Elected Official Removed From Office For Participating In Capitol Riot

By Bill Galluccio

September 6, 2022

Judge holding gavel in courtroom
Photo: Getty Images

Couy Griffin, one of three commissioners in Otero County, New Mexico, has been removed from his elected position for participating in the riot at the U.S. Capitol on January 6, 2021.

Griffin was convicted of a misdemeanor for entering the Capitol grounds and sentenced to 14 days in jail. He was given credit for time served.

After his conviction, a group of residents in New Mexico filed a lawsuit with the help of Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington to have Griffin removed from office.

New Mexico Judge Francis Mathew ruled that the riot was considered an act of insurrection against the United States, and Griffin was in violation of the 14th Amendment of the Constitution. In addition to being removed from his role as county commissioner, Griffin is also barred from holding any state or federal office in the future.

It is the first time that a judge has determined that the Capitol riot was an act of insurrection and the first time since 1869 that a court removed a public official from office under Section 3 of the 14th Amendment.

"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 in his ruling.

Griffin said he was surprised by the ruling. However, he did not say if he plans to file an appeal.

"I'm shocked. Just shocked," Griffin said. "I really did not feel like the state was going to move on me in such a way. I don't know where I go from here."

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