OTERO COUNTY, N.M. (KRQE) – A New Mexico judge is getting a dose of public humiliation for his poor behavior during a spat with his next-door neighbors, one of them a disabled veteran.
The State Supreme Court censured Otero County Magistrate Judge Steve Guthrie, giving him a very public slap on the wrist.
“The nature of almost all the calls would’ve been a neighborhood dispute—a civil issue,” said Alamogordo Police Capt. Richard Denton.
Police were called to an Alamogordo neighborhood multiple times between October 2017 and July 2018.
Documents show the feud started when Guthrie says the neighbors’ grandchildren were bouncing the basketball too loudly. Guthrie then parked his car in front of the hoop to block the grandchildren from playing on it, which also blocked a fire hydrant.
The complaints escalated after the neighbors claim Guthrie threatened to take away the disabled veteran’s benefits. Police were also called because Guthrie’s wife sprayed water on their security cameras.
Guthrie was elected in 2016. He was also with the Alamogordo Police Department for more than 20 years before retiring.
“We don’t give preferential treatment to anyone—we do uphold the laws. Doesn’t matter who you are, we’re going to do what we normally do with anybody,” said Denton.
KRQE News 13 is told Guthrie and his wife moved from that house in October 2018.
The neighbors who still live there didn’t want to go on camera, but say they believe the public has a right to know about his behavior, and are grateful to the Supreme Court for the censure.
KRQE News 13 tried to get a comment from Guthrie through the magistrate court, but the court declined to comment.
The State Supreme Court also issued a public censure for Judge Albert Mitchell from Quay County. Court documents say Mitchell met privately with Quay County Manager Richard Primrose following a meeting in January 2018.
It says Mitchell was upset with a county vote involving courthouse security, and then threatened to influence the governor to line-item veto funding for the county.