Candidate profiles: Roger Hatcher, Richard Hollis

The following are profiles of Republican candidates for Curry County magistrate judge Division 2.

Early voting begins May 9 from noon to 8 p.m. Tuesday through Friday and 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday. Early voting ends the Saturday before the election. The primary is June 6.

Roger Hatcher
Republican candidate for magistrate judge, Division 2
Current position: Curry County Sheriff

What’s your background?

I’m a born and bred New Mexico resident. I was raised in Clovis and I graduated high school here. I spent a year and half with the fire department, and worked for Santa Fe Railroad for 14 years. I have been with the Curry County Sheriff’s department for 14 years, and am going on my eighth year as sheriff. I am married with four daughters ranging in age from 28 to 16.

Why are you running for magistrate judge?

It is something that started a long time ago. Back in 1994, I ran for state representative and came close to winning. My heart is in law enforcement, so knowing there is a two-term limit as Curry County Sheriff, I set my sights on becoming a magistrate judge.

How are magistrate judges involved in shaping the community?

By providing good guidance and by making fair judgments in criminal cases. On the civil side … making sure everyone has a chance to be heard.

What are the top law enforcement issues in the county?

Drugs. Without a doubt, that is number one — and lack of law enforcement to deal with it. We are understaffed. It is a compound issue.

What issues are top priorities to you?

One key issue is jail overcrowding. The jail population is comprised of inmates who have been convicted, inmates who can’t make their bond and parole/probation violators. Over the last four years, the population has doubled and farming them (inmates) out is costing us (Curry County) money.

How do you hope to address those issues?

By looking for alternatives for nonviolent, misdemeanor offenders. How can you correct someone’s behavior without putting them in jail? Community service, work release and electronic monitoring are alternative sentencing options. I want to make sure the appropriate sentence is handed down, and not all crimes warrant jail time.

How do you think your background (job/education) will help you in this position?

Specifically, as sheriff I have dealt with civil and criminal laws for the last 14 years. I am familiar with all the writs and property laws. I know what is required to have probable cause. I am able to understand there are two sides to every story. I have been making split-second decisions for a very long time, and I have shown my decisions have been very well made in regards to dealing with the public.

Tell me two personality traits about yourself that you believe will benefit you in this position.

I am compassionate and I think I am extremely fair.

What is something people would be surprised to learn about you?

I love to fly. I have my commercial pilot’s license. I have a variety of interests that have nothing to do with law enforcement. I am emphatic about my family life. I’m more tender hearted than most people would know.

Who’s your favorite court character from TV or movie?

William Shatner’s buddy on “Boston Legal.” A lot of things he does shows his heart is in the right place, although he goes about it in strange ways.

What do you think about the current re-districting lawsuit?

I think it is unnecessary because if minorities got together they could elect anyone they wanted. It is a voter apathy issue, not discrimination.

How do you think Curry County elected officials can alleviate residents’ doubts about bias?

It is going to be very difficult for either side to convince the other side that a judge is unbiased. The best you can hope for is 50 percent. I would rather see magistrate judges elected at large and have people come out to vote en masse, then there would be no question.

Richard Hollis
Republican candidate for magistrate judge, Division 2
Current position: Incumbent magistrate judge, Division 2.

What’s your background?

I have lived in Curry County since 1989. I moved to Clovis to start a business. Previously I worked as a vocational agriculture teacher on the Navajo reservation.

Why are you running for magistrate judge?

I like it. I’ve had four good years. I was appointed to this position by Gov. (Gary) Johnson.

How are magistrate judges involved in shaping the community?

I believe magistrate judges shape the community by considering the safety and needs of the community. Magistrate judges have to consider many things in a case and the community looks to us to make good choices and at some extent to protect them. We magistrates have to be wise.

What are the top law enforcement issues in the county?

I really can’t speak for law enforcement. I can speak for the courts, and we are understaffed as most are.

What issues are top priorities to you?

Domestic violence.

How do you hope to address that?

My goal in the next four years is to start to train a group of people who will counsel couples. To turn this thing around, we need to address relationships and making good choices.

How do you think your background (job/education) will help you in this position?

I have four years of experience. My background in education has helped me deal with people, and this is a people business.

Tell me two personality traits about yourself that you believe will benefit you in this position.

I can read people. I can understand people. I’m driven to do this kind of work, and I like being here. If someone needs to find me during the day. … they can find me at work.

What is something people would be surprised to learn about you?

I’m a collector of oil and gas memorabilia. Oil and gas is my passion because it reminds me of a time when service was key.

Who’s your favorite court character from TV or movie?

I don’t have a favorite, but Judge Judy stands out to me because I remember being told during judge training that we couldn’t treat people like Judge Judy.

What do you think about the current re-districting lawsuit?

I believe citizens should be able to choose judges at large.

How do you think Curry County elected officials can alleviate residents’ doubts about bias?

Generally speaking, one party is always going to leave the courtroom unhappy. I don’t make sweeping generalities and I don’t make cases a personal thing. I remain neutral.