State Supreme Court dismisses Couy Griffin appeal over removal from office

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.

"Vote Here" signs in front of the Otero County Administration Building on New York Avenue in Alamogordo.

From counting to consequences: Your guide to how ballots are counted and what happens if a county refuses to certify an election

After a year that included a southern New Mexico county commission refusing to certify a primary election, misinformation about New Mexico’s election security and how it has affected voter turnout, the Secretary of State’s Office and county clerks are ready for Election Day next week. “(The New Mexico Secretary of State’s Office) is feeling good about it, no reports of anything bad happening as far as we know,” New Mexico Secretary of State spokesman Alex Curtas said. “It seems people are voting easily and without disruption we’re getting pretty good turnout numbers… I wouldn’t be surprised if we got upwards of 60 percent for total turnout when all is said and done.”

On election night on Nov. 8, votes will be counted after the polls close at 7 p.m.

These include the absentee ballots which begin being processed (separated from the envelopes and shuffled to preserve voter anonymity) prior to election night. The absentee ballots are not run through machines until after polls close on Nov.

Couy Griffin removed from Otero County Commission, barred from holding any future office

A Santa Fe state district court judge ordered on Tuesday that Couy Griffin be removed from office and disqualified from holding any other public office in the future because of his role in the January 6, 2021 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol. In his ruling, First Judicial District Court Judge Francis Mathew wrote that Griffin “shall be removed from his position as an Otero County Commissioner effective immediately.” Mathew also wrote that Griffin is “constitutionally disqualified” from holding any office in the future. 

The decision is in response to a civil suit filed by a group of citizens against Griffin that argued the leader of Cowboys for Trump violated the U.S. Constitution by taking part in the effort last year to stop Congress from certifying the presidential election. Griffin, representing himself, argued during a bench trial last month that he could not be removed from office because Otero County voters elected him to office and further rejected a petition to remove him from office. But Mathew wrote that Griffin himself tried to overturn the people’s will on January 6, 2021.  

“The irony of Mr. Griffin’s argument that this court should refrain from applying the law and consider the will of the people in District Two of Otero County who retained him as a county commissioner against a recall effort as he attempts to defend his participation in an insurrection by a mob whose goal, by his own admission, was to set aside the results of a free, fair and lawful election by a majority of the people of the entire country (the will of the people) has not escaped this Court,” Mathew wrote. 

Griffin has long maintained that his presence at the U.S. Capitol on January 6, 2021 was that of moral support and was protected by his right to free speech. But Mathew wrote that Griffin’s attempts to “sanitize his actions are without merit and contrary to the evidence produced by the Plaintiffs, bearing in mind that he produced no evidence himself in his own defense.”

“[Griffin’s] protestations and his characterizations of his actions and the events of January 6, 2021 are not credible and amounted to nothing more than attempting to put lipstick on a pig.”

Mathew cited evidence and witness testimony from the plaintiffs that Griffin used inflammatory language and spent days encouraging supporters to show up at the Capitol to show that Griffin and Cowboys for Trump “played a key role” in mobilizing “efforts ahead of the January 6, 2021 attack on the United States Capitol.” Mathew went on to write that eyewitness testimony “confirms that Griffin’s attention seeking behavior energized the mob when violence had already been going on for hours.”

In now widespread footage of the January 6 insurrection, Griffin can be seen climbing a barricade that was turned on its side to gain access to a restricted area of the Capitol.