Clovis lawyer Dan Buzzard left too soon

By Don McAlavy: CNJ columnist

I used to go to Dan Buzzard, the lawyer in Clovis that I knew, who could keep me out of trouble when I would write up a column for the Curry County Times or the CNJ that some one didn’t like or I wrote something I shouldn’t had.

I don’t have any history on Dan Buzzard, where he was born or when he came to Clovis. I know he was there in 1961, with his law practice at 704 Mitchell and in 1975. I did know that his wife Betty died on March 20, 1980. I just knew he was a good lawyer and a good friend. We would sit and talk about all the problems in Clovis and about the many problems with the liquor establishments.

In 1975, U. S. District Judge Edwin L. Mechem declared a mistrial in the trial of lawyer Dan Buzzard. The judge declared the mistrial because of a remark by government anti-trust lawyers.

James Avery, a partner in Riley’s Switch Discount Liquors in Clovis, took the stand testifying about a conversation he had had with Buzzard and about a charge that Riley’s Switch sold liquor to minors.

The prosecution alleged that the sale to minors incident had been “set up” by one of the other Clovis liquor dealers. At that point, Buzzard’s lawyer asked for mistrial. Marshall Martin of Albuquerque was representing Buzzard, who along with 10 Clovis liquor dealers, four Clovis liquor establishments and the Clovis Retail Liquor Dealers Trade Association, was indicted by a federal grand jury with conspiracy in restraint of interstate trade and commerce, or “price-fixing.”

The 10 liquor dealers, the four establishments and the association entered pleas of no contest before Judge Mechem. Mechem deferred sentencing until after Buzzard’s trial.

I don’t know exactly what happened after that as I didn’t get all the information about the trial and the ending.

I do know that I painted a painting later that showed an outlaw about to be hung somewhere in New Mexico on a hill, on an old tree with no leaves, only two law officers, with one of them holding back the outlaws sweetheart, begging them not to hang her darling outlaw. The outlaw had already been put on a horse and had a noose around his neck.

There was a man there holding a Bible who wanted to know if he wanted a preacher? This is what the outlaw said: “Preacher!