County should reveal details of investigation

The mysterious investigation conducted at the request of Curry County Attorney Stephen Doerr has concluded, Doerr and Commission Chairman Caleb Chandler confirmed on Wednesday. Now it’s time officials tell us what they were investigating and what they found out. Doerr announced following an executive session with county commissioners on Tuesday that his office was asked […]

Weekly update —

County attorney contracted Tuesday, Curry County entered into a one-year contract with Stephen Doerr of Doerr & Knudson, PA to serve as county attorney. The rate for Doerr’s services is set at $140 per hour, according to the contract. Doerr & Knudson was the only law firm to respond to a request for proposal, county […]

Kickball tournament registration open

Freedom New Mexico Registration is open for the City of Portales kickball tournament 9 a.m. Sept. 4 at Rotary Park. The cost is $50 per team, said city Athletics Director Mike Doerr. Proceeds go to Portales city sports. Players must be at least 12 years old. Each team must have eight to 14 members, including […]

Officials: Zoning rule may be needed

By Gabriel Monte: CNJ staff writer A nuisance ordinance would be hard to enforce efficiently without a zoning ordinance county officials said. Curry County Attorney Stephen Doerr presented a rough draft of a nuisance ordinance Thursday during a Land Use Committee meeting. Committee chairman and County Commissioner Tim Ashley said nuisance complaints from county residents […]

Attorney looking into fair funds

Freedom New Mexico Curry County Attorney Stephen Doerr has taken the lead in the investigation into possible missing county funds, County Manager Lance Pyle said Friday. Pyle said he would not comment on any other aspect of the investigation, including whether or not there is money missing. He referred all inquiries to Doerr, who did […]

Rodeo comes close to being cancelled

By Eric Butler: CNJ Correspondent The annual Pioneer Days Rodeo will get started Thursday as scheduled. But there were a few anxious moments at Tuesday’s Curry County Commission meeting. County officials said the event was in danger of being cancelled because the event organizer — Curry County Mounted Patrol — had not signed a contract […]

Request to restrict inmate’s contact with witnesses denied

By Sharna Johnson: CNJ staff writer 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 […]

Attorney steps down in Clovis dentist case

By Sharna Johnson: CNJ staff writer The attorney for former Clovis dentist and homicide suspect James Smith filed a motion Wednesday to withdraw from the case, according to court documents. Stephen Doerr cited two reasons for withdrawal in his motion to the court. Doerr stated he was not retained to represent Smith in a death […]

DA asks judge to stop contact between suspect, potential witnesses

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Attorney Stephen Doerr, left, talks with slaying suspect James Smith during a hearing Thursday at the Curry County Courthouse. (Staff photo: Eric Kluth) By Sharna Johnson: CNJ staff writer District Attorney Matt Chandler asked a judge Thursday to stop all communications between a former Clovis dentist and potential state witnesses involved in James Smith’s murder […]

DA plans to pursue death penalty against Smith

By Rick White: CNJ managing editor District Attorney Matt Chandler plans to pursue the death penalty against a former Clovis dentist accused of bludgeoning a woman to death. Chandler said he will seek the death penalty against James Smith, 37, based on state statute and because New Mexico’s sentencing system does not include life without […]

Accused killer seeks evidence against him

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James Smith, left, listens during his first hearing Monday, requested by his lawyer, Stephen Doerr. (Staff photo: Eric Kluth) By Andy Jackson: CNJ staff writer The attorney representing accused killer James Smith complained Monday to a district court judge that he’s not received evidence in the case, as required by law. Judge Joe Parker ordered […]

Murder suspect waives arraignment

By Andy Jackson: CNJ staff writer The attorney representing murder suspect James Smith waived his client’s right to an arraignment hearing in district court on Wednesday. The Clovis dentist was arrested Tuesday and charged with killing Laura McNaughton, a single mother of two girls. McNaughton’s nude body was found by hunters on Dec. 10 in […]

County tax referendum fails

By David Irvin: CNJ staff writer A gross receipts tax increase adopted by the county in January will go into effect this summer as planned after a petition filed to put the tax to a public vote was ruled invalid. County clerk Mario Trujillo told the County Commission on Tuesday nearly 400 of the 1,300 […]

County exploring home-monitoring system for nonviolent inmates

By Ryan Lengerich: CNJ staff writer The Curry County Commission on Wednesday approved a proposed policy to monitor nonviolent inmates outside detention center walls. The Community Custody Program would use a 24-hour electronic monitoring system attached to the ankle to track inmates activities in their home and around the community. The Commission unanimously approved the […]

County manager applications due

CNJ STAFF REPORTS Curry County officials say they will review applications for a new county manager on Monday and hope to begin interviews for the position two weeks later. The deadline to apply for the position is 5 p.m. on Friday. The position became open in September when County Manager Geneva Cooper announced her resignation […]

County renews manager’s contract

By Darrell Todd Maurina: CNJ Staff Writer Curry County commissioners voted Wednesday morning to issue a four-year contract to County Manager Geneva Cooper. All commissioners except Ed Perales voted for the renewal. A person answering the telephone at his business who identified himself as Perales’ son said Perales would not comment. County Attorney Steve Doerr […]

County officials ask for dismissal of CNJ lawsuit

By Jack King: CNJ STAFF WRITER Curry County officials have filed two motions asking the court to dismiss the Clovis News Journal’s lawsuit against the county. The motions claim procedural errors were made when the newspaper asked for information about county employees’ wages and benefits. News Journal attorney Max Best said the issues covered in […]

County manager in campaign controversy

By Jack King: CNJ staff writer Some county residents and some candidates in county elections claim Curry County Manager Geneva Cooper violated county personnel policies by endorsing District 2 commission candidate Pete Hulder in a newspaper advertisement. The ad, which ran in Wednesday’s Clovis News Journal, lists a number of local residents, commissioners Kathrynn Tate […]

New roadblock encountered over records

By David Stevens, editor Our newspaper’s efforts to find out how much public officials get paid around here has hit another road block, this time from the Internal Revenue Service. Several weeks ago, our reporters contacted officials at all the public entities in Curry County and asked for records documenting employees’ pay. It seemed like […]

Straight answers about CNJ’s lawsuit against Curry County

Freedom Newspapers Some Curry County public servants are twisting the law to prevent daylight from shining on public records. The Clovis News Journal sued Curry County last week over the refusal of its attorney to release pay information on county workers. We had asked the county for names of employees, their positions, their annual salaries […]