FARMINGTON Former three-term Farmington Mayor Bill Standley is challenging James Rowland, a long-time municipal judge, to serve as part-time municipal judge for the city of Farmington.

Rowland has served as the city's part-time municipal judge for the last 15 years, and this is his fifth election. Standley, who was mayor from 1998 to 2010, serves as the alternate municipal judge for the city.

The election is March 4.

Rowland retired from the Farmington Police Department after 20 years and has been a municipal judge for 18 years.

"I still enjoy the work and want to continue," Rowland said. "With a law enforcement background, now I am in a neutral position and make decisions. I think I'm doing a public service to Farmington and its citizens."

Bill Standley
Bill Standley (Courtesy of Bill Standley)

Standley was appointed to his position as alternate judge in fall 2012. He said he presides over trials weekly but wants to take on a bigger caseload.

The part-time municipal judge is paid to work 20 hours a week.

"The interest I have in the law is that it is a challenge," Standley said. "I enjoy researching the law and applying it to a case."

Standley is the cofounder and board president of the Totah Behavioral Health Authority, which provides alcohol and drug abuse treatment. He also serves on the board of the San Juan Safe Communities Initiative, which connects law enforcement, substance abuse treatment officials and crime prevention efforts.

Both candidates said local alternative sentencing programs have proven to be successful and are used against people convicted in municipal court in some circumstances. The alternative sentencing programs include probation, the DWI Treatment Facility and Alive at 25.

Municipal judges preside over misdemeanor cases other than domestic battery. The charges include a person's first, second and third drunken driving arrests, some drug charges, certain larcenies and thefts, and traffic violations. All the trials are bench trials, which means the judge listens to evidence from both sides of the case and then decides the verdict.

The judges can sentence people found guilty during the trial to up to 90 days in jail and up to $500 in fines. Drunken driving convictions, however, have different sentencing guidelines and incarceration can go beyond 90 days.

Ryan Boetel covers crime and San Juan County for The Daily Times. He can be reached at 505-564-4644 and rboetel@daily-times.com. Follow him @rboetel on Twitter.