Gary Risley sworn in as probate judge to serve out remainder of Stacey Biel's term

Hannah Grover
Farmington Daily Times
Gary Risley takes the oath of office, Monday, Jan. 4, 2021, in the San Juan County Commission chambers in Aztec.

AZTEC — A former two-term probate judge has returned to the bench to serve out the remainder of Stacey Biel’s term.

Biel resigned from the position of probate judge after being elected to a magistrate judge position.

The San Juan County Commission chose Gary Risley to replace her, and Risley took the oath of office on Jan. 4. He will serve as probate judge for two years.

"I appreciate the confidence placed in me by the San Juan County Commissioners. I enjoyed my previous opportunity to serve the people of San Juan County in this capacity, and I look forward to doing so again," Risley said in a press release.

The probate judge handles informal probate proceedings such as the gathering of assets, paying of bills and transferring the property of someone who has died.

Risley sought the probate judge seat in 2018, but lost the Republican Primary Election to Biel. He is currently an attorney with Risley Law Firm in Farmington.

"The probate judge position fits well within the primary areas of my legal practice; which include, estate planning, probate, business law, and real estate. The probate judge position, which is part-time, is one of the few judicial positions that will allow me to maintain my legal practice while serving as a judge," he said.

Hannah Grover covers government for The Daily Times. She can be reached at 505-564-4652 or via email at

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