MALDEF Defends Voters From Intimidation In New Mexico

Judge William P. Johnson denies initial request for TRO; forces defendants to account for their actions

November 04, 2008

Albuquerque, NM – The Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund (MALDEF), the nation’s leading Latino legal civil rights organization, filed a federal lawsuit on Monday, October 27 to block threats and voter intimidation tactics directed at eligible Latino voters in the days leading up to the November 4, 2008 General Election. Today, U.S. District Court Judge William P. Johnson, who presided over Escobedo v. Rogers, declined MALDEF’s request for a temporary restraining order. However, the defendant, Mr. Romero, testified that in the future, he would refuse to visit the home of the plaintiff, Ms. Escobedo, and along with the other defendant in the case, was forced to account for his intimidating actions under oath in court. Mr. Rogers, the other defendant, also testified that he had no plans to challenge Ms. Escobedo’s vote.

"While Judge Johnson declined to issue the Temporary Restraining Order today, we are honored to represent these Latinas who stood up and made clear they would not put up with any attempt at intimidation or suppression of their right to vote,” stated MALDEF President and General Counsel John Trasviña.

“"The defendants now understand that they can't commit acts of voter intimidation without a swift legal response and having to explain their conduct to a judge,” stated MALDEF Southwestern Regional Counsel Nina Perales.

MALDEF has mounted an extensive national voter protection campaign this election against voter intimidation tactics and unconstitutional verification procedures that remove legally registered U.S. citizens from voter rolls. MALDEF has brought two voter protection lawsuits, one in New Mexico and another in Georgia this election season and will continue to monitor for irregularities throughout the election.

For all media inquiries, please contact Laura Rodriguez.

Copyright 2009 MALDEF — Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund