Last week a jury found that the town of Estancia did not violate a state whistleblower law when it fired former town clerk Jewell “Julie” Carter. That’s according to a press release from the town, confirmed by Carter.

The judgment against Carter came Nov. 28 from the Seventh Judicial District Court.

The lawsuit came out of a sex scandal in which the children’s librarian had reported to Carter witnessing two town employees, including the librarian, allegedly having sex in the children’s section of the library.

Carter writes a syndicated column, “Cowgirl Sass and Savvy,” which runs in The Independent and several other publications.

Carter would not comment for the story.

According to Estancia’s press release, the jury heard from 13 witnesses and reviewed dozens of exhibits over the course of five days before Judge Mercedes Murphy.

The town was represented by Renni Zifferblatt and Jeff Baker of The Baker Law Group. Carter is represented by Gary Mitchell and Damon Richards.

Leota Harriman
Leota Harriman

Leota started working for The Independent in 2006, working her way up through the ranks. An employee buyout in 2010 led to her ownership of the newspaper. Leota has served on the board of the N.M. Press Association, and is currently its First Vice President. She is passionate about health and wellness, especially mental health, and loves making art. She can be reached at