November 16, 2022

State Supreme Court dismisses Couy Griffin appeal over removal from office

Couy Griffin at a Trump rally on Jan. 6, 2021, before the storming of the U.S. Capitol.

The New Mexico Supreme Court denied an appeal from former Otero County Commissioner Couy Griffin in the case that removed him from office based on his actions during the Jan. 6, 2021 insurrection.

The New Mexico Supreme Court ruled Tuesday that Griffin failed to file a statement of issues within 30 days of his notice of appeal.

By state statute, this failure is grounds for the case’s dismissal.

“This is an affirmation that Section 3 of the 14th Amendment can and should be enforced against all the January 6th insurrectionists who took an oath to defend the Constitution, whether they are current or former officeholders. Today is an important day for our democracy,” a statement from Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics, or CREW, said.

CREW was the organization behind the initial case for Griffin’s removal from office.

This case was the first time the 14th Amendment’s Disqualification Clause had been used since its inception after the Civil War.

Griffin was arrested on Jan. 8, 2021 on a federal misdemeanor trespassing charge related to the Jan. 6, 2021 insurrection.

Griffin was convicted of the charge on March 22 and sentenced on June 17 to 14 days time served, ordered to pay $500 restitution, pay a $3,000 fine, complete complete community service and one year of supervised release.

Then on Sept. 6, New Mexico District Judge Francis Mathew ruled that Griffin was not eligible to hold public office due to his actions on January 6, 2021.

The ruling removed Griffin from office “effective immediately” and barred him from holding public office again.

The ruling also declared that Griffin “forfeited his current office as Otero County Commissioner effective January 6, 2021.”

That part of the ruling means that Otero County may have to re-vote any votes that were split. Since the ruling, there has not been any agenda items involving re-votes.