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FARMINGTON — Gov. Susana Martinez on Friday appointed Farmington private practice attorney Brad Dalley to serve as judge for the 11th Judicial District.

Dalley said he will begin serving Jan. 31.

"I am flattered and humbled by the appointment and by this opportunity to serve the 11th Judicial District in San Juan and McKinley (counties)," he said.

Dalley will replace retiring District Judge William Birdsall, who has served on the bench since 1999.

Four candidates — Dalley, Brent Capshaw, Marjorie Jones and Cosme Ripol — sought the appointment.

The District Judicial Nominating Committee, comprised of local attorneys, judges and community members, nominated Dalley and Capshaw for appointment on Dec. 3. The governor then had 30 days to choose the new judge.

Capshaw, a chief deputy district attorney in the San Juan County District Attorney's Office, said he was happy for Dalley, but crestfallen.

He said seeking the appointment was an interesting experience, but he felt he lacked the luck and the political instincts to succeed.

He said he was not going to challenge Dalley for the judgeship in the next general election.

"I am a worker," he said. "I am not a politician."

Dalley, 44, has practiced law since 1998, beginning his career in the Law Offices of the Public Defender in San Juan County, according to his application.

He joined the Fortner, Whitehead and Thrower law firm in 2000 and worked there for 11 years before starting his own private practice.

Dalley has extensive experience in personal injury, domestic relations, criminal and juvenile law. He said that broad range of experience helped him secure the judicial appointment.

"I have practiced extensively in a lot of different areas of law, and I have a pretty good understanding of most areas of law," he said. "Not all, but definitely the high-volume types of cases you see more frequently."

Court Executive Officer Weldon Neff of the 11th Judicial District could not be reached for comment on Monday.

Dalley said he expects he will inherit Judge Karen Townsend's civil docket on Jan. 31, and Townsend will take over Birdsall's criminal docket.

Dalley said his current clients at his law firm will be referred to other attorneys.

Steve Garrison covers crime and courts for The Daily Times. He can be reached at 505-564-4644 and stgarrison@daily-times.com. Follow him on Twitter @SteveGarrisonDT on Twitter.

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