Republican Party nominates R. Lar Thomas as judicial candidate

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A Bosque Farms lawyer and municipal judge was nominated by the Republican Party of New Mexico to run for the 13th Judicial District Court Division VI judgeship in November’s general election.

Judge R. Lar Thomas, the municipal judge for the village of Bosque Farms since 2012, received 100 percent general acclamation of the Republican central committee members from Sandoval, Cibola and Valencia counties as the sole candidate earlier this week.

R. Lar Thomas Republican nominee

Thomas will face Democrat Cindy Mercer in the race for the district court seat vacated by Judge Violet Otero, who retired last month.

“I am very pleased with the people’s confidence in me and trust. It’s pretty simple — they asked me to continue with my public service at the district court level and I look forward to serving,” Thomas said.

Saying he was not a politician, Thomas said political affiliation doesn’t matter.

“It never enters my mind when I’m on the bench,” he said.

Thomas said if elected, he looked forward to streamlining the judicial system.

“When I became an attorney 20 years ago, I could get to trial in six months. Now it’s 18 months if you’re lucky,” Thomas said. “If I do get in, I will certainly talk to the other judges and others to see what suggestions they have on streamlining the system.

“If that means working 50 hours a week to start, then that’s what has to happen. We have to get the system back on track to serve the people in the most efficient way possible.”

Thomas was one of four applicants selected and sent to the governor by the Judicial Nominating Commission last month for consideration as a replacement for Otero.

Of those nominees, it was Los Lunas attorney Pedro Rael, a Democrat, who was the governor’s pick. Just days after the governor’s announcement, the Democratic Party’s central committee chose Mercer as its candidate.

Thomas earned his juris doctor from Mississippi College School of Law in 1989 and was admitted to the New Mexico bar that same year. He was admitted to practice before the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals in 1992 and the 9th Circuit in 1997.

As the Bosque Farms judge, Thomas is responsible for the enforcement of local ordinances and traffic laws. He previously served as the village’s judge from 2003 to 2008. Thomas also has his own private law practice, which he established in 1989.

From 2001 to 2011, Thomas was the in-house general counsel for Gerald Martin Construction and he was the risk manager for the New Mexico Spaceport Authority from 2011 to 2012.

According to his application to the Judicial Nominating Commission, Thomas has handled about 50 personal injury cases, several thousand cases in commercial law, fewer than 10 juvenile cases, been involved in more than 1,000 criminal law cases as litigator and judge, and handled 15 to 20 domestic relations cases in the past 25 years.

Thomas is an active member of the Valencia County Bar Association, Phi Delta Phi Legal fraternity, the National Rifle Association, the American Society of Equine Appraisers and the American Society of Agricultural Appraisers.

He is also a pro bono volunteer with the 13th Judicial District Court clinic program and the district’s juvenile drug court equine program, as well as the Michael Malarsie Wounded Warrior Foundation and is a mock trial volunteer for the village’s municipal court educational program.

Valencia County voters will also see the names of Republican Cheryl Johnston, a senior trial attorney with the Second Judicial District Attorney’s Office, and Democrat Chris Perez, a Sandoval County attorney, on the November ballot for the Division VIII judgeship, a position created this year by the Legislature for Sandoval County.

The candidates for the 13th Judicial District Division III judgeship, who won in the Primary Election last month, are Democrat Joshua J. Sanchez, a lawyer from Belen, and Republican Allen Smith, the current district court judge appointee.


-- Email the author at jdendinger@news-bulletin.com.