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Attorneys Say Albuquerque Violated Unhoused Clients’ Constitutional Rights

12.15.23 – This week, we’ve been following new developments in a court battle that could continue to spell out how Albuquerque officials treat unhoused people in the city. On Wednesday, the state Supreme Court heard oral arguments after the city asked the justices to throw out a lower court ruling that temporarily forbids police and other municipal workers from removing homeless people from public spaces or taking their property. Several unhoused people who had been living at Coronado Park and elsewhere sued last fall, accusing the city of violating their constitutional rights by destroying their belongings and shuffling them from place to place around the city without notice. (For context: Stories published in the last week by KOB-TV and the Albuquerque Journal show that the city appears to be regularly violating the temporary court order it wanted the justices to halt.) 

The state Supreme Court did not rule on the case this week, with Chief Justice Shannon Bacon signaling during oral arguments that there’s still plenty to sort out at the District Court level before the justices might meaningfully step in. A hearing is scheduled Jan. 12 in front of Joshua Allison, the original judge presiding over the case in Bernalillo County. 

To help you better understand what’s driving this case — and the issues underneath it — NMiF Senior Producer Lou DiVizio sat down with civil rights lawyers Adam Flores and Martha Mulvany, who are representing the unhoused people who sued the city, back in October. We’re airing that interview again this week, as the court proceedings begin to heat up. 

10.13.23 This week on New Mexico in Focus, Senior Producer Lou DiVizio speaks with two attorneys who are suing the City of Albuquerque on behalf of several unhouse clients. The lawsuit accuses the city of violating the Fourth and Eighth Amendments and due process protections for unhoused people by shuffling them from place to place and destroying their property. A state District Court judge issued an injunction in the case last month, barring the city from removing people from public property or taking their belongings. The City of Albuquerque has filed a request for a stay on the injunction with the state Supreme Court — as of Thursday’s recording, the court has not decided if it will take up the case.  

Correspondent: Lou DiVizio 

Adam Flores, civil rights lawyer  
Martha Mulvany, civil rights lawyer 

For More Information: 

Homeless man sues City of Albuquerque over Coronado Park removal – KRQE 

Injunction filed against city of Albuquerque for removal of homeless personal property – KRQE