Hello and welcome to this JACPA Ethics Alert blog which will discuss the April 10, 2012 opinion of an the Arizona Supreme disciplinary panel (which was made up of individuals appointed by the Colorado Supreme Court Office of Attorney Regulation) disbarring a controversial Maricopa County Attorney and one of his deputies and suspending another deputy for numerous allegations of misconduct.
The very long and somewhat dense and flowery opinion of the disciplinary panel found that the lawyers had misused their prosecutorial power for political and other purposes. The panel found by clear and convincing evidence that former Maricopa County Attorney Andrew Thomas and two of his deputies abused their authority as prosecutors by filing criminal charges against two county supervisors, a judge, and others for political reasons and, instead of pursuing the interests of justice, they often used the power unethically to hurt their political enemies, acted with dishonesty, and failed to cooperate with an Arizona State Bar investigation. The County Attorney and one of his deputies were disbarred and another was suspended effective May 10, 2012.
You can read the opinion at your leisure; however, the following is an interesting quote:
“Sadly, their own individual basic mistrust of others, when combined together, became multiplied by dishonesty, an abuse of power and a remarkable willingness to spend the public’s money for their cause célèbre. The aggravating factors devastate the mitigating factors. We find they knew they had no evidence and prosecuted people anyway. There was no “noble cause.” There was only self–interest. The harm done to the public, individuals, and the profession was stunning on every front.”
Bottom line: Although this Arizona Bar prosecution has not received much local media attention, the sheer volume of allegations of corruption, lust for and abuse of political power, and political intrigue would make a good novel or television show…however, it appears that it is all true.
Be careful out there!
As always, if you have any questions about this Ethics Alert or need assistance, analysis, and guidance regarding these or any other ethics, risk management, or other issues, please do not hesitate to contact me.
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