Favela convicted; is another voter fraud case coming?

Posted 8/16/2009 11:42:00 PM

Is there another voter fraud case brewing in Doña Ana County? After a jury found former Sunland Park Municipal Judge Horacio Favela guilty on Friday of fraudulently voting and registering as a candidate for judge, ABC-7 in El Paso quoted District Attorney Susana Martinez as saying her office will “vigorously” investigate allegations that Favela’s wife also committed voter fraud.

After two hours of deliberating, a jury convicted Favela of falsely declaring himself a resident of Sunland Park in 2008 so he could run for judge, falsifying a document that declared him a qualified voter, and voting twice in the 2004 general election -- once in El Paso, Texas and once in Doña Ana County.

Favela faces a maximum of 4.5 years in prison and a $15,000 fine, according to the Las Cruces Sun-News. He will be sentenced at a later date.

But that’s apparently not the end of it. KVIA reported nothing more about Favela’s wife than the statement from Martinez, a Republican who is running for governor next year, so details aren’t known.

Favela, according to KVIA, contended during his trial that records showing he voted in El Paso in 2004 were false. His attorney, Joe Arrieta of Las Cruces, said the conviction will only deter people from voting.

“That’s what I’m disappointed about, is the effect this case is going to have on people who want to exercise their right to vote and directly affecting the southern part of the state which is predominantly Democrat,” KVIA quoted Arrieta as saying.

Prosecutor Nelson Goodin, obviously, was pleased with the verdict.

“One person. One vote. The old adage of vote early, vote often doesn’t work. One vote for each person, so that everybody’s vote counts,” KVIA quoted him as saying.

The situation came to light after Favela was elected a municipal judge in Sunland Park in early 2008. He was suspended by the state’s Supreme Court without pay pending the outcome of the criminal case, but he later agreed to resign and never seek a judgeship in New Mexico again.

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