The recommendation will be forwarded to Gov. Lujan Grisham.

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AZTEC — A local attorney said he is proud and humbled after he received a recommendation to serve on the bench as a local District Court judge.

The Eleventh Judicial District Judicial Nominating Commission unanimously selected Curtis Gurley this morning as its recommendation for the Division 4 district judge seat for the 11th Judicial District.

The seat was held by former District Judge John Dean Jr., who resigned from the bench on Feb. 19 after serving 16 years on the bench.

Gurley was the only applicant who filed paperwork with the Judicial Selection Office for the open position.

The commission was comprised of 15 judges and attorneys who were selected to pose questions to Gurley before determining if they would forward his name to Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham for approval.

"I'm honored they decided to send my name," Gurley said after the commission's announcement.

Gurley has practiced law since 1989 after graduating with a Juris Doctorate degree from the University of Missouri School of Law, according to a copy of his application obtained by The Daily Times.

Gurley worked for and alongside Farmington attorney Victor Titus at the start of his career. He currently runs his own law firm and is general counsel for The Aztec Well Family of Companies.

Gurley has served as a chair for the Disciplinary Board of the New Mexico Supreme Court and the City of Farmington Labor Management Relations Board.

Sergio Pareja, Dean of the University of New Mexico School of Law, served as chairman of the selection commission.

The commission meeting was held in a courtroom at the Aztec District Court building.

Gurley made a brief opening statement before opening the floor to questions.

He spoke about how the community has been very good to him and how he feels like the law is a calling and a profession.

"I think we are called upon to serve the public," Gurley told the commission. "I worked really hard in my career to fulfill that calling."

Commission members asked a wide range of questions, including about his commitment to work with other judges, his jury trial experience and how he would handle cases with parties who were representing themselves.

When asked why he listed his juvenile law experience as limited, Gurley replied he handled about 300 to 400 juvenile cases as a young attorney but had not handled any juvenile cases in the last decade.

He added he was prepared to read and analyze law and speak to other judges to become current with those cases.

The commission is required to send a recommendation within 30 days of the seat becoming vacant, according to Pajera.

He stated he planned to inform Lujan Grisham about the recommendation as soon as possible.

Joshua Kellogg covers crime, courts and social issues for The Daily Times. He can be reached at 505-564-4627 or via email at jkellogg@daily-times.com.

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