PYW LLP, in partnership with the Institute for Constitutional Advocacy and Protection at Georgetown University Law Center, filed a petition in the Superior Court of San Mateo County on behalf of the State of New Mexico to enforce a subpoena issued to Facebook by Raul Torrez, the District Attorney for Albuquerque, N.M. The petition was filed on November 15, 2021 and seeks to compel Facebook to turn over “non-content” metadata belonging to an armed self-described militia group called the New Mexico Civil Guard. PYW is representing New Mexico on a pro bono basis.
The underlying subpoena was issued in a lawsuit pending in New Mexico state court to limit the online activities of the New Mexico Civil Guard, initiated after the group was involved in armed confrontations in June 2020 with protesters rallying to remove a statue of Spanish conquistador Juan de Oñate in Albuquerque, which left one protester seriously injured. Facebook subsequently deactivated the group’s account for violating Facebook’s Community Standards relating to hate speech and dangerous organizations. Facebook contends that it no longer has access to those records following its deletion of the group’s Facebook page, but refuses to state whether or not it is able to retrieve the information. Facebook also claims that the subpoena is barred by the Stored Communications Act, 18 U.S.C. § 2703 et seq.
“We are proud to lend our support to this important case, and help ensure that New Mexico is able to obtain the information to which it is entitled under the law, and which is crucial to protect its citizens from this dangerous militia group,“ said PYW partner Philip J. Wang.
A copy of the petition is available here: [https://plylaw.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/12/2021_1115-NMCG-FB-Petition-to-Enforce-Subpoena.pdf]
The filing has received international press attention: