Candidate profiles: Magistrate judge, Division 1

CNJ staff

Profiles of candidates running for Curry County Division 1
magistrate judge in the June 6 primary.

Early voting
n Noon to 8 p.m. Tuesday through Friday and 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday May 9 to June 3.

Duane Castleberry
Party:
Republican
Current position: Business owner

What is your background?
I grew up in Clovis, where I went through school. When it came time to get married and have children, I came back to Clovis because I believe in and wanted to share in the small-town values.

Why are you running for magistrate judge?

I want to be a bigger part of the community and system. I feel like this is a civic service I can provide. I feel a strong calling to this office, and I believe I would be good at it.

How are magistrate judges involved in shaping the community?

I don’t know that they are involved in shaping the community, but it is important to have honest people who share small-town values in those positions.

What are the top law enforcement issues in Curry County?

I really don’t know because I’m not involved with it on a day-to-day basis.

What issues are top priorities to you?

I will approach this job wholeheartedly. I will fairly represent the laws of New Mexico and not any group in particular.

How do you think your background (job/education) will help you in this position?

I’ve been in business for most of my life since the age of 17. I have been involved with fraternities and clubs because I feel it is important to participate. I’m not afraid to take a leadership role. I believe my employee relations skills also will help. I know magistrate court is not a place where we want repeat customers, but everyone needs to be treated with dignity and courtesy.

What are two personality traits you believe will benefit you in this position?

I’ve been blessed with a little bit of God-given logic and fairness.

What is something people would be surprised to learn about you?
I was a professional musician, and I’ve played in recording studios. I’m also a published song writer and a grandfather at my young age.

Who’s your favorite court character from TV or movie?
Oh, gosh, I don’t have one.

What do you think about the current redistricting lawsuit?
I don’t like it. I believe it will create a divided community. … As it stands right now anyone meeting the requirements can run for magistrate. How much more fair can you get? The current at-large system is the most fair way.

How do you think Curry County elected officials can alleviate residents’ doubts about bias?
I think if you treat everyone fairly, courteously and with dignity … then that will go a long way.

Diane Mains
Party: Republican
Current position: Chief Clerk at Roosevelt County Magistrate Court

What is your background?
I have worked for the magistrate courts for the past six years. I started out in Curry County as a judicial specialist. I then moved to Roosevelt County as chief clerk, which was a step up in my career. I’ve been married for eight years and have three children.

Why are you running for magistrate judge?
Professionally, when I started working for the magistrate court, it just clicked with me. I knew it was something I wanted to do. I have been moving up in my career, and the judge position is the next step up. I plan to work for the magistrates until I retire.

Do you think magistrate judges are involved in shaping the community, and if so, why?
Yes, they are involved in shaping the community. They determine guilt and innocence on everything from minor traffic violations to civil suits.

What are the top law enforcement issues in the county?
Methamphetamine. Matt Chandler (9th Judicial District Attorney) has really pushed the issue, and I believe we (Curry County) have gotten a handle on it with the program that has been implemented.
Civil suits are also an issue because people aren’t paying their bills and businesses need a way to retrieve their money.

What issues are top priorities to you?

Drugs. Since I have a young family, it is a concern to me and alcohol. … We have a lot of DWIs, and it concerns me that people are drinking and driving because it is unsafe.

How do you hope to combat the issues important to you?
Especially for repeat offenders, sentencing should be more to the high end. They should not be given probation. They need a deterrent, such as higher fines or jail time.

How do you think your background (job/education) will help you in this position?
Because I am a clerk, I can be an ally (as a magistrate) to the clerks because I am familiar with the procedures and the laws. I would be able to answer their questions.

What are two personality traits you believe will benefit you in this position.
I don’t tend to be sympathetic, and I’m not gullible but I think this job (clerk) has done that to me. I’m also outgoing and willing to talk and learn the facts before making a decision.

What is something people would be surprised to learn about you?

I have very young children.

Who’s your favorite court character from TV or movie?
I enjoy watching “Law and Order: Special Victims Unit” when I have time.’

What do you think about the current re-districting lawsuit?

I don’t see how it will help. They are really only splitting up the votes. With the re-districting … you only have the say-so about the judge from your district, but if you go to court a computer will decide the judge you see.

How do you think Curry County elected officials can alleviate residents’ doubts about bias?
Experience and time on the job are probably the only things that would earn people’s trust.
I will take everything on a case-by-case basis. I will look at the facts and history. I will follow the guidelines allowed by law.

Doug Miller
Democrat for Curry County Division I magistrate judge
Current position: Incumbent

What is your background?
I put in a total of 27 years in law enforcement. I was a detective with the Clovis Police Department as part of the Special Operations Unit, which included the D.A.R.E. program, school resources and the detectives.

Why are you running for magistrate judge?
I’ve always been interested in the law, and this job is still concerning the law. I have to be unbiased in this position, and I enjoy being the “person in the middle.” I like solving people’s problems.

How are magistrate judges involved in shaping the community?
Our office has hired probation officers since I have been here, and we have implemented such drug and alcohol programs as the Framework for Change class at Clovis Community College. These programs give us choices in sentencing. I would like to continue to see these programs grow.

What issues are top priorities to you?
I still think we have a horrible problem with methamphetamine, and we still see an awful lot of DWIs.

How do you hope to combat those issues?

Curry County is in the top three as far as the least amount of repeat offenders for DWIs are concerned. I believe this is because of the programs we have.

How do you think your background (job/education) will help you in this position?

I have three bachelor’s degrees from ENMU in sociology, psychology and anthropology, and of course my law enforcement background.

What are two personality traits you believe will benefit you in this position.

I don’t mean to brag but I do honestly care about people and their problems. I love what I do.

What is something people would be surprised to learn about you?

I like to travel.

Who’s your favorite court character from TV or movie?
I used to love watching “Night Court.”

What do you think about the current re-districting lawsuit?
I’m not in favor of it.

How do you think Curry County elected officials can alleviate residents’ doubts about bias?

It is probably not a possibility but I would recommend taking a look at my record. I truly believe a judge should be color blind. I walk into the courtroom, and it is a blank slate.