In November 2008 I went to a pre-trial conference in northern New Mexico. After it was over, my client asked if I wanted to see the land that had been in his family forever. I love the northern part of the state — it’s beautiful — so I said, “of course.” We went to the tiny village of Ojo Feliz (“Happy Eye”) and I saw the little adobe home in which he grew up. Someday when he retires (he’s been a police officer for 36 years), he’s going to restore the house. It would certainly be worth the effort.
We then traveled down the road near the home of the man that had filed a private criminal complaint against him (the reason we were at the pre-trial conference). In Mora County,almost all disputes center around property or love interests. It’s a land grant area, the deeds are a “little” loose. The complaining party had bought some property, paid cash, not ordered a title search or survey. His deed showed he had purchased three acres of land, but in reality, the seller had only an acre and a half to convey. The additional property he thought he owned actually belonged to my client’s family. Major mess!
So, Al and I drove onto his land, up toward the tree line, it was a gorgeous sunny fall day. I was standing outside the car, drinking in the beauty when I noticed a white pickup truck driving down the County road — graded, not paved — but the main drag nonetheless. The truck stopped at a gate, a passenger got out and opened the gate. He got back into the truck and they drove on down the road. In this part of the world, you leave a gate the way you find it. When it’s closed, you close it after you pass through — that’s a rule. That’s an absolute rule. So, I was being outraged when my client said, “Some guys are suing me for blocking the road.” I asked him where he was blocking it — obviously, it wasn’t at the gate through which they had just driven. He said, “I’m not.”
Well, things moved along (very slowly, obviously), and I received a subpoena. It turns out the pickup/gate incident is pivotal in the lawsuit about blocking the road. So,tomorrow morning at 8:00, I need to be in Las Vegas (NM) to testify. To make that happen, I’ll have to get up at 4:30, drive 2-1/2 hours, testify for five minutes, and drive 2-1/2 hours back to Albuquerque. Unfortunately, I can’t unsee the pickup driving through the gate.
I don’t wanna be no stinkin’ witness!