Former city commissioner and deputy district attorney Fred Van Soelen of Clovis was appointed Ninth Judicial District Court judge Friday by Gov. Susana Martinez.
“I’m excited,” Van Soelen said when contacted by phone. “It’s very humbling but I’m excited to get going.”
Van Soelen was picked from among four candidates to replaced retired Chief Judge Teddy Hartley. He was working in private practice with the Harmon law office in Clovis.
Van Soelen’s judicial appointment is effective July 15.
“Mr. Van Soelen has solid experience and knowledge in the criminal justice field,” Martinez said in a press release. “I believe that Mr. Van Soelen is a strong choice and will continue his dedication to safeguarding the law and the well-being of New Mexicans.”
It was Van Soelen’s second attempt to be named a district court judge after being passed over in 2007 for now-Judge Drew Tatum. Van Soelen will fill the remainder of Hartley’s term and faces an election in 2014.
Van Soelen said although arrangements are pending, he expects to be sworn into office July 19 and to begin his duties in the court July 22. He said he doesn’t envision any major changes for the district court. Van Soelen did say he will pay close attention to how quickly cases are moving through the court system and recommend changes to speed up the process if it appears to be bogging down with large caseloads.
“I just hope to do my best and serve the people of this district well.”