By Darrell Todd Maurina
Clovis attorneys Robert S. Orlik and Alvin Joe Parker are finalists to fill a vacant judge’s seat in the district court that serves Curry and Roosevelt counties.
The two were selected from among six candidates by a special panel that met Tuesday at the Curry County Courthouse.
The next step for Orlik and Parker is waiting for a decision by Gov. Bill Richardson. The candidate selected by Richardson serves as judge until the next general election November 2004.
The 9th Judicial District Court vacancy opened in July when Judge Robert Brack was appointed to a federal district court judgeship in Las Cruces.
Other applicants for the local opening included Richard B. Capshaw, Kent Peterson, Michelle O. Reeves and James G. Wilson, all Clovis attorneys. Orlik and Parker were candidates previously recommended for a judicial slot eventually filled by Judge Ted Hartley.
Orlik, who has spent 25 years as a civilian attorney in Clovis and 4 1/2 years stationed at Cannon Air Force Base as a military attorney, told the commission that his experience in the community is a major asset.
Orlik compared himself to a sponge, saying he came to Clovis not knowing the community but has absorbed enough knowledge over the years to become an effective judge.
“When you first throw the sponge in the bathtub it’s not very effective at doing what it’s supposed to do,” Orlik said. “After 30 years, you start to know who the people are, what the problems are, and how you can help them.”
Parker, a Clovis attorney in private practice since 1982, also cited his many years of experience and said his interest in the judgeship stemmed from a desire to move toward public service after years of private practice.
“I like what I do, I am not unemployed, but I like public service,” Parker said. “I feel it is appropriate to devote part of my career to public service, and I feel I can move a (court) docket along with sound decisions.”
Both candidates said they were glad their names will be passed on to the governor’s office, but neither wanted to speculate on their chances.
“I really can’t anticipate one way or the other; I am very honored to be selected and considered,” Orlik said.
Parker said he appreciated the depth of the questioning by commission members and said it was better than his previous interview to fill the seat now held by Judge Hartley.
“The interview, I thought, was much more thorough and much more oriented toward the management of the docket,” Parker said.
If Richardson chooses not to appoint either Orlik or Parker, the nominating commission reconvenes to select another list of candidates. If Richardson still declines to appoint any name on the second list, the state supreme court will fill the vacancy.