Couy Griffin, ousted Otero County Commissioner is by far the most prolific of local leaders to gain national attention. He raised his profile to the national stage in creating “Cowboys of Trump” and a fire and brimstone style of ideological propaganda that the masses embraced for a period of time. Now they appear to be tiring of the rhetoric and the negative press.
His base however continues to rally around his fight against “Santa Fe” and the “left” as witnessed by his most recent fundraising appeal which has raised $16,541 of a goal of $50,000.
From his pulpit of the Otero County Commission, he led a variety of conversations and debate, from participation in the alleged insurrection, to being an election results denier.
Mr. Griffin gained national notoriety and took that notoriety onto the speaking circuits. His brand has been used by higher profile personalities around the nation who have profited off of his trials and tribulations to the toon of thousands of dollars. Yet he is forced to defend himself in the judicial process.
Couy Griffin on Tuesday notified the high court of his intent to appeal. The ruling against Griffin this month from a Santa Fe-based District Court was the first to remove or bar an elected official from office in connection with the attack on the U.S. Capitol building that disrupted Congress as it was trying to certify President Joe Biden’s 2020 electoral victory.
Griffin was previously convicted in federal court of a misdemeanor for entering the Capitol grounds on Jan. 6, without going inside the building. He was sentenced to 14 days and given credit for time served.
Griffin has invoked free speech guarantees in his defense and says his banishment from public office disenfranchises his political constituents in Otero County.
He was barred from office under provisions of the 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, which holds that anyone who has taken an oath to uphold the Constitution can be barred from office for engaging in insurrection or rebellion. The provisions were put in place shortly after the Civil War.
A flurry of similar lawsuits around the country are seeking to use the provision to punish politicians who took part in Jan. 6.
Griffin says he continues to act as his own legal counsel in the case.
“Honestly I have felt very abandoned by many,” Griffin said.
Conservative activists aligned with Griffin have urged supporters to file disciplinary complaints against the judge who barred Griffin from office.
Other cases of removal have been filed around the US for individuals that supported the events of January 6th, 2022. Mr. Griffin is the only one thus far that had a conviction related directly to activities of that day.
The case may eventually carry forward to the US Supreme Court. Mr. Griffin’s name is nothing new to a case that may eventually come to the Supreme Court as he U.S. Supreme Court was asked to consider, via a writ of certiorari, whether a New Mexico Court of Appeals judge erred when he overturned a decision denying Couy Griffin qualified immunity in a first amendment case.
Griffin, as the Otero County Commissioner for District 2 at the time, in 2019 blocked Jeff Swanson, the Democratic Party of Otero County chairman, from his Facebook page after Swanson posted comments critical of Griffin’s performance as a commissioner.
Swanson sued Griffin and Otero County Records Custodian Sylvia Tillbrook alleging that since Griffin’s Facebook page was a public forum, that Griffin had violated the First Amendment by engaging in viewpoint discrimination. Viewpoint discrimination is when a government or a governmental entity restricts speech on a given subject matter.
The case was filed in the New Mexico 12th Judicial District Court. When the case was removed to federal court, Griffin’s motion to dismiss the case citing qualified immunity was denied.
He appealed the case to the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals where the decision was reversed. The Court of Appeals’ opinion stated the lower court relied on “on out-of-circuit authority” in its decision.
“We reverse. The Supreme Court has repeatedly instructed lower courts not to define rights at a high level of generality when considering a qualified immunity defense,” the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals decision states.
Swanson petitioned the U.S. Supreme Court for a writ of certiorari which is “issued in order that the court issuing the writ may inspect the proceedings and determine whether there have been any irregularities,” according to Barron’s Law Dictionary.
The question Swanson and his attorney A. Blair Dunn are putting to the U.S. Supreme Court is “Did the 10th Circuit err in reversing the decision of the District Court that Commissioner Couy Griffin was not entitled to qualified immunity after the Circuit recognized that Commissioner Griffin had engaged in viewpoint discrimination to exclude Mr. Swanson from his open to the public Facebook page where he openly discussed the public’s business that he was elected to attend to?”
The details of that filing are found at
And in other lawsuits pending against Griffin:
Per coverage from the Alamogordo News in a story by Nicole Maxwell…
“The criminal case against former Otero County commissioner Couy Griffin, 47, of Tularosa, for allegedly failing to file Cowboys for Trump as a political action committee was scheduled to begin September 19 and was pushed back to December.
In a motion filed by Griffin’s attorney, Jonathan C. Miller, Miller noted a family emergency which would preclude him from being available for the preset date. According to court records, Miller’s mother is terminally ill.
Per 12th Judicial Judge Douglas Driggers, the case is to be reset no sooner than December 2022.
The criminal complaint filed by New Mexico Attorney General Hector Balderas on March 18 states that between Jan. 15, 2020 and March 18, 2022, Griffin “willfully and knowingly” violated provisions of the Campaign Reporting Act by disregarding orders to register as a political action committee with the New Mexico Secretary of State’s Office, file finance reports and pay $7,800 in accumulated fines by the March 18, 2022 deadline.
Griffin pleaded not guilty to the charges during an April 1 arraignment. This case will more than likely be go to jury trial in December.”
Thus, the impact of Mr. Griffin’s term of office will continue to be under review in the judiciary at a variety of levels, for quite some time it would appear.