one must know a lot about search and seizure and the applicable laws. I have also written out search warrants, overall my experience in law enforcement will help me to best serve the residents of Quay County.

Q: As magistrate judge you may have to hear a case against someone you know. Will you be able to be impartial in your judgment or know when to recuse yourself?

A: I think this is important for a judge and I am not to proud to recuse myself if their was a conflict of interest where I could not be impartial. There are going to be people as well from the past that I may have arrested who will claim they can not get a fair shake from me as a judge. In those instances I would have no problem recusing myself for the interest of a fair and impartial judgment on the case.

Q: Have you ever been arrested if so what was the nature of the arrest and the resolution?

A: I have never been arrested.

Q: Have you ever been involved in a civil or criminal as the defendant or plaintiff? What was the outcome?

A: In criminal cases I have pursued or been a witness as a law enforcement officer. I have been involved in civil suits as an officer but the outcome of those cases are not know to me as they are handled by the city and its attorney. To the best of my knowledge I have never personally been involved in a civil or criminal case.

Paula J. Chacon

Q: What makes you the best candidate to serve as the magistrate judge for Quay County?

A: I believe my 19 years within the court system and my management and budget, finance experience as a whole makes me a good candidate for this position.

Q: What experience do you have that would help you to perform the duties as magistrate judge if elected?

A: In my 19 years of work within the court system I have worked my way from court clerk to the court manager, I know all of the policy and procedures as well as the legal aspects of the job. I also served as a county manager for both Quay and Union County for a total of five years and worked in a legal office at one point in my career.

Q: As magistrate judge you may have to hear a case against someone you know. Will you be able to be impartial in your judgment or know when to recuse yourself?

A: Yes, a judge is always supposed to remain unbiased, listening to the merits of each case and rule impartially on those cases. A judge must remain neutral and never make a decision before the case is heard.

Q: Have you ever been arrested? if so what was the nature of the arrest and the resolution?

A: I have never been arrested.

Q: Have you ever been involved in a civil or criminal as the defendant or plaintiff? What was the outcome?

A: I was involved in a civil case involving the foreclosure of my home. The outcome was the case was dismissed; they did not foreclose. I was a single parent not making enough money; we have all had those hardships. I paid what was owed and the case was resolved.

 

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