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Bernalillo Municipal Judge Candidates
The current and a former municipal judge will face off alongside a newcomer in the election for the position of municipal judge in Bernalillo.
Incumbent Sharon Torres is vying for a third term against former judge Alonzo Lucero and Bernalillo native Geoffrey Rinaldi.
The position carries a four-year term.
Political party: Democrat
Education: High school graduate, attendee of the New Mexico judge training program from 2000 to 2007.
Family: Proud patriarch of daughter Veronica, her husband John, their 3 Children John, James, and Melissa, and James’ twin sons Jax and Abel.
Political/Government experience: I was elected Town of Bernalillo Municipal Judge in 2000 and was reelected in 2004. I am retired now. I worked 28 years for the Sandoval County Assessor’s Office, and I worked 36 years on the radio as a DJ.
Political party: Democrat.
Education: Graduated from Bernalillo High School in 1980, and attended Western New Mexico University in Silver City New Mexico.
Family: Married for 30 years to Linda, son Jarett and his wife Shawn, grandsons Sebastian and Samuel, daughters Britta and Brittany.
Political/Government experience: Was appointed to serve half a term (two years), then was elected to a four-year term to the Springer Municipal School Board in Springer, N.M. I’ve worked for the Children, Youth and Families Department’s Juvenile Justice Division for 28 years.
Sharon C. Torres (incumbent)
Political party: Democrat
Education: High School Graduate, CPO and CPS
Family: Divorced — two adult children: Desiree and Dominic Lovato and one granddaughter, Layla A. VanOrman.
Political/Government experience: I’ve worked for the Sandoval County DWI and Prevention Program as a senior accounting specialist for the last 21 years. In 2006, I became the alternate judge, and I was the alternate judge from 2006 to 2008. I served as judge after the prior judge stepped down in 2008 for health reasons. I was elected judge in 2008 and 2012.
Absentee voting for the March 1 municipal election ends Feb. 26, according to the town. Voters may request an application to vote absentee by calling the town clerk’s office at 771-7128, or email at firstname.lastname@example.org. The application will be mailed to your address. If you wish to come to the clerk’s office to request the application, the office is at 829 Camino Del Pueblo.Early voting, which ends Feb. 26, can be done at the town clerk’s office during regular business hours, 8 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday through Friday.
Questions to Bernalillo Municipal Judge Candidates
Q: Why are you running for municipal judge and what makes you the best person for this position?
LUCERO: The reason I am a candidate for this office is because I want to help the People of Bernalillo. I attended the judicial schooling for 7 straight years. I am very knowledgeable of the rules and regulations of a municipal judge, and if reelected I will be required to attend the classes again, allowing me to gain that much more information.
RINALDI: I’m running for Municipal Judge because of the desire to give back to the community in which I was raised, and I see this as an opportunity to get involved in the community. I’ve worked in public safety for 28 years, and I feel I have some insight on laws and how they are cared out. I would make myself available for the public and to conduct the administrative duties of the office along with getting involved with court staff to grow and learn.
TORRES: I want to continue my service as a public servant, for our community. The knowledge and experience that has been given to me, over the last 10 years makes me the best qualified as Municipal Judge. I made mistakes and was given the opportunity to grow and learn. I am asking the citizens of Bernalillo to re-elect me for a third term as Municipal Judge.
Q: Address potential conflicts of interest. How would you handle the cases of friends, relatives or business associates if they come before your court?
LUCERO: If a friend, relative, or business associate comes before the court I would be legally obligated to have the alternate judge handle the case.
RINALDI: Because of Bernalillo being a small town there can be some conflict of interest with many family, friends, and associates. I have many years of public safety in which through my career I’ve had to encounter some of these issues. I have learned to be patient, understanding, fair and firm on policies and procedures in doing my job. I don’t see this being any different, and I would expect for the people of the community to understand that I have a job to do.
TORRES: I would disclose the conflict to the officer. If it is a conflict that I should not handle, I would recuse myself and turn it over to the Alternate Judge. If no alternate is appointed or can’t hear the case, I would request the Officer re-file it in Magistrate Court.
Q: Do you think the court can better serve the citizens of Bernalillo? How?
LUCERO: Yes. I believe in educating the public that come before the court. If I find a person guilty, depending on the charge, I will explain to them they have been found guilty, but I am lenient and typically will issue a warning if there is no prior offense, and the person refrains from incurring a new citation within 6 months.
RINALDI: I feel that there will be times that court would have to be held more than once a week. That being based on the number of cases that come through the court. Giving the public more of an opportunity to assure that they appear in court, as well as to assure that the police officers can also appear without any conflict.
TORRES: Yes, we should always be looking at new and innovated ways to better serve our community. The working relationship that has been developed over the years between the Governing Body, City Employees, Police Department, Court staff and myself, has allowed us to work together, in making sure that the community is being served to the best of our ability.
Q: Have you or your business, if you are a business owner, ever been the subject of any state or federal tax liens?
Q: Have you ever been involved in a personal or business bankruptcy proceeding?
Q: Have you ever been arrested for, charged with, or convicted of drunken driving, any misdemeanor or any felony in New Mexico or any other state?