The Eastern New Mexico News - Serving Clovis, Portales and the Surrounding Communities

By Steve Hansen
Staff writer 

Former inmate sues jail over booking fee


Last updated 12/4/2021 at 3:53pm

CLOVIS — A one-time Curry County Detention Center inmate who claims a partial booking fee was taken from him illegally has filed a suit against Curry County and Mark Gallegos, the jail’s administrator, on behalf of all jail inmates who were charged the fee without a hearing before or after the fee was taken.

Perry Furgason, the former inmate, filed the class-action suit in Ninth Judicial District Court on Nov. 24 and is represented by Eric Dixon, a Portales attorney.

The complaint alleges the fee is illegal, since it is taken without hearings before or after it is charged to inmates, and violates due process requirements under the New Mexico Constitution.

The complaint asks the court to cancel the fee retroactively to 2014, when it was first imposed through a county resolution, and reimburse all who were required to pay the fee, including interest charged, without due process.

Curry County Administrator Lance Pyle said the county has been served with the suit, but would not comment because county policies against comment on pending lawsuits.

Furgason filed the complaint based on events that occurred when he was jailed after an arrest in 2019, according to his court complaint.

Furgason was jailed Nov. 27, 2019 on a warrant from Clovis Magistrate Court for misdemeanor charges of harassment and criminal trespass, which were later dropped, court documents show. According to Furgason’s complaint, detention officers took $11.60 from Fergason’s wallet while he was jailed for 36 hours before a hearing in magistrate court.

The complaint states that Furgason objected to the taking of his money in writing to Gallegos, but said his letter of complaint did not receive a response.

In addition to the fee refund, the complaint also asks that legal fees and court costs be covered by the defendants.

The case has been assigned to Judge David Reeb, and no action has been taken on the complaint since it was filed, according to court records.


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