In the rough-and-tumble world of Facebook, Santa Fe’s Aaron Borrego thinks he absorbed an illegal block from District Attorney Mary Carmack-Altwies.

Borrego, 36, filed a lawsuit against the First Judicial district attorney this week, contending his free speech rights were violated because Carmack-Altwies’ office removed his comments and blocked him from its Facebook page.

In comments on Facebook, Borrego had protested Carmack-Altwies’ decision in May to allow pre-prosecution diversion for protesters who pulled down the Soldiers’ Monument on the Plaza. He was blocked on the District Attorney’s Office’s page by July 1, the lawsuit says.

Borrego, a real estate investor, filed the lawsuit in First Judicial District Court. Carmack-Altwies is the district attorney for Santa Fe, Los Alamos and Rio Arriba counties.

Borrego said Thursday afternoon that, as a native Santa Fe resident, he found it “extremely disturbing to see anybody destroy our local Plaza and culture.” He said pulling down the obelisk merited felony charges.

Among other things, he had posted on the Facebook page a question as to whether the district attorney would provide pre-prosecution diversion “for an alleged shooter,” the lawsuit says.

But Borrego said his lawsuit is about getting blocked by the district attorney’s Facebook account because he was critical of her.

“This is a freedom of speech lawsuit,” he said in an interview. “This is one of our rights that’s not supposed to be infringed upon at any level.”

The District Attorney’s Office said it hadn’t been served with the lawsuit and wouldn’t comment.

Borrego’s attorney, Kenneth Stalter, said similar lawsuits have been successful elsewhere. In one, he said, federal courts didn’t allow President Donald Trump to block critics from his Twitter account because he used it as a public forum to convey his notions. The U.S. Supreme Court vacated that ruling after Trump was voted out of office.

Asked about Trump’s removal from Twitter, Stalter said that was the choice of a private company, not a public official’s decision to remove a critic’s comments from a public forum.

That, the lawsuit says, is “impermissible viewpoint-based restriction of the freedom of speech.”

The lawsuit calls for compensation of unspecified damages and attorney’s fees. It also asks for a preliminary injunction against the block against Borrego and a permanent order to unblock him.

(14) comments

Mark Ortiz

Headline should read, "Thin Skinned DA Wasting Taxpayers Money Spending Time on Facebook."

Prince Michael Jauregui

Bravo. Sir, Today you win the Internet.

Charlotte Rowe

How sorry is it that this man seems to feel that his culture is solely enshrined in a hunk of metal.

Vince Czarnowski

What is really sad is that he cannot express his opinions without them being eradicated.

Prince Michael Jauregui

The true difference between Facebook and Press? Facebook knows how to bury Truth better.

We shall soon see how THAT worked out for ALL of them - Final Notice, SERVED

Dan Frazier

The lawsuit sounds like it has merit and is probably winnable. My question is who is handling Facebook matters for the District Attorney? I find it hard to believe that the District Attorney herself has time to deal with Facebook given everything her office must deal with. Chances are that the duty falls to some intern or entry-level employee.

John Cook

The DA should rethink her position on this. When a public official uses public resources to put up and maintain a website or Facebook page then 1st Amendment rights arise for members of the public who want to use it. An official can set rules like: no profanity, no violations of 3rd party privacy, etc. Blocking a person for making stupid or offensive comments is not allowable. It's a fairly amorphous standard but this Plaintiff is probably within the white lines with his blocked comment.

John Cook

On the other hand, this Plaintiff may have cited his one acceptable comment in his lawsuit. He may have a string of comments that justify his exclusion. If that's the case the DA will expose those in the lawsuit. We shall see.

Richard Reinders

She learned this from Washington using Facebook to block freedom of speech from 12 people. We are slowly losing our rights.

John Cook

12 people who have organized campaigns to spread lies to the foolish. A private company can and should do that.

Richard Reinders

John , I say I believe in God, many would say he doesn’t exist who is right and who is wrong. In my America you are allowed to believe what you want without the government saying your wrong. If your not smart enough to sort through information and make an educated decision, not the problem of Washington to solve. And Facebook enjoys Gov. protection under 230 so they either give that up and can act like a publisher or keep it and be a public forum.

John Cook

Sharing even an unpopular opinion is well within the right of everyone. Deliberately orchestrating a series of lies that cost peoples' lives is not.

If you think removing section 230 and making the social media companies act like publishers helps the liars in any way, you are mistaken.

Richard Reinders

When the Government “Biden” collude with Facebook to act for the government it is a violation of the first amendment. Having a”list” is a dangerous thing too. I am not here to say what the 12 people say is right or wrong, I can figure out what their agenda is with your or the Governments help.

Prince Michael Jauregui

Spot-on again, Mr. Reinders - and May The Lord bless you and yours.

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