Former Maricopa County Arizona Attorney and deputy are disbarred for “dishonesty” and “abuse of power”

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.

THE LAW OFFICE OF JOSEPH A. CORSMEIER, P.A.

PROVIDES ETHICS ADVICE AND EXPERT OPINIONS TO LAWYERS AND LAW FIRMS

DEFENDS LAWYERS IN BAR MISSION AND DISCIPLINE CASES

(AND MUCH MORE!)

My law firm focuses on review, analysis, and interpretation of the Rules Regulating The Florida Bar, advice and representation of lawyers in Bar disciplinary matters, defense of applicants for admission to The Florida Bar before the Board of Bar Examiners, defense of all Florida licensed professionals in discipline and admission matters before all state agencies and boards, expert ethics opinions, and practice management for lawyers and law firms.  If there is a lawyer or other Florida professional license involved, I can defend the complaint or help you get your license.

If you have any questions or comments, please call me at (727) 799-1688 or e-mail me at jcorsmeier@jac-law.com.  You can find my law firm on the web at www.jac-law.com. In addition to handling individual cases, matters, problems and issues for my clients, I also am on retainer to provide ethics advice to numerous lawyers and law firms throughout the state of Florida.  I also provide legal assistance and advice to numerous individuals and non-legal entities to help insure compliance with the law and rules related to UPL and other issues.

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Disclaimer:  this e-mail does not contain any legal advice and the comments herein should not be relied upon by anyone who reads it.

Joseph A. Corsmeier, Esquire

Law Office of Joseph A. Corsmeier, P.A.

2454 McMullen Booth Road, Suite 431

Clearwater, Florida 33759

Office (727) 799-1688

Fax     (727) 799-1670

jcorsmeier@jac-law.com

www.jac-law.com

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Filed under Attorney discipline, Attorney Ethics, Florida Lawyer Ethics and Professionalism, joe corsmeier, Lawyer discipline, Lawyer ethics, Lawyer Ethics and Professionalism

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