Public Records and the Law

How I Spent My Summer Vacation: Let's Uphold the Law!

IPRA #16-345

Enforce Law-squashed

So, what I did on my summer vacation is to file an Inspection of Public Records Act (IPRA) lawsuit against the New Mexico Public Education Department for $9,474,800. Have I lost my mind? No, not really. The IPRA law states that the penalty for violations is up to $100 per day and per violation. Since the number of violations is 232 and days go back in March of 2016, there are a lot of days. $9,474,800 is what the law dictates – not me. Will I get that amount if I win? Not on your life! But it is a good place to start and the amount certainly made heads explode.

There are a few things that make this lawsuit troubling to the Public Education Department and to the State of New Mexico. First of all, it shows that NMPED has a pattern of not following IPRA law. AND, it is still going on. Albuquerque Police Department just lost an IPRA lawsuit and they were ordered to pay thousands. Government agencies have to follow the law. If not, why should we follow laws?

Second, Assistant Attorney General Dylan Lange stated in a written official opinion, a few things that are troubling and wrong.

1. NMPED should be “consistent” in following the law. Don’t we all have to be consistent in following the law? That is what police are for.

2. NMPED “generally” follows IPRA. So, I can generally follow laws and pick and chose the ones I want to follow?

3. NMPED didn’t mean to mislead IPRA requesters about using the wrong language. How does he know? Did he ask? NMPED used 15 “business” days instead of calendar or days. It makes a big difference because it can give NMPED a lot more days. NMPED used the wrong wording 199 times – not one or two. And interestingly, mid-day and between two requests on March 10, 2016, NMPED changed from days to business. What were they thinking? It didn’t happen by accident. The IPRA law specifies what wording is correct.

4. Dylan Lange verifies 33 documents were missing. That still has to be explained because by law they shouldn’t have been missing.


Finally, New Mexico should be concerned because if I win anyone can file an IPRA request for the 3-day IPRA letters for 2016 and use my court case as a precedent. The result is a chaotic lawsuit filing by many people for big money.

Remember, I recovered money on an IPRA violation already. I am not a lawyer but I can hold my own. Be scared NMPED!

Barbe Awalt


Nov 12: 4th Annual Albuquerque Balloon Museum Arts & Crafts Fair, 9am to 5pm

HENRIETTA CHRISTMAS & PAUL RHETTS ("The Basic Genealogy Checklist")
Dec 9: Los Lunas Public Library, 10am
January 6: Hispanic Genealogy Research Center at National Hispanic Cultural Center, Albuquerque, 10am
January 9: El Castillo Living Center, Santa Fe, NM, 7pm

NASARIO GARCIA ("Grandpa Lolo's Matanza")
Sept 9: Treasure House Books, Old Town Plaza, 1pm

RILEY MITCHELL ("The Essential Paranormal Bucket List")
Oct 21: Santa Fe Public Library, 2pm
Oct 30: Bookworks, Rio Grande Blvd, 6pm

SLIM RANDLES ("The Fly Fisherman's Bucket List")
Nov 9: Bookworks, Rio Grande Blvd, 6pm

JOSEPH SANCHEZ ("Historic Route 66")
Sept 16: Special Collections Library, 423 Central Ave NE, 10am-12noon
Oct 7: Treasure House Books, Old Town Plaza, 1pm
Nov 4: Hispanic Genealogy Research Center at National Hispanic Cultural Center, 10am
Nov 18: Bookworks, Rio Grande Blvd, 3pm

JOHN TAYLOR & RICHARD MELZER ("Tragic Trails & Enchanted Journeys" & "Captain Maximiliano Luna")
Nov 11: Treasure House Books, Old Town Plaza, 1pm
Nov 16: Bookworks, Rio Grande Blvd, 6pm

ROBERT TORREZ ("Voices from the Past")
Nov 4: Treasure House Books, Old Town Plaza, 1pm
Nov 30: Bookworks, Rio Grande Blvd, 6pm

ROSS VAN DUSEN ("What Makes the Lightning?", "How the Crocka Dog Came to Be"; and "Lyle Got Stuck in a Tree")
Oct 28: Treasure House Books, Old Town Plaza, 1pm
Dec 1: Treasure House Books, Old Town Plaza, 6pm