Pearce ads sink to new lows

October 8, 2018

The recent Republican ad attacking attorney Diego Zamora was a whopper (“Pearce campaign attacks terminally ill man,” Sept. 26).

Aside from the fact that Diego is terminally ill, this ad contained inaccurate statements. I have known Diego for many years, commencing when he was admitted to practice law. Unfortunately, he succumbed to the use of drugs from which he sought recovery. Diego did not attempt to hide his defalcations but instead self-reported to the State Bar Disciplinary Committee, which, after undertaking an investigation, submitted its report to the Supreme Court, which disbarred Diego.

After successfully completing a recovery program, Diego petitioned for readmission. I served on the hearing committee that investigated Diego’s fitness and competency to again represent clients. The committee unanimously recommended to the Disciplinary Board that Diego be readmitted. The board accepted the recommendation, and the Supreme Court approved the recommendation.

Thereafter, I kept in contact with Diego, and I was impressed with his progress and his enthusiasm for again appearing in court. Diego comes from an outstanding family. His father, Matias, was not only a reputable trial attorney, but he also served as a district judge. His sister, Monica, serves on the New Mexico Court of Appeals, and his brother, Geno, now in private practice, was Santa Fe city attorney.

Diego contacted Michelle Lujan Grisham for assistance in obtaining medical coverage for his terminal illness, and his expression of appreciation was sincere. For the Republicans to demean Diego and allege that Michelle was corrupt because Phil Griego was Diego’s client is beyond logic. Diego’s brother, Geno, was being kind when he said he was disappointed in the “lack of humanity” in the Pearce ad (“Battle tested,” Letters to the Editor, Sept. 26). I was not only disappointed, but upset, and my Irish is up. Not only is it reprehensible to attack a terminally ill individual, but to imply nefarious activity to both Michelle and him is hitting below the belt.

I also have known Michelle for many years. As president of the State Bar, I initiated the Lawyer Referral for the Elderly Program, and in need of leadership, we engaged Michelle, probably her first formal employment in the social services area. Michelle took to the job with enthusiasm and subsequently continued to provide services to the less fortunate while serving in state government. Michelle is a person of the highest integrity and competency.

The Republicans are desperate. The Pearce ads are negative and divisive. I do not approve of any candidate submitting negative ads against his or her opponent, but I ask the public to compare the Pearce ads with the Grisham ads, the latter of which are positive, not divisive, and address the opposing candidate’s position on the environment, public lands and clean air, versus the Republican ads attacking opponents and not their positions on the issues.

Jack McCarthy resides in Santa Fe where he has practiced law for 55 years.

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