MEDIA STATEMENT REGARDING COLONIAS DEVELOPMENT COUNCIL LAWSUIT

MEDIA STATEMENT REGARDING COLONIAS DEVELOPMENT COUNCIL LAWSUIT

A lawsuit filed against Doña Ana County in federal court last month by the Colonias Development Council will be withdrawn following a July 1 meeting between representatives of both parties.

The lawsuit challenged the constitutionality of a section of the county’s solid waste ordinance. That section stipulated that sheriff’s deputies could inspect private land for evidence of illegal dumping given either the consent of the property owner or a warrant from the court. At issue was whether the section could be interpreted so as to allow inspection without a warrant if no one were on the property to withhold consent.

At the meeting, all the parties agreed that the issue could be amicably resolved out of court by rewriting the section at hand to make it less open to competing interpretations.

Both Doña Ana County Manager Fernando R. Macias and Doña Ana County Sheriff Juan Hernandez said the entire ordinance was in the early stages of being reviewed and modified even before the lawsuit was filed, and that the CDC’s concerns about how the inspection provision is written will be addressed during the rewrite.

In the meantime, Macias and Hernandez have reiterated to all county sheriff’s deputies and codes-enforcement officers that inspections require either warrants or voluntary consent by the property owner at hand.