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ARTESIA — The Artesia City Council has approved the appointment of former Municipal Court Judge Kaye Kiper to serve out the term of the late Judge Richard L. Martinez.

Mayor Phillip Burch nominated Kiper at Tuesday’s meeting of the Artesia City Council, and the motion passed unanimously.

“As we’re all aware, we lost a good friend in Richard Martinez, a good friend that was a member of our police force for a number of years and a judge,” Burch said. “No one will replace Richard, and I’m not asking the council to replace Richard Martinez. I’m asking the council to appoint a new judge to fill out the term.”

Martinez, who passed away Aug. 6 following a battle with cancer, was sworn in as Municipal Judge March 12, 2012, following Kiper’s retirement after 19 years of service with the courts.

Kiper began as a Municipal Court clerk in November 1993 and was named alternate judge in 1994 before taking the bench permanently in 1995 as the community’s first female judge.

The current term will end in March 2016. Burch said Kiper has made no indication regarding whether she would run for election beyond that.