Did lawyer try to run down judge he’d targeted in blog posts? Top state court to decide
Posted Jul 22, 2013 3:25 PM CDT
By Martha Neil
A New Mexico lawyer is facing both a criminal charge and a legal ethics case for allegedly trying to run over a local judge in his sports utility vehicle.
Now retired, former state district judge Ted Hartley says attorney Eric Dixon revved his engine, blew his horn and drove straight toward the 70-something jurist as he was jaywalking across Main Street by the Curry County Courthouse one day in April 2011. A special prosecutor for a state's disciplinary board says Dixon was doing 25 mph as he aimed his SUV at Hartley like a weapon, the Alamogordo Daily News reports.
Although Hartley complained, it was the special prosecutor, C. Barry Crutchfield, who brought up blog posts by Dixon critical of the judge, which Crutchfield contends show motive for Dixon's alleged vehicular attack.
Dixon's lawyer, Gary Mitchell, admits his client "is not the kind of lawyer who is going to be named grand marshal of the town parade," but says he was doing no more than 15 mph, not 25 mph, never recognized the judge and certainly did not intend to target him.
A hearing panel found an ethical violation and recommended Dixon be suspended, but a review board disagreed and absolved him. Next month, the state supreme court is expected to rule on the attorney disciplinary case.
Meanwhile, a criminal aggravated assault case is also pending.
Another blogging lawyer with the same name has noted in a post on his site that he is not the Eric Dixon in this case.
ABAJournal.com (2011): "New Mexico Lawyer Accused of Car Assault in Narrow Miss with Jaywalking Judge"