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Post new topic Reply to topic  [ 14 posts ] 
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 Author: PF
PostPosted: Mon Aug 20, 2018 6:16 pm 
Does anyone know what the rules are in Silver City and Grant County about when and how long election signs can be posted. It seems to me that some candidates never took down their signs after the primary. One of them is William Perkins who was just appointed a 6th Judicial District judge by the Governor. Pearce and Herrell are a couple of others whose signs seem never to have come down.

 Author: MineralMama
PostPosted: Tue Aug 21, 2018 5:02 am 
I'm sure the Grant County Clerk could tell you the rules of political signage -- their # is 575-574-0042

 Author: Bruce
PostPosted: Tue Aug 21, 2018 5:34 pm 
William Perkins is still running against Tom Stewart in November. Perkins was appointed to serve until the election. If his signs (and Stewart's) were legal before the appointment they're still legal.


 Author: PF
PostPosted: Tue Aug 21, 2018 7:39 pm 
You're right. I learned by checking with the County Clerk's office that the county has no restrictions, but the town of Silver City does. However, the latter are not enforced. It's a shame that we have to put up with these signs defacing the area for such a long period of time.

 Author: yuccatom
PostPosted: Wed Aug 22, 2018 2:24 pm 
Campaign Signs

A BIG THANK YOU to all for putting up with the TOM F. STEWART for Judge campaign signs! I, Tom Stewart, am the Democratic nominee for Sixth Judicial District Judge, Division I and I have a Republican opponent, Will Perkins.

I thought long and hard about taking all the signs down after the primary, but this judicial election is a little different than most and I was concerned that taking my signs down would create confusion, especially if my opponent left his up.

This judicial election was required due to Judge Henry Quintero's retirement back in March, 2017. Pursuant to the requirements of the New Mexico Constitution, after Judge Quintero resigned, a selection process was completed. Republican Governor Susanna Martinez appointed then-Republican Timothy Aldrich as Quintero's temporary replacement until the next general election, which is coming up this November 6th. Usually, the person appointed judge runs in the next election for the office. However, Judge Aldrich decided not to run and he accepted a job at WNMU which required him to start in August. Aldrich submitted his resignation from the District Judge position effective earlier this month.

Aldrich's resignation then triggered the Constitutional selection process again. That process resulted in New Mexico's Republican Governor appointing a Republican replacement judge, Will Perkins. Mr. Perkins is my opponent in the election. That appointment is only until the general election on November 6th. Whoever is elected in the upcoming election then becomes the judge and will serve out Judge Quintero's origingal term that is up at the end of 2020.

My concern was that my opponent would be appointed, as he in fact was, and that people would assume that meant that the election was moot and that it was just a done deal. THAT IS NOT THE CASE and the voters will decide in the November election who fill the judicial vacancy.

Although I did remove some signs, I left others up to make clear that I am in this election and I want your vote! I would appreciate your support (and your understanding about the signs).

Two last notes. First, we (especially my wife, Christine) work pretty hard to keep our yard at Yucca and Silver Heights looking good and Christine will like it a lot better once we don't have signs out there,after the election. Second, I haven't had the time to study the subject thoroughly, and as a judicial candidate take no position of the issue in advance of hearing the facts and arguments of law in a particular case, but the subject of sign ordinances is a messy collision between aesthetics and free speech.

Thanks for reading.

Tom Stewart

 Author: Kevin B
PostPosted: Sun Sep 30, 2018 12:12 pm 
Since this original posting I've been curious to see where the conversation goes. Last we heard from Tom Stewart, nothing from his opponent William Perkins. While the list of potential explanations for Perkins' silence may be endless, in the end Stewart promptly chimed in while these may weeks later we've still heard nothing from Perkins. Whatever that explanation, I do appreciate Stewart's opinion on the matter, but far more so I appreciate that he took to time to express it. He joined us here as one of us and made it clear that he shares our concern, he's a part of our community connected by his life long residency in Grant County.

As for disrupting our landscape with these campaign signs, I too share in that concern no different from the eyesore billboards we finally got rid of downtown. But I'm perhaps more concerned about the messages they convey. When we stand before a Judge we refer to him or her as "your honour", an old tradition that's long withstood the test of time. We acknowledge our recognition of his or her's dignity and place, we humbly accept our Judges' high moral standard and wisdom. We place in their capable hands that weighty task of affirming our rule of law. No position in society could be more significant.

Before us now plays out a contest between two nominees for this exalted position, Tom Stewart and William Perkins. Most voters going into the poles will know little more about either of these men than what they've seen on their campaign signs. Granted Perkins also sponsored an ice cream social advertised with the headline, "Democrats for Perkins." So far I've not met anyone who went, but I'm curious, from that message and from the words on the campaign signs of both candidates, what can we infer that justifies placing either of them at this most lofty position on our 6th Judicial District Court?

 Author: Bruce
PostPosted: Sun Sep 30, 2018 5:11 pm 
I don't think we can judge anything about Will Perkins or Tom Stewart from their signs or lack of them, or their policy on signs. Stewart is on the forum, but I doubt Perkins is. I think that has no significance.

Perkins has helped me with legal affairs twice and I have a great deal of respect for him. He has practiced community law here for a long time, and has had legal connections with many people who have grounds to judge him. I think he's more of a Republican in the old sense, which wouldn't prevent Democrats from voting for him. On the other hand, he does identify with the same party as Donald Trump in a very partisan time. Perkins is the incumbent for several months, but I doubt that will affect the election. I don't know if he would make a good judge.

Stewart has been an attorney here for a long time, but I believe most of his practice has been out of town. I have known him socially for a long time and have a lot of respect for him. I doubt that as many people have had legal dealings with him as with Perkins. He is a member, although not particularly a leader, in the party that usually wins in Grant County. I don't know if he would make a good judge.

We are entering the election season when newspapers and civic groups hold forums to hear from candidates. I hope to learn more about both candidates in the next month. But I also think electing judges is a bad idea because politics isn't what qualifies a person to be a judge. No matter how much we hear from the candidates most of us will not have sufficient information to know whether Stewart or Perkins would be a better judge.

Good luck to them both.


 Author: RestlessResident
PostPosted: Mon Oct 01, 2018 9:16 am 
I know for a fact, Tom Stewart's practice is in representing local citizens, including citizens of Silver City, Cliff, Gila, Glenwood, Reserve, Deming and Lordsburg in matters from estate planning, real estate transactions, contracts, water rights, to personal injury and medical malpractice. He regularly represents injured locals against foreign entities who are represented by "out-of-town" attorneys, but his clients have been, and are local citizens.

 Author: Bruce
PostPosted: Mon Oct 01, 2018 9:57 am 
Thanks for correcting my mistake about Tom Stewart's local practice.


 Author: gorwest
PostPosted: Mon Oct 01, 2018 10:52 am 
It would be interesting to hear why they want to be a district court judge, and what they might do to improve the court.

 Author: Kevin B
PostPosted: Tue Oct 02, 2018 11:18 am 
Why they want to be a district court judge?
What they might do to improve the court?

Very good questions. I'd like to hear those two answers, and here's another question. What do WE see as being necessary improvements for this court?

In my limited experience I've seen this District Court serve as a conduit for lawyers. When Quintero was still on the bench he chided me for, "not having the brains enough to hire an attorney," a verbatim quote. After a battle that dragged on for most of a year the matter distilled down to $600. So where exactly can one hire an attorney to carry out a legal fight for 600 bucks?

Obviously Quintero was well aware of that. He should have remanded the matter to the small claims court, which he absolutely could have done. Instead he let the case suck up his time, the clerks' and court staff time, our time, and of course the public funds that financed it all. The actor that drove it to the District Court was Legal Aid, who did provide an attorney, for my opponent, in this tenant/landlord dispute, which Legal Aid had no business being a part of in the first place and certainly had no business dedicating an attorney too, one that sucked up yet more public funds for her financing, all of which Quintero stood by and watched go on unchecked.

This entire case boiled down to the judge allowing the District Court and its resources to be used for the purpose of driving us into an attorney's office, which to me smells a lot like collusion and corruption, and I know for a fact is by no means unique to this case I'm describing. In that respect, Quintero's outspoken support for Perkins in his bid to assume a seat on this Court is unsettling. Perkins already has a reputation for stringing out cases and racking up billable hours for himself well beyond the value of the actual dispute. And as we all know, he is connected with our largest law firm around here. So what exactly should we expect with him on the bench? And on that note, go take a careful and considered look at the words he selected for his campaign signs and his ice cream social...

I propose that it be the obligation and responsibility of this court and its judges to resolve disputes promptly, to short circuit lawyers whose obvious aims are to incite and drag out conflicts only for the purpose of driving up their billable hours, to promote discussion and resolution between disputants outside the court, to use arbitration when possible, and to conduct business as per the State's guidelines, intentions, and spirit of the law. I believe what we need are competent, honorable, and sincere judges, and these are the improvements worth implementing in our 6th Judicial District Court. But of course, I'm not on the ballot, I'm just a voter, who so far intends to cast a vote for Tom Stewart.

What improvements would you like to see?

 Author: Bruce
PostPosted: Tue Oct 02, 2018 1:49 pm 
I just want to respond to one of Kevin's comments: "Perkins already has a reputation for stringing out cases and racking up billable hours for himself well beyond the value of the actual dispute." I don't know whether this is true or not, but I do know Perkins has had a long time deal where he listens to your legal problem for half an hour or so for about $50 (the rate may be higher now). I've used this twice, and it saved me money both times. Both times he advised me not to hire him or any lawyer, but suggested a strategy to do on my own. The second time he also told me about what it would cost to hire him if I ignored his advice. I'm sure that sometimes people with different situations hire him as a result of this smart marketing deal, but in my cases he did not try to run up a bill or get me to spend money unnecessarily.

I still don't know whether he would be a good judge or not.


 Author: judithelise
PostPosted: Tue Oct 02, 2018 7:39 pm 
In response to the post by Bruce: I am politically a progressive. Mr. Perkins has twice helped me when I needed an attorney. At no time did I consider his fees extraordinary. I found him competent and professional. I don't know anything about Tom Stewart except that he is a Democrat. I tend to vote straight Democratic Party ticket. I just wanted to say my piece about Mr. Perkins. He may very well make a fine judge. Not so much Brett Kavanaugh. But who cares what I think?

 Author: djherbison
PostPosted: Wed Oct 03, 2018 8:21 am 
Kevin –

I agree that our court system needs significant improvement and to be more efficient, but the issue is pretty complex. That said, it absolutely needs to be pursued, and the attitude of our district court judges is an important part of the mix.

For example, I am not aware that a district court ever has the ability to send a case which was filed there to small claims court, and am not personally sure that it should have that ability. Presently, the general presumption is that a plaintiff gets the right to select the court from available choices in the first instance, followed by the defendant’s right to remove (generally ‘upward’ only; or laterally in the instance of venue) in certain cases.

It’s true that district court procedure is difficult for a pro se litigant, and that small claims courts generally adopt pro se-friendly procedures. If you need discovery, however, the opportunities available in small claims court are very limited and may be inadequate to prepare your case. For this reason, anyone who needs discovery (and is familiar with the differences) tends to avoid small claims court.

The federal courts have developed very extensive (and VERY complex) procedures to expedite cases – however my experience with federal court litigation is limited. The enduring impression I am left with of federal court judges is overwhelming arrogance toward anyone without a lot of money. From what I’ve seen, it’s nothing I would wish on our state court system, even though we do need changes.

I have reservations about a court forcing parties into mediation or arbitration. The right of a citizen to be heard by a real court, not a questionable substitute forced onto them, is a pretty important right, and I don’t think it should be given up lightly. (We have an immense problem, in this regard, with the increasing use of ‘mandatory arbitration clauses’ in adhesion contracts – a very disturbing, anti-consumer practice recently blessed by our US Supreme Court.)

The Second Judicial, where I’ve spent the majority of my time, increasingly forces litigants into mediation, which can be more expensive (certainly in the short run) than litigation, and has other problems as well (at least as generally practiced in the Second). It has a lot of support, but mostly, in my view, by mill attorneys who like to bring marginal cases and have them ‘resolved’ without ever requiring them to actually bring them to court and support them. It does foster an environment where cheap claims are resolved somewhat more cheaply (but still typically absorb 33% or more of the entire ‘compensation’ awarded), and the insurance defense industry supports it as well, but I have the strong feeling that ‘justice’ is poorly served and not highly valued in this system that has evolved.

The Second also has, for certain money-only types of cases, a ‘court-annexed arbitration’ program that I like – rather than a mediation, it actually has an attorney listen to an abbreviated form of the evidence and argument in the case and make a non-binding (with some potential consequences if you reject it) decision on the case. It does add $25 to the filing fees for all cases, but relies upon essentially ‘volunteer’ (you don’t really get a choice) attorneys to work (an attorney may request a fixed $100 fee for acting as an arbitrator – which may typically require anywhere from three to twenty hours to complete).

In my experience, it’s quite unusual to see Legal Aid pursue cases having no potential merit – they are so incredibly resource-poor, that it’s quite difficult to get them to take an actual case, at all. It could be that although you view $600 as piddly, it was a fair amount of money for the plaintiff, and the Legal Aid attorney viewed the merits as strong even if small. (Could it have settled for $600 at the outset?)

Finally, in my experience, a lawyer can drag out a case and artificially build up billable hours only if they have a combative client who is willing to support that – a client’s reaction to your bill is a quite effective curb on too much over-enthusiasm by an attorney. In the instance of contingency fee cases (which are not billing by the hour), the likelihood of a recovery sufficient to pay them for their time is a similar curb. They are, after all, doing this as a business, and most are reasonably competent business people.

I understand that you are referring to an instance where the plaintiff is not actually paying the attorney, but again, my sense is that Legal Aid is so overwhelmed by the demand as compared to their resources, that they are not very likely to overkill a small case – I could be wrong there, but it would certainly be unusual.

You’ve raised some very important points in an extremely important area that gets far too little attention – perhaps because most people simply don’t understand it or its importance.

It’s a good discussion to have. That said, we are barely scratching the surface. It needs much more public involvement and attention, but everyone’s so busy living their lives that I’m not sure it will ever get it.


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