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Headlines: MDC Inmate Release Plan, Immigrant Detention Lawsuit...

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Bernalillo County Inmate-Release Plan Approved - The Associated Press and Albuquerque Journal

Bernalillo County has a contingency plan to release some prisoners deemed to be low risk if the jail population gets too large.

The Albuquerque Journal reports that the county jail's population of just under 1,900 inmates is now well below its peak and slightly below a court-ordered target.

County commissioners late Tuesday approved a plan allowing for emergency releases if the jail population exceeds the court-ordered target two weeks in a row.

A federal judge handling a civil-rights lawsuit stemming from jail crowding ordered development of a plan for emergency release of prisoners.

Under the county's plan, the inmates to be released cannot include ones awaiting trial on felony charges or those already serving a sentence.

Clovis Officer Won't Be Prosecuted In Traffic StopThe Associated Press & The Clovis Daily News

Prosecutors have decided that a Clovis police officer won't face state charges in connection with a traffic stop in which excessive force was alleged.

The Clovis Daily News reports that Police Chief Steve Sanders says Officer Brent Aguilar is back on duty following the investigation into an allegation that he slammed Jorge Corona of Clovis onto the pavement during the Aug. 3 stop.

Aguilar's lawyer, Matt Chandler, declined comment on the matter because the FBI also is looking into it.

Police began their investigation of the stop after learning of a YouTube video of the incident.

An affidavit filed by Aguilar said he took down Corona because Corona was trying to turn while being escorted to Aguilar's squad car.

Martinez Pens Piece On Immigration Reform - The Associated Press & The Washington Times

New Mexico Gov. Susana Martinez says Congress should put aside partisan differences and pass comprehensive immigration reform.

The Republican and nation's first elected Latina governor said Tuesday in a Washington Times opinion piece that Congress needed to craft a bill that tightens the border and revamps a "dysfunctional system."

She says solutions shouldn't reward those who have broken the law but they also shouldn't involve "rolling up the welcome mat."

The Martinez piece ran as she attended the winter session of the Republican Governors Association in Boca Raton, Florida.

It also came on the eve of President Barack Obama's expected announcement on executive action to protect many of the estimated 11 million people in the country illegally from deportation.

Immigrant Rights Group To Sue On Jail DetentionsThe Associated Press

An advocacy group and three immigrants are suing a northwestern New Mexico county over jail detentions from immigration holds.

Today Santa Fe-based Somos un Pueblo Unido is scheduled to announce details about a federal civil rights lawsuit on behalf of three immigrants who live in Farmington.

According to the lawsuit, all three were stopped for minor traffic violations and held unlawfully by the San Juan County Sheriff's Office while federal officials checked their immigration status.

Until recently, it was common for U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials to ask counties to hold individuals brought in for traffic violations if the individuals were suspected of not having proper immigration documents.

All three were later released.

Albuquerque Policeman To Retire After Shooting - The Associated Press

An Albuquerque police detective involved in the fatal shooting of a mentally ill homeless man in March has submitted his retirement notice.

Keith Sandy has been on paid leave since the shooting.

In a previous interview with The Associated Press, Albuquerque Police Chief Gorden Eden said Sandy violated department policy when he used profanity to describe James Boyd before Sandy and another officer killed the 38-year-old man.

Sandy's comments were captured by a New Mexico State Police dashboard camera around two hours before the shooting at Boyd's Sandia foothills campsite.

Boyd's family has filed a lawsuit against the city in connection to the shooting.

Nine Albuquerque police officers have been involved in six officer-involved shootings in 2014.

All officers other than Sandy have returned to administrative or full duty.

Project To Highlight Native Connection To Route 66The Associated Press

More than two dozen American Indian tribes are teaming up with a tourism group and the National Park Service to tell a new story for travelers along historic Route 66, the famous byway that stretches from Chicago to California.

The plan is to create a guidebook using federal grant money that will highlight tribal sites along the 2,400-mile route.

The book will also detail the histories of Native communities that saw their stretch of the West change because of the road.

Representatives from the Park Service and the Chicago American Indian Center were among those at a meeting Wednesday to kick off the project.

The American Indian Alaska Native Tourism Association is leading the effort. Coordinator Virginia Salazar-Halfmoon says one goal is to dispel stereotypes about Native Americans and their varying cultures.

Balderas Hiring For New Mexico AG's Office - The Associated Press

New Mexico Attorney General-Elect Hector Balderas has launched a transition website aimed at finding potential employees.

Balderas announced Tuesday that perspective employees to his office can apply at www.balderaselect.com.

He also says state residents can submit suggestions and concerns on the website.  Balderas takes office Jan. 1.

Juarez Boy Has Massive Tumor Removed In New Mexico - The Associated Press

An 11-year-old Mexican boy who had been suffering from a massive tumor and came to New Mexico for treatment has had the growth removed.

A spokesperson from First Baptist Church of Rio Rancho says the boy underwent surgery Monday at the University of New Mexico Children's Hospital to remove the tumor from his neck, shoulder and torso area.

The surgery lasted a more than 12 hours and involved 25 medical professionals.

In July 2012, U.S. Homeland Security Investigations assisted in picking up the boy and his parents from a neighborhood in Ciudad Juarez — one of the deadliest cities in the world due to drug cartels.

Federal agents helped the family seek care for the boy after First Baptist Church members saw him during a missionary visit.

Case against Former Las Cruces Official Dropped - The Associated Press and Las Cruces Sun-News

Prosecutors in Las Cruces are dropping a criminal case against a former city official who was accused of orchestrating an illegal kickback scheme.

The Las Cruces Sun-News reports that 50-year-old Jeff Honeycutt was arrested in April and accused of giving overtime assignments to employees in exchange for cash.

District Attorney Mark D'Antonio says prosecutors reviewed new evidence and decided to not take the case to a grand jury.

Citing cases still pending against other former city workers, D'Antonio's office declined to discuss the additional evidence.

Re-Elected Navajo Lawmaker Faces Criminal Charges - The Associated Press

A Navajo Nation lawmaker who secured another term in office has been accused of illegally authorizing nearly $34,000 in payments to his children.

Mel Begay faces nine criminal charges, including conspiracy to commit fraud and conflict of interest.

Prosecutors say, in one instance, Begay's daughter posed as a voter and requested money for heating costs and a new transmission for her car. She did not disclose her relationship. Prosecutors say she was 15 at the time, making her ineligible to vote and drive a car.

The law firm representing Begay says it hasn't seen the complaints and declined comment.

Former lawmaker Orlanda Smith-Hodge pleaded guilty Monday in a similar case involving a discretionary fund once available to lawmakers.

Bill Mauldin's Cartoons To Be Auctioned - The Associated Press

Two dozen original editorial cartoons created by Pulitzer Prize-winning cartoonist and World War II veteran Bill Mauldin are set to hit the auction block for the first time this week.

The work will be offered as part of a major comic art auction in Beverly Hills, California.

The offerings include a 1974 sketch of former President Richard Nixon done while Mauldin worked for the Chicago Sun-Times and an original "Willie and Joe" cartoon from 1951.

A native of New Mexico, Mauldin became known during World War II for his Willie and Joe characters. He lifted the spirits of U.S. soldiers through the cartoons, which used edgy humor to depict the horrors of war.

In 1945, Mauldin won his first of two Pulitzer Prizes for distinguished service as a cartoonist.

Murder Charged Dismissed Due To Missed Deadline - The Associated Press

A murder charge against a man in prison in Texas has been dropped because New Mexico authorities failed to extradite him in a timely manner.

The Roswell Daily Record reports that a judge on Nov. 6 granted a defense motion to dismiss murder and other charges against 34-year-old Humberto "Tito" Figueroa.

Figueroa was charged in New Mexico in the 2005 killing of a 30-year-old Christopher Najar during a gunfight. The victim was shot in the head while riding in a car in downtown Roswell.

The defense motion said New Mexico officials failed in 2013 to act to put Figueroa on trial under a 180-day deadline set by a federal law on transfers of prisoners between states.

Figueroa is serving a 15-year prison sentence in Huntsville, Texas, on unrelated convictions.

Explosion To Be Commemorated With Roadside Marker - The Associated Press

State officials plan to install a historic marker to commemorate the anniversary of a World War II freight train explosion that leveled an eastern New Mexico town.

The marker will be dedicated Friday along U.S. 60 east of Fort Sumner.

State Historian Rick Hendricks says the marker will serve as a reminder that the devastation and loss of life that occurred during the war was also experienced at home in New Mexico.

The explosion happened Nov. 30, 1944, when the train caught fire and the 165 bombs onboard exploded. The blast collapsed roofs and buildings in the community of Tolar and sent large sections of freight cars flying. One person was killed.

Farmington To Buy Daily Times Building, Properties - The Associated Press and Daily Times

The city of Farmington plans to buy the main building and several other properties belonging to The Daily Times.

The newspaper reports that the purchase of its main building and several other properties for $850,000 will allow expansion of the Farmington Civic Center. The center and the newspaper building are located on the same block.

The City Council approved the purchase agreement on Tuesday but councilors also must approve financing for the Civic Center expansion.

The newspaper can remain in the building for a year under a lease with the city. The lease has provisions for an extension and early termination.

Councilor Mary Fischer voted against the agreement, saying the city shouldn't be the newspaper's landlord.

Publisher John Eickhert said the newspaper won't change its coverage.