A judge ordered a county commissioner in New Mexico be removed from office immediately for participating in the Jan. 6, 2021 riot at the U.S. Capitol. The state court ruled Otero County Commissioner Couy Griffin became constitutionally disqualified from serving in any federal or state office effective Jan. 6, 2021.
The evidence against Griffin included his own admissions that he participated and video that shows Griffin illegally breaching security barriers at the Capitol. He was criminally convicted of a misdemeanor for those actions.
The judge found that Jan. 6 was an insurrection and Griffin engaged in it by inciting thousands across the country to join ahead the event. The judge also wrote Griffin further aided the insurrection when he joined and incited the mob that breached the Capitol grounds.
“The court concludes that the January 6, 2021 attack on the United States Capitol and the surrounding planning, mobilization, and incitement constituted an “insurrection” within the meaning of Section Three of the Fourteenth Amendment,” District Court Judge Francis J. Mathew wrote.
Griffin did not engage in violence, but the Judge stated that by trespassing, he delayed Congress’s certification of the election results, and that’s sufficient evidence to warrant disqualification.
Griffin argued he can’t be disqualified from office because of his First Amendment rights and because a recall effort against him failed, but those arguments were rejected. The court also rejected arguments that he was referring to only peaceful political activity when he made comments about an impending “war” and saying of Jan. 6, “We cannot lose.”
“Mr. Griffin’s attempts by his arguments, including his closing argument, 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,” Judge Mathew wrote.
The suit was brought forward by a group of New Mexico residents who were, in part, represented by the organization Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington. It was brought forward as a “quo warranto” action, which, under state law, allows any private person to bring a legal action against someone who is illegally holding office.
Straight Arrow News reached out to Mr. Griffin for comment and will update the story upon his response.