August 17, 2022

Longtime civil rights legal professional Davis, 69, dies unexpectedly

Copyright © 2022 Albuquerque Journal

Phil Davis, a longtime New Mexico attorney referred to as “Mr. Civil Legal rights of New Mexico” by a person colleague, died unexpectedly previous 7 days. He was 69.

For a lot more than 40 many years, Davis was a stalwart of civil rights legislation in New Mexico, serving as counsel on important circumstances and as a mentor to up-and-coming lawyers, fellow lawyers claimed.

Maureen Sanders, who graduated from the University of New Mexico School of Law with Davis in the late 1970s and served on an American Civil Liberties Union legal panel with him, said Davis’ demise has despatched a jolt by means of the legal group.

Phil Davis

“I’m acquiring a challenging time chatting to you,” she claimed Tuesday. “It was the reduction of a trustworthy colleague. There are some persons in this environment you always assume to be there. It was a jolt to me and several other individuals.”

Rachel Higgins, an Albuquerque lawyer, mentioned for many years many UNM law school graduates have examined Davis’ circumstances. For 20 many years, Davis taught classes there on a variety of topics.

“Any law student who has absent to UNM who has any interest in performing New Mexico civil rights cases hears about Phil Davis before they meet up with Phil Davis,” she reported.

Higgins said in the previous 10 yrs she was co-counsel with Davis on various issues.

“The thing about Phil, he took all sorts of conditions, huge and modest, as very long as it was a righteous bring about,” she stated.

Davis was one particular of the plaintiff’s lawyers in McClendon vs. the Town of Albuquerque, which was introduced above circumstances at the Bernalillo County jail and in Jackson vs. Fort Stanton Clinic and Coaching University, which revolved all-around the remedy of persons with developmental disabilities in state-supervised housing. Davis also was one of the attorneys who represented jail inmates around the a long time in the Duran Consent Decree.

All 3 of these situations have stretched for a long time and price taxpayers hundreds of thousands of pounds as the public establishments have been reformed underneath the eye of a federal choose.

Sanders and Davis successfully argued in advance of the condition Supreme Court in the 1990s that indigent females had a correct to abortions funded by the point out.

He was a robust defender of First Modification rights and an opponent of qualified immunity, which shields authorities officials from civil legal responsibility, she mentioned.

Davis was also a successful mediator.

“I consider his determination was that he cared about men and women and that each individual person must be treated quite – significantly by our governmental institutions,” Sanders explained.

Nick Davis, Davis’s son, reported his father died at the family’s house final Thursday. Nick, who is also an lawyer, functions at the legislation business his father started. He was continue to actively working towards up right until his unforeseen death.

Nick said his father is also survived by his spouse, Lee Davis, daughter, Dr. Rachel Rankin, and four grandchildren.

Outside of the legal globe, Davis enjoyed cooking, fly fishing and downhill skiing, according to his web site. He took up refereeing soccer matches soon after observing his little ones perform the sport. Nick said his father eventually became an seasoned ref who named community significant faculty tournaments and college matches all over the area, including for the UNM Lobos.

Nick said his father approached soccer matches in a similar fashion to litigation, a lot more especially mediation, when he strived to get in touch with a match as pretty as doable.

“It was a hobby on the aspect,” Nick reported. “But it definitely balanced with his lawful perform.”