Ryan, Kinsella square off for judge seat
By Brook Stockberger
Las Cruces Bulletin
If you are busted for texting while driving, or if the codes department deems the weeds in your yard are too high or if you violate any number of municipal code violations, you could end up before a judge in the City of Las Cruces Municipal Court at 135 E. Griggs Ave.
The current presiding judge on the court, Melissa Miller-Byrnes, has decided to step down after her term. Two Las Crucens have thrown their hat into the ring to fill the position.
Kieran Ryan, the other current municipal judge, and attorney William Kinsella will both be on the ballot during Nov. 3’s city election.
A resident of Las Cruces for two decades, Ryan, 63, has practiced primarily in family law and bankruptcy law.
He has worked in the municipal court for 16 years as, first, an alternate judge who was then appointed to the bench to fill a vacancy. He won his first election in 2011. Ryan, a Navy veteran, graduated from the University of Kansas with a bachelor’s degree in general studies, political science. He earned his Juris Doctor degree at the Marshal School of Law in Chicago.
Ryan said he believes the municipal court is in good shape and does not need any major changes if he becomes presiding judge.
“Things are running pretty smooth,” Ryan said.
He did say the city could use a new municipal court house since the current building has been around since 1917. He also believes lawyers for indigent clients should receive a pay raise, something he said has not happened in 22 years.
Ryan likes programs like the one for graffiti vandals where the violators are given probation and also made to clean graffiti off of walls and then made to monitor the wall.
Ryan lives in Las Cruces with his wife and has three children.
After spending most of his career as a prosecutor — and a stint as an associate public defending — Kinsella, 60, retired from public law and went into private practice. He works mostly in family law with issues such as divorce, adoption, custodial issues etc.
“Adoptions are the nicest events,” he said. Kinsella graduated from New Mexico Tech in Socorro with a degree in general studies with concentrations in history and chemistry. He then worked in the University of New Mexico’s chemistry department for six years before he entered UNM’s law school.
After he graduated from law school, Kinsella worked in Clovis and Alamogordo and then served the district attorney’s office in Las Cruces with then DA and current governor Susana Martinez.
Kinsella also donates time to El Caldito soup kitchen and performs pro bono law work in the area of family law at least four or five times a year.
“I enjoy helping people with their problems,” he said.
Kinsella said his experience facing judges from both sides of the aisle as a prosecutor and public defender — will help him if he takes up the gavel.
Plus he said he knows what it’s like to face municipal penalties.
“I’ve helped people with parking tickets and I’ve had parking tickets,” he said. “Judges should treat people fairly.”
Kinsella lives in Las Cruces with his wife and two daughters.
Brook Stockberger may be reached at 680-1977 or brook@lascrucesbulletin.