Legal Ethics

Lawyer accused of threatening to run down a jaywalking jurist is admonished, but can keep practicing

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A lawyer who was accused of threatening to run over a judge will be admonished, but not suspended, the New Mexico Supreme Court ruled from the bench on Wednesday.

Eric Dixon of Portales was accused by a judge of road rage and assault in a 2011 incident, the Alamogordo Daily News reports.

He was pleased with the court’s decision this week, telling the paper, “I’m going to go on practicing law, as I have for 28 years. I’m going to serve the poor, the oppressed and the needy.”

Former state district judge Ted Hartley claimed Dixon revved his SUV’s engine, blew his horn and drove straight toward jurist as he was jaywalking near the Curry County Courthouse. Dixon, who’d been critical of the judge on his blog, denied he was driving too fast or targeting the judge.

Dixon and Hartley shook hands following the admonishment from the bench, with Hartley telling Dixon, “I have no ill will toward you.”

Special prosecutor C. Barry Crutchfield had asked the state supreme court to suspend Dixon for up to two years.

Chief Justice Petra Jimenez Maes characterized Dixon’s conduct as “unprofessional.” In addition to the admonishment, Dixon will be assessed costs for the disciplinary proceeding and will be removed from the state’s disciplinary board, on which he served until the allegations.

Dixon still faces a related felony aggravated assault charge. If convicted in the case, he would face more discipline.

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