A Santa Fe judge ruled in favor of Attorney General Gary King’s request Friday to prevent Valley Meat Company from opening, disregarding a request by the plant to have him removed from the case.
Valley Meat’s attorney filed an emergency motion earlier that day for Judge Matthew Wilson to remove himself from the case after finding that the Democratic candidate had several Facebook postings from supporters who applauded his decisions to temporarily stop Valley Meat’s operations.
“It’s absolutely improper for him to have done this from start to finish,” Valley Meat’s attorney A. Blair Dunn said.
One comment on the social networking site commended him for his work with the attorney general’s office, Dunn said. Wilson also served as a special assistant attorney general from 2002 to 2010 for the state Human Services Department.
“He never disclosed that,” Dunn said. “At a minimum, a judge should disclose that kind of conflict. But he really never should have taken the case at all.”
Wilson filed an order at 1:15 p.m. Friday to consider removing himself and withdraw previous orders against the plant, but issued a ruling on King’s motion to issue a preliminary injunction against Valley Meat at 5 p.m.
Dunn plans to petition the state Supreme Court on Tuesday to file a writ of superintending control.
“The judge acted capriciously and this is out of control,” Dunn said. “It’s their job to get him off the case.”
King applauded the judge’s decision.
“The judge’s decision allows our lawsuit to continue while preventing the immediate killing of horses for human consumption,” King said in a statement. “I still strongly believe that Valley Meat’s proposal for commercial horse slaughter posed a serious danger to consumers and to our environment.”
In his ruling, Wilson found that the state and its residents would suffer irreparable injury if Valley Meat opened. Wilson ruled the opening threatened injury to water quality, and might violate the food act, the Unfair Practices Act and create a nuisance.
Also, President Barack Obama Friday signed a budget measure that will withhold funds for federal inspections of horse slaughter plants.