Editor’s note: New Mexico’s primary election is Tuesday, June 2.
The Observer asked candidates for Sandoval County offices and New Mexico Legislature seats representing Sandoval County to complete questionnaires explaining their priorities, qualifications and views on topics in the public eye.
Candidates were held to a 450-word limit. If responses surpassed that limit, the answers were cut from the bottom until they were 450 words long. Otherwise, responses were not edited.
The only Republican running for 13th Judicial District attorney is Joshua Joe Jimenez.
Residence: Rio Rancho
Past and present occupation(s): US Army Officer (1987 – 1992); graduated from the University of Nebraska law school with honors in 1995; 7th Judicial District DA Office, (1996 –2001), final position—Chief Deputy District Attorney; 1st Judicial District (2001-2009), Deputy District Attorney; Victims’ Rights Attorney, DWI Resource Center (2009-2011); 13th Judicial District, (2011 – present), currently Chief Deputy District Attorney.
Have you ever been convicted of a felony or DWI charge? Charged with DWI January 2009 and pled guilty March 2009; I had reached a burnout point in my career. This was a wakeup call and I reevaluated the way I was handling the pressures of my job. I went to counseling and stopped drinking. I now serve on New Mexico’s Walk Like MADD Committee.
If elected, what will your top priorities be? The recruitment and retention of highly qualified and committed staff and attorneys. Provide the training and resources needed to allow consistent, effective and fair prosecution of the most violent offenders while working with community partners to develop creative solutions to fighting the revolving door of crime.
Why should you be elected to this position? Experience! I have significant experience and skills in all aspects of what is needed to effectively manage a complex 3-county district. I have prosecuted over 100 jury trials and evaluated thousands of cases. I have leadership, personnel management, and budget management experience. I have been in charge of numerous district attorney’s offices as Deputy and Chief Deputy. I am actively involved in and committed to this community because I have lived here for 20 years. I raised my children here. I can hit the ground running from Day 1, with the skills and community partnership’s I have already developed.
What, if anything, would you like to see changed about the district attorney’s office, and how would you accomplish that? The turnover rate of prosecutors and support staff has a devastating effect on the Office’s efficiency. It is extremely costly to repeatedly train new employees, only to have them leave for greener pastures. I will make the 13th the “greener pasture” where other quality individuals migrate and want to stay. This can be done by providing adequate support—including salaries, training and guidance.
What strengths, if any, does the DA’s office currently have, and how would you support them? The 13th has one of the best Pre-Prosecution Diversion programs in the State. This is due largely to the skills of the current director. I will work along-side community partner agencies to expand this program in new and creative ways to help non-violent offenders who want to get off a criminal path return to productive members of the community.
What is your philosophy on representing the citizens as the top prosecuting attorney in the judicial district? The role of the District Attorney is to do justice. While that is or should be every prosecutor’s mantra, I will continue to instill and enforce this philosophy with every attorney who works for me. I lead by example to demonstrate the difference between Justice and vengeance and between mercy and accountability.
Residence: Rio Rancho
Past and present occupation(s): Assistant District Attorney/Senior Trial Prosecutor for the 13th Judicial District
Have you ever been convicted of a felony or DWI charge? No
If elected, what will your top priorities be? Fighting to keep our community safe will be my top priority. I will do everything within my power as the District Attorney to ensure that all violent, dangerous and repeat offenders who threaten the safety of our community are held accountable under the law, and that they are prevented from continuing to victimize our community.
Why should you be elected to this position? Throughout my tenure as an Assistant District Attorney for the 13th Judicial District, I have achieved a high level of success while maintaining a complex and high caseload, averaging between 150 and 300 cases. Working my way up in a relatively short period of time to the position of Senior Trial Prosecutor, I have a firm grasp on what is needed to successfully and efficiently prosecute every type of criminal case in our community.
What, if anything, would you like to see changed about the district attorney’s office, and how would you accomplish that? I would like to see the system of training and promotions within the District Attorney’s office change. I will work to ensure that all prosecutors, investigators, and staff members are properly trained and evaluated. I will further work to ensure that all positions and promotions within the District Attorney’s Office are purely merit-based.
What strengths, if any, does the DA’s office currently have, and how would you support them? The DA’s Office has been strong in recruiting good prosecutors. I will work to ensure that those prosecutors are properly trained, and promoted based on their performance, so that they remain with our office, and do not leave for better positions and/or salaries.
What is your philosophy on representing the citizens as the top prosecuting attorney in the judicial district? The District Attorney must be guided by the philosophy that the top priority of the Office is to protect our community by working to ensure that all violent, dangerous and repeat offenders who threaten the safety of our community are aggressively prosecuted and held accountable under the law.