Co-defendant refuses to testify in murder trial

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By Karl Terry and Sharna Johnson: Freedom New Mexico A co-defendant in a first-degree murder case backed out on his deal to testify Thursday in Roosevelt County District Court, according to prosecutors. Orlando Salas, a 17-year-old serving a sentence for his connection to the shooting death of a 10-year-old Clovis boy, was also charged with […]

Tatum named judge in 9th Judicial District

Freedom New Mexico SANTA FE — Gov. Bill Richardson has appointed Drew Tatum of Clovis to fill a vacant seat in the 9th Judicial District. Tatum, whose principal office will be in Portales, replaces Judge Joe Parker, who resigned from the position for health reasons on July 31. There are five district judges in the […]

Trial set to start Monday in Portales

Freedom New Mexico Staff The first-degree murder trial of two men accused of shooting a 10-year-old boy while he slept in his Clovis home will begin Monday in Portales. Demetrio Salas, 21, and David Griego, 31, are scheduled to have a 10-day trial. Jury selection will begin at 9 a.m. Monday. District Judge Pro Tem […]

Local DA handling Albuquerque case

Staff and wire reports An Albuquerque man was indicted Friday by an Albuquerque grand jury in a murder-for-hire case being handled by the 9th Judicial District attorney’s office. Earl Scott Robinson, 72, is being held on $1 million bond and is charged with conspiracy to commit murder, criminal solicitation to commit murder, witness intimidation and […]

Judges inspect fair entries

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By Casey Peacock: PNT Staff Writer Before the Roosevelt County Fair officially opens to the public, a flurry of activity takes place behind the scenes as the various indoor entries are judged. The home arts department was busy on Tuesday morning as the judging took place. Everything from quilts to baking to woodworking items were […]

Parker decides to leave district judge post

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By Sharna Johnson: Freedom Newspapers District Judge Joe Parker has resigned his position, effective today, citing an ongoing battle with Parkinson’s disease. Though it may seem like a sudden announcement, Parker said it was a very difficult decision that he and his wife talked and prayed about at length. “In reality my wife and I […]

July 22,1977

• Clovis Magistrate judges Ralph Duty and Wandel Massey were assigned to cover cases in Roosevelt County due to Judge Jesse Porter being in the hospital with a hand injury and Judge Fred Hensley attending the National Judge’s College in Reno, Nevada. • The Colts claimed the Pee-Wee league title in boys baseball recording a […]

Judge Hensley to retire Friday

By Sharna Johnson: Freedom Newspapers Judge Fred Hensley, 70, worked for 35 years in the local judicial system, spending the last decade as officer of the Curry/Roosevelt Domestic Violence Office. He is retiring Friday. Hensley talked with the Freedom Newspapers about his experiences. The early years: I was planning to be a rancher. I was […]

Checks-and-balances system effective in guarding against overzealous government

Editorial U.S. District Court Judge John Bates has set a July 5 deadline for the FBI to hand over documents relating to the bureau’s possible misuse of what are known as National Security Letters, or NSLs, under the Patriot Act. An earlier Justice Department audit found the FBI had improperly and sometimes illegally misused the […]

Imprisonment without charges unconstitutional

Editorial A ruling Monday that President Bush does not have the constitutional authority to detain a legal U.S. resident indefinitely without charges in a Navy brig in South Carolina was narrowly crafted to the facts of the case and studiously avoided discussing prisoners held in similar circumstances at Guantanamo Bay in Cuba. But the ruling […]

Baca given max sentence

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By Karl Terry: Freedom Newspapers District Judge Steven Quinn sentenced 20-year-old Richard Baca to 21 years in prison Friday on charges connected with the 2004 death of Amber Robinson of Portales. Baca was convicted March 7 by a jury in a Portales courtroom of second-degree murder and two counts of third-degree evidence tampering. Quinn had […]

Dentist enters plea

By Sharna Johnston: Freedom Newspapers A Clovis dentist facing the death penalty in connection with the 2005 slaying of a Clovis mother has reached a plea agreement that will send him to prison for at least 57 years. In a barely audible voice from his seat at the defense table, James Smith answered “yes” as […]

Senior center hosts chili cook-off

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By Casey Peacock: PNT Staff Writer Yum, was the word one judge used to describe the chili that was entered in the fifth annual chili cook-off hosted by the Portales Senior Citizen Center on Tuesday night. The event raises funds for the Mayor’s Christmas Tree Fund. With the introduction of the five judges, chosen from […]

Defense motions denied

Freedom Newspapers Motions by the defense team for a Cannon airman charged with murder in connection with the death of his wife were denied during a hearing held this week at Cannon Air Force Base, according to a press release. Defense counsel on Thursday requested a Cannon judge hold a new Article 32 investigation, or […]

Prosecutors want testimony excluded

By Sharna Johnson: Freedom Newspapers Prosecutors asked a judge to exclude testimony of a defense psychiatric expert from the murder trial of Jimmy Bentley during a hearing Friday in the 9th Judicial District Court. District Attorney Matt Chandler gave the court several reasons for wanting Dr. Samuel Roll stricken as a witness, including outdated methods, […]

Poultry show for the birds

By Casey Peacock: PNT Staff Writer Chaos reigns for a moment in the poultry barn as a chicken flies into the rafters. A crowd gathers to catch the hen, and she flies out and into the arms of a woman. With a surprised look and a cheer from the crowd, the woman hands her off […]

Reeb named to 9th Judicial court bench

Freedom Newspapers SANTA FE — David Reeb said he has reached the pinnacle of his career by being appointed by the governor to fill the newly created fourth judge’s position in the 9th Judicial District Court. “I’ve aspired to be a judge since I was in law school,” said the 37-year-old former deputy district attorney […]

New state employment laws shouldn’t be used to target Wal-Mart

Editorial A federal judge ruled last week that the state of Maryland can’t use health insurance laws to punish Wal-Mart. The state law in question would have required nongovernmental employers with 10,000 or more workers to spend at least 8 percent of payroll on health care or pay the difference in taxes, according to The […]

Judge allows jailed dentist unrestricted communication

By Sharna Johnson Judge Joe Parker has denied a request by the district attorney’s office to restrict verbal and written communications between homicide suspect James Smith and potential state witnesses. Smith is accused of killing 30-year-old Laura McNaughton in December. After reviewing written arguments from defense attorney Stephen Doerr and 9th Judicial District Attorney Matt […]

Hitson says people skills, common sense her strengths as judge

Editor’s note: The following is part of a question and answer series on candidates running in the municipal election on March 7. Candidates are asked questions regarding the city’s future. Arla Hitson is running for election to the municipal judge’s position. Hitson will be running against Oscar Robinson and incumbent Fred Arnold. 1. What qualifications, […]