Arizona Eagletarian

Arizona Eagletarian

Friday, October 28, 2011

Redistricting -- Horne is OFF the case -- AZLEG shows its bias

Today, Maricopa County Superior Court Judge Dean Fink ruled that Arizona Attorney General Tom Horne has a conflict of interest and is therefore prohibited from prosecuting AIRC Commissioners Mathis, McNulty and Herrera.
Ethical Rule 1.9(a), as set forth in Supreme Court Rule 42, states, “A lawyer who has formerly represented a client in a matter shall not thereafter represent another person in the same or a substantially related matter in which that person’s interests are materially adverse to the interests of the former client unless the former client gives informed consent, confirmed in writing.”
To which, Horne probably heard a loud and collective, "DUH!" from observers throughout Arizona.

In court filings, Horne argued

AGO argues that its statutory power to investigate and enforce violations of the Open Meeting Law overrides the Ethical Rules. 
Judge Fink ruled, however
Under the Arizona Constitution, “the practice of law is a matter exclusively within the authority of the Judiciary. 

The Ethical Rules have been promulgated by the Supreme Court pursuant to this authority.

Although the legislature may by statute regulate the practice of law, its regulation cannot be inconsistent with the mandates of the Supreme Court. Thus, the general grant of investigatory authority to the AGO must in this case yield to the ethical bar imposed by ER 1.9.
More detail and case law cited as support for the ruling are found in the minute entry.

Fink did say Horne could arrange for the matter to be handled by a county attorney. Horne has already announced that Maricopa County Attorney Bill Montgomery would take the case.

Based on the explanation given in the first four pages of his minute entry, Fink ordered the following:
IT IS HEREBY ORDERED granting the Motion for Disqualification of Counsel, filed
October 3, 2011.
The Court acknowledges that the state may require some time to locate alternate counsel
willing to take this case, and that alternate counsel may need some time to get up to speed on this matter. Accordingly,
IT IS ORDERED alternate counsel for the State shall file a Notice of Appearance no later
than November 25, 2011.
IT IS FURTHER ORDERED suspending the briefing schedule currently in place in this
case until further notice.
IT IS FURTHER ORDERED vacating the oral argument set for November 7, 2011 at
IT IS FURTHER ORDERED setting a status conference to discuss appropriate
alterations to the briefing schedule and re-scheduling of the oral argument on November 30,
2011 at 11:00 a.m. Upon the filing of a Notice of Appearance by alternate counsel, any party
may request an accelerated status conference.

In another stroke of genius, Senate President Russell Pearce and House Speaker Andy Tobin have laid bare the naked partisanship of their war on Independent Redistricting.

How blatantly obvious can you get?

Ever the "statesmen," Pearce and Tobin tell REPUBLICAN IRC Commissioners Stertz and Freeman:
We write to express our shared, strong conviction that you are fulfilling your roles as Commissioners of the Independent Redistricting Commission with excellence and integrity.
As you know, the Governor has provided each Commissioner with written notice of allegations of substantial neglect of duty and gross misconduct in office and requested a written response from each Commissioner. The integrity of the process by which the People select their elected representatives is clearly at stake.
We are confident that both of you are faithfully following the law. We know that your responses to the Governor's letter will reflect that you have not participated in any of the disturbing and lawless conduct that has made this Commission's tenure so difficult. 
We stand with you. Your service on the IRC comes at great personal sacrifice; your own and on the part of your families. Thank you for diligently performing this important public service and keeping faith with the People of Arizona.
Give me a break. Could it be any more obvious? Telling the two Republicans what to say in their response letters to the governor then making it plain they have no intention of letting a possible removal of those two even come up for a vote in the state senate.

It is TIME to Rise UP!

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