Roswell judge to preside over courthouse video case

CNJ staff

A Roswell district judge has been assigned as a special judge to preside over the bond issue election video.

It’s the latest move in a case filed by two Clovis men alleging Curry County violated election laws by placing the video in the courthouse lobby days before a bond issue election seeking tax increase to fund a $33 million new jail and courthouse.

Following the recusals of five district judges in Curry and Roosevelt Counties, the New Mexico Supreme Court appointed Judge Charles C. Currier to the case.

Residents Al Lewis and J.W. Graham filed an Oct. 25 petition, seeking an injunction to have the video removed or to allow contradictory information to be posted. They argued the video violated state law prohibiting campaigning within 100 feet of a polling location.

In a Nov. 9 motion to dismiss, Jonlyn Martinez, attorney for Curry County, argued the case moot because the county removed the video Oct. 27 after the petition was filed, leaving “no actual controversy for the court to decide.”

Lewis said even though the video was removed by the county, they are proceeding with the case because they want a court opinion on the matter for future reference.

Records show a request has been filed for a hearing, but no date has been set.

Critics of the video said it promoted voter approval of a $33 million courthouse and jail. County officials described it as “informational” and have said it didn’t recommend a yes vote.

More than 72 percent of voters casting ballots defeated the two bond issues.