Court to Consider Sanctions Against State Officials and Other Issues

May 22, 2017

Santa Fe, NM - A New Mexico court will consider, among other issues, whether to sanction state education officials for failing to disclose information to MALDEF (Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund) in a landmark lawsuit that alleges New Mexico is violating the state constitutional rights of economically disadvantaged students.

The three-day hearing, during which the court will consider several key requests by MALDEF, New Mexico Center on Law and Poverty and the state, comes two weeks before the start of a June 12 trial in the case, Martinez v. State of New Mexico.

MALDEF sued the state in April 2014 on behalf of dozens of parents and schoolchildren, including English-language learners, attending public schools in Española, Santa Fe, Albuquerque, Zuni, Magdalena, Las Cruces and Gadsden. The suit alleges that arbitrary and inadequate funding for English-language learners and economically disadvantaged students, lack of quality pre-kindergarten programs, and other problems violate the New Mexico constitution.

Attorneys for the state sought to dismiss MALDEF’s lawsuit, but in October 2014 the state court denied that request, ruling for the very first time in New Mexico’s history that education is a fundamental right under the state constitution. This decision has led to the upcoming trial on the flaws in New Mexico’s education system.

In 2015, soon after the critical decision rejecting dismissal, the Martinez case was joined by and consolidated with a related case, Yazzie v. State of New Mexico, filed by the New Mexico Center on Law and Poverty.

Who: Attorneys with MALDEF and Munger Tolles & Olson LLP

When: May 22, 2017, at 8:30 a.m.

Where: Judge Sarah M. Singleton, Division 2 Steve Herrera Judicial Complex 225 Montezuma Avenue Santa Fe, New Mexico

What: Pre-Trial hearing in Martinez v. State of New Mexico

Founded in 1968, MALDEF is the nation's leading Latino legal civil rights organization. Often described as the "Latino Legal Voice for Civil Rights in America" MALDEF promotes social change through advocacy, communications, community education, and litigation in the areas of education, employment, immigrant rights, and political access. For more information on MALDEF, please visit:

Copyright 2009 MALDEF — Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund