‘Racism’ allegations against Eddy County district judge retracted

Eddy County District Judge Lisa Riley said she was awarded $50,000 in a defamation lawsuit against Carlsbad Municipal Schools, former-Carlsbad High School Principal Adam Amador and the League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC), as allegations the judge made racist comments were retracted by LULAC.

The suit stemmed from an incident in 2018 when Riley’s son Will Riley, then a student at Carlsbad High School, organized a pro-Second Amendment rally on school grounds, which he said school officials attempted to block. 

Amador accused Lisa Riley of calling him a “dumb Mexican” during a telephone conversation to discuss the conflict.

Subsequently, LULAC sent a letter of complaint to the Carlsbad Municipal School Board of Education noting her alleged comments leading to Riley filing the defamation suit as she continued to deny the allegations.

In an Oct. 11 Facebook post, Riley said the case was settled for $50,000 which she planned to donate to a local charity.

She said in the post that it was important to litigate the matter to protect Riley’s reputation of impartiality as a judge.

“We all value our reputations, but as a judge my reputation isn’t just personal, it is a reflection on the judicial system,” Riley wrote. “Judges are imperfect people, to be sure, and we do imperfect jobs, but everyone who comes to the court must be assured that their case will be decided, albeit imperfectly, on the merits, and not based on bias or prejudice.”

District Judge Lisa Riley defends herself against allegations she made a racist comment to Carlsbad High School Principal Adam Amador, during a Sept. 26 School Board meeting.

In a Sept. 30 news release, LULAC disavowed the allegations initially made by former-National Treasurer Paul “Pablo” Martinez in the letter to Carlsbad Municipal Schools and former-Superintendent Greg Rodriguez.

Martinez also accused Riley of starting a “racist campaign” against Amador, per the release.

Court records indicated 12th District Judge Ellen Jessen dismissed the complaint against Amador, Carlsbad School Board members, Rodriguez and Carlsbad High School employee Lisa Carrasco in the case, reporting a settlement was reached on Feb. 8, 2019.