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Judge: Governor Did Not Violate Newspaper's Constitutional Rights

Mark Woodward
District Court Judge Sarah Singleton in March swears in Mark Zusman, one of the people who owns the Santa Fe Reporter.

The Santa Fe Reporter filed a lawsuit against Governor Susana Martinez alleging her staff blacklisted the paper after critical coverage. Four years later, a judge has issued a decisionin that case, saying the paper’s free expression rights were not violated but that the Governor’s Office did break the state’s open records law. 

District Court Judge Sarah Singleton ruledthat the state’s Constitution isn’t violated when the governor decides not to give certain news organization access to her administration.

Julie Ann Grimm is the Reporter's editor and publisher. "We won’t stop trying to make sure that the public’s business is conducted in public," she said. "Whether you’re a newspaper or whether you’re an advocate for a particular issue, the idea that the government doesn’t have to talk to you is problematic."

The judge did rule that the governor’s staff violated the state’s open records law three times.

The governor’s press secretary Emilee Cantrell said in an email that the Santa Fe Reporter’s claims were overreaching and that the court agreed the Governor’s Office has an adequate process for filling public records requests.

Both sides have until the end of the month to decide whether to appeal.

Marisa Demarco began a career in radio at KUNM News in late 2013 and covered public health for much of her time at the station. During the pandemic, she is also the executive producer for Your NM Government and No More Normal, shows focused on the varied impacts of COVID-19 and community response, as well as racial and social justice. She joined Source New Mexico as editor-in-chief in 2021.
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