Valley Meat's attempts to remove judge from case denied

by Meat&Poultry Staff
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ROSWELL, NM – A renewed motion by Valley Meat Company to remove 1st District Judge Matthew Wilson from a lawsuit involving a proposed horse slaughterhouse in Roswell has been denied by the New Mexico Supreme Court, the Albuquerque Journal reports. Blair Dunn, Valley Meat attorney, and Albuquerque attorney Martin Threet filed a lawsuit in the 5th Judicial District Court in Roswell against Wilson and in the 1st District Court seeking certain records under the Inspection of Public Records Act.

Most recently, Justices Edward Chávez, Charles Daniels and Barbara Vigil filed a brief order Monday denying Valley Meat’s request for the court to exercise its power of control over the state’s courts. This request was to “restrain Wilson from continuing to preside over a matter in which he has allowed and continues to allow his campaign materials to give the appearance of impropriety and a lack of impartiality.” This reference is to posts on his campaign website by other individuals about the horse-slaughter case.

A lawsuit filed by the Attorney General’s Office seeks to stop the Valley Meat slaughterhouse from operating because of food- and water-safety concerns, among others. Dunn went after the civil lawsuit in a January court filing calling it a “publicity stunt” and said the attorney general lacks jurisdiction.
Wilson, at the attorney general’s request, issued a temporary restraining order preventing the company from opening in December. Dunn alleged in his filing there is a conflict of interest in the attorney general’s representation of Wilson and that he has not received court pleadings in a timely manner.

Dunn alleges in the Inspection of Public Records Act lawsuit the court has failed to supply any records related to Valley Meat, owner Ricardo de Los Santos or the case at issue, including all communications between Wilson and his staff, Judge Raymond Ortiz and his staff, communications from outside individuals, a copy of the Wilson campaign Facebook page that shows who “liked” it, private Facebook messages sent or received by Wilson and more, according to the Albuquerque Journal.

In a Feb. 3 letter, Wilson and the court administration responded they would not provide the requested records, according to the lawsuit that was filed Monday. The lawsuit asks the court to find a violation of the public records act and to impose an injunction to enforce it, plus damages for the alleged violations.
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