Jolly Roger floats above public office

By Marlena Hartz : Freedom Newspapers

Be it a light-hearted prank or a hidden message, little explanation was given for the pirate symbol that popped up this week outside the Clovis Public Defender Department.

The skull and crossbones flag that flew from a pole outside the Clovis office Wednesday and Thursday was removed Thursday afternoon, but the New Mexico Public Defender Department kept its presence a mystery.
New Mexico Deputy Chief Public Defender David Eisenberg said he instructed the Clovis office to remove the flag.

“The only thing I am going to tell you is that it was a case of bad judgment,” Eisenberg said.

“It’s a situation where someone exercised bad judgment,” he repeated.

A representative from the Clovis Public Defender Department did not return Freedom Newspaper phone calls.

An employee of the office was wearing a skull and crossbones pin on his suit lapel Thursday. He declined to comment on the symbol, as well.

The skull and crossbones flag — with white bones against a black backdrop — is the traditional flag of European and American pirates.

Whatever the reason for its sudden appearance, the flag above the Clovis Public Defender Department offended at least one Clovis resident.

“You see the American flag everywhere — that’s what we are supposed to be proud of,” resident Jimby Gregory said.

“(The skull and crossbones flag) is bashing America,” she said. “It makes Clovis look horrible and it shows disrespect.”

Gregory said she noticed the flag Wednesday afternoon and received no explanation for its presence, despite contacting the Clovis Public Defender Department, the Clovis Police Department and several other entities.

The New Mexico Public Defender Department has offices across New Mexico. The state department, with headquarters in Santa Fe, provides counsel to indigent persons charged with crimes in New Mexico state courts, according to its Web site.