Tuesday, March 2, 2021

BREAKING, READ: Arizona Supreme Court Upholds Workers Comp For Sheriff's Deputy Survived Shootout, Suffered PTSD

The Arizona Supreme Court handed down a unanimous decision today affirming that a Gila County Sheriff's Deputy forced to retire because of PTSD after facing down a man with a shotgun and killing the man.

The ruling reversed the finding of the Adminstrative Law Judge and the ICA, which the justices said focused too much on the deputy's training and not the "exceedingly rare" shootout itself.

The Court's Opinion, authored by Justice Andrew Gould, emphasized the difference:

It is axiomatic that law enforcement officers are trained to respond to welfare checks, and that during such calls there is a possibility they might encounter a violent situation. But here, the specific work-related event that caused France’s injury was the attack on France and his subsequent shooting and killing of the gunman. The record in this case shows that this type of encounter by a law enforcement officer is exceedingly rare.

The Arizona Republic's Joshua Bowling first reported on the case and the practice of denying compensation, and has much more on the situation here

 

"AZ Law" includes articles, commentaries and updates about opinions from the Arizona Supreme Court, U.S. Supreme Court, as well as trial and appellate courts, etc. AZ Law is founded by Phoenix attorney Paul Weich, and joins Arizona's Politics on the internet. 

AZ Law airs on non-profit Sun Sounds of Arizona, a statewide reading service that provides audio access to printed material for people who cannot hold or read print material due to a disability. If you know someone who could benefit from this 24/7 service, please let them know about member-supported Sun Sounds. And, YOU can donate or listen here. 

Previous episodes of AZ Law can be streamed or downloaded here, or wherever you get your podcasts.


Monday, March 1, 2021

LIVE: U.S. Supreme Court Hears Arguments On Arizona's "Ballot Harvesting" Ban, As Nation Watches Impact On Voting Rights

 Arizona's law banning so-called "ballot harvesting" is back in front of the U.S. Supreme Court for oral arguments on Tuesday, and this time the entire nation is watching to see what impact the decision will have on voting rights around the country.

Chandler attorney Tom Ryan will be joining Arizona's Law on Twitter at 8am to discuss the oral arguments as they are taking place (aka live tweeting), and we will be posting the audio and transcripts later once they become available. (If you are so inclined, you can listen along with us. Thanks, C-Span)

Although a lot of the national coverage has been indicating that there are TWO cases being argued tomorrow, in fact there is only one. Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich and the Arizona Republican Party *separately* appealed the same 9th Circuit decision finding Arizona's "ballot harvesting" law to be unconstitutional. The AG's Office told Arizona's Law at the time that it had not been in communication with the AZGOP, which would explain the multiple appeals. The Supreme Court eventually consolidated the appeals and will hear from both the AG's and the AZGOP's counsel.

The "ballot harvesting" ban passed by Arizona's Legislature and signed into law by Governor Doug Ducey in 2016. It prohibits anyone from turning in early ballots on behalf of anyone who is not a family member (among other exceptions).

Tomorrow's oral argument may also touch briefly on Arizona's law preventing counties from counting "out of precinct" ballots. Several Arizona counties still use precinct-based polling locations, and state law prevents them from counting ballots cast by someone who does not presently live in that precinct. (Maricopa County and several other counties have "vote centers", which eliminates that problem.)

These two different issues were the subjects of cases in two separate Democratic legal challenges in 2016. In the week before the November election, the 9th Circuit issued decisions in both - causing not a little concern, confusion and chaos. For example, there were approximately 24 hours where ballot harvesting could not be prosecuted by the state; the U.S. Supreme Court promptly stopped the 9th Circuit's decision, based on the proximity to the election. (That's the Purcell Principle, named from a previous Arizona election law case that made it to the Supreme Court.)

The present case stems from those challenges developing after the 2016 election, and finally getting to this point.

Arizona's Law and Arizona's Politics have been covering the challenges to this law for more than four years now, posting opinions, briefs and other news coverage. To catch you up, here are summaries from some of those articles.

This article is critical: it is when the 9th Circuit last year determined that the ballot harvesting ban was passed by the Legislature with the intent to discriminate.

The November 5, 2016 bulletin where the U.S. Supreme Court put the ban back into place for the following week's election.

Just the day before, the 9th Circuit had stayed enforcement of the ban.


***

"AZ Law" includes articles, commentaries and updates about opinions from the Arizona Supreme Court, U.S. Supreme Court, as well as trial and appellate courts, etc. AZ Law is founded by Phoenix attorney Paul Weich, and joins Arizona's Politics on the internet. 

AZ Law airs on non-profit Sun Sounds of Arizona, a statewide reading service that provides audio access to printed material for people who cannot hold or read print material due to a disability. If you know someone who could benefit from this 24/7 service, please let them know about member-supported Sun Sounds. And, YOU can donate or listen here. 

Previous episodes of AZ Law can be streamed or downloaded here, or wherever you get your podcasts.


BREAKING: U.S. Supreme Court Strikes Out AZGOP - Won't Hear 3rd (& Final?) Election Fraud Lawsuit; Arizona Kraken Lives In 9th Circuit

For the 2nd consecutive week, the U.S. Supreme Court brusquely refused to hear an election fraud case from the Arizona GOP. Today's declination was of the so-called "Arizona Kraken" case, and marks the 3rd SCOTUS strikeout for the AZGOP and Chairwoman Kelli Ward.

However, like many mythical sea creatures, this Kraken is apparently still - just barely - alive. This attempt to sue Republican Governor Doug Ducey in federal court to "de-certify" the election results in favor of now-President Joe Biden was based on a series of conspiracy theories alleging widespread fraud. It sunk miserably in District Court, when Judge Diane Humetewa dismissed it after two hearings, calling it "gossip and innuendo".

The team of Trump-associated attorneys led by Sidney Powell promptly appealed the case to the 9th Circuit and asked the U.S. Supreme Court to issue an order ("mandamus") to Ducey*. Even though the Supreme Court refused to hear the appeal, the 9th Circuit - without such discretion - is still waiting to receive briefings from the parties. 

In January, the Supreme Court declined to hear the AZGOP's effort (with Rep. Louie Gohmert) to sue then-Vice President Mike Pence to stop the January 6 certification. Last week, the Justices declined to accept Kelli Ward's appeal of the state court election contest.


*Yes, this was one of several oddities and problems - procedurally as well as substantively - of the Kraken case - Ducey was one of several Arizona officials who certified the election; the Trump electors did not name the others.

"AZ Law" includes articles, commentaries and updates about opinions from the Arizona Supreme Court, U.S. Supreme Court, as well as trial and appellate courts, etc. AZ Law is founded by Phoenix attorney Paul Weich, and joins Arizona's Politics on the internet. 

AZ Law airs on non-profit Sun Sounds of Arizona, a statewide reading service that provides audio access to printed material for people who cannot hold or read print material due to a disability. If you know someone who could benefit from this 24/7 service, please let them know about member-supported Sun Sounds. And, YOU can donate or listen here. 

Previous episodes of AZ Law can be streamed or downloaded here, or wherever you get your podcasts.

Friday, February 26, 2021

BREAKING: Judge Rules Subpoenas From State Senate Republicans Is "Enforceable", But Enforcement For November Election Materials Is Up To Them

Judge Thomason: "The courts should generally be hesitant to enter the fray of political disputes between two other branches of government. The controversy between the Senators and the County is a highly charged political dispute.3 Serious accusations have been made and emotions are raw."

Reaction from Maricopa County Board of Supervisors Chair Jack Sellers (R-Dist.1): "Judge Thomason's ruling brings much-needed clarity to whether Senate subpoenas apply to ballots that, per state law, must be kept private following an election.   We respect his ruling and will review it with our attorneys as we determine how best to move forward."


Analysis of ruling: https://twitter.com/lorenzo1159


Election Audit - Judge Ruling On Subpoenas by arizonaspolitics on Scribd


"AZ Law" includes articles, commentaries and updates about opinions from the Arizona Supreme Court, U.S. Supreme Court, as well as trial and appellate courts, etc. AZ Law is founded by Phoenix attorney Paul Weich, and joins Arizona's Politics on the internet. 

AZ Law airs on non-profit Sun Sounds of Arizona, a statewide reading service that provides audio access to printed material for people who cannot hold or read print material due to a disability. If you know someone who could benefit from this 24/7 service, please let them know about member-supported Sun Sounds. And, YOU can donate or listen here. 

Previous episodes of AZ Law can be streamed or downloaded here, or wherever you get your podcast.

Tuesday, February 23, 2021

BREAKING: Jacob "Qanon Shaman" Chansley Should Be Released - Motion Claims Trump Entrapped Him, Others

 Jacob Chansley, the most universally-recognizable Trump supporter to enter the U.S. Capitol during the January 6 insurrection, is asking the judge to release him from jail pending his trial. Chansley's Motion (below) claims that then-President Donald Trump "entrapped" him into entering the Capitol and that the flagpole he carried that day should not be considered a "dangerous weapon".

Chansley's attorney also explains why the Phoenix man is not a risk to run, and states (without proof, fortunately) that the 33-year old "has experienced significant digestive tract issues for which medical consultation has been sought." You will recall that judges have ordered that the jails try to comply with his religious and health needs for organic foods; Chansley's attorney points out his client is "very grateful for the efforts" and that he does not wish to "cast aspersions" on those efforts.

But, the focus of the 27-page motion is largely on the potential "estoppel by entrapment" defense created by Trump's persistent propaganda both before and on January 6. As attorney Albert Watkins put it, "President Trump heightened his public propaganda such as to alarm, alert and amass his supporters...." Once Chansley and others were there on January 6, he "listened to the words of the President, acted in reliance on the truth of the words of the President, and did that which the President asked them (him and others) to do."

Chansley has been in custody since arriving back in Phoenix shortly after January 6. (In fact, the Motion indicates that he received a speeding ticket somewhere in Oklahoma on his cross-country return.) He is presently in jail in Virginia.

(BONUS: The Motion attaches some of Chansley's artwork as an Exhibit. The argument is that he should be released to resume creating.)

 


"AZ Law" includes articles, commentaries and updates about opinions from the Arizona Supreme Court, U.S. Supreme Court, as well as trial and appellate courts, etc. AZ Law is founded by Phoenix attorney Paul Weich, and joins Arizona's Politics on the internet. 

AZ Law airs on non-profit Sun Sounds of Arizona, a statewide reading service that provides audio access to printed material for people who cannot hold or read print material due to a disability. If you know someone who could benefit from this 24/7 service, please let them know about member-supported Sun Sounds. And, YOU can donate or listen here. 

Previous episodes of AZ Law can be streamed or downloaded here, or wherever you get your podcast.


Monday, February 22, 2021

UPDATE: U.S. Supreme Court Won't Take AZGOP's Election Contest Appeal

 The U.S. Supreme Court announced this morning that it would not consider the Arizona Republican Party's election contest appeal. This denial leaves only one AZGOP appeal of last November's election still pending.

Today's denial of Ward v. Jackson leaves the Arizona Supreme Court's December denial of AZGOP Chair Kelli Ward's election contest as the final word. That was the case where Republicans challenged duplicated ballots in Maricopa County, as well as signature verification. However, the appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court was based upon the constitutionality of the federal "Safe Harbor" date.

The U.S. Supreme Court also declined today to accept a Pennsylvania GOP appeal. However, that denial was opposed by three of the nine justices, as Justices Thomas, Alito and Gorsuch published dissenting opinions. No such dissent was published for the Arizona case.

Still pending is the appeal of the so-called Son of Arizona Kraken case, in which Arizona's unsuccessful Republican electors challenged the voting machines and other unfounded theories that the election was stolen from former President Donald Trump. (As in today's denial, the U.S. Supreme Court has not asked the government defendants to respond to the GOP's appeal - a sign that the justices are not seriously considering accepting the case. It will be conferenced this coming Friday.)

"AZ Law" includes articles, commentaries and updates about opinions from the Arizona Supreme Court, U.S. Supreme Court, as well as trial and appellate courts, etc. AZ Law is founded by Phoenix attorney Paul Weich, and joins Arizona's Politics on the internet. 

AZ Law airs on non-profit Sun Sounds of Arizona, a statewide reading service that provides audio access to printed material for people who cannot hold or read print material due to a disability. If you know someone who could benefit from this 24/7 service, please let them know about member-supported Sun Sounds. And, YOU can donate or listen here. 

Previous episodes of AZ Law can be streamed or downloaded here, or wherever you get your podcast.

Monday, February 8, 2021

BREAKING: Peoria Violated Gift Clause In $2.5M In Subsidies To Private University, Supreme Court Rules

Peoria's agreements to reimburse the private Huntington University more than $2.5M for locating an Arizona campus in the city violated Arizona's Gift Clause, the Arizona Supreme Court unanimously ruled today.

The opinion reverses decisions in both the trial court and the appeals court in favor of the incentives deal. The case was brought by taxpayers represented by the conservative Goldwater Institute in 2016. 

Today's opinion was authored by Vice Chief Justice Ann Timmer. She found that the plaintiffs had sufficiently proven that Peoria would not receive sufficient value from Huntington's campus to satisfy the Gift Clause.

Neither HU nor Arrowhead signed an enforceable promise to provide the City with any particular economic impact. Likewise, neither promised to provide the City with any goods or services, such as an ownership interest in the campus building or reduced tuition for Peoria residents. They simply promised to engage in their respective private businesses (educating and leasing).
In effect, HU and Arrowhead’s promises are no different than a hamburger chain promising to operate in Peoria in exchange for monetary incentives paid by the City in hope of stimulating the local economy. A private business will usually, if not always, generate some economic impact and, consequently, permitting such impacts to justify public funding of private ventures would eviscerate the Gift Clause.

The Goldwater Institute's Christina Sandefur called the decision a "landmark victory".

The agreements were reached in 2015 and were to expire next year. It is not clear whether the monies had been reimbursed to Huntington University while the legal action was pending. Arizona's Law has contacted Peoria and will update as warranted. 

Last year, Superior Court Judge Christopher Coury also found that a deal between the City of Phoenix and a developer for a Roosevelt Row high rise violated the Gift Clause. That case involved a GPLET deal and was also brought by the Goldwater Institute. The City did not appeal the decision.

"AZ Law" includes articles, commentaries and updates about opinions from the Arizona Supreme Court, U.S. Supreme Court, as well as trial and appellate courts, etc. AZ Law is founded by Phoenix attorney Paul Weich, and joins Arizona's Politics on the internet. 

AZ Law airs on non-profit Sun Sounds of Arizona, a statewide reading service that provides audio access to printed material for people who cannot hold or read print material due to a disability. If you know someone who could benefit from this 24/7 service, please let them know about member-supported Sun Sounds. And, YOU can donate or listen here. 

Previous episodes of AZ Law can be streamed or downloaded here, or wherever you get your podcast.



Thursday, January 28, 2021

UPDATE: Arizona's "QAnon Shaman" Arraigned Today On Jan. 6 Insurrection Charges, Will Remain In Custody Pending March 5 Status Conference

Update, 1/29/21, 2:00pm: Chansley was arraigned today, and will remain behind bars. Next status conference scheduled for March 5. (Speedy Trial clock tolled 'til then.)

Original Article, 1/28/21, 2:30pm: "Arizona's "QAnon Shaman" Faces Arraignment Tomorrow On Jan. 6 Insurrection Charges; READ Detention Order"

 Arizona's self-described "QAnon Shaman" will be arraigned in federal court tomorrow on the six charges for his activities at the January 6 violent takeover of the U.S. Capitol.

Saul Loeb (AFP)

Jacob Chansley (aka Jake Angeli) will appear at 2:30 (EST) for his arraignment, per a minute entry issued this afternoon. Chansley has been in custody since his arrest on January 9.

As reported in the Arizona Republic, Chansley - in his distinctive outfit and carrying a flag-strewn spear - left a threatening note for then Vice President Mike Pence. According to the detention order (below), he had also advocated on Twitter that "traitors within the United States government" should be identified and hanged.

Prosecutors had also convinced the U.S. Magistrate in Arizona to keep him in custody because he "had the motivations and capabilities to participate in similar unlawful acts." (aka lack of remorse).

"AZ Law" includes articles, commentaries and updates about opinions from the Arizona Supreme Court, U.S. Supreme Court, as well as trial and appellate courts, etc. AZ Law is founded by Phoenix attorney Paul Weich, and joins Arizona's Politics on the internet. 

AZ Law airs on non-profit Sun Sounds of Arizona, a statewide reading service that provides audio access to printed material for people who cannot hold or read print material due to a disability. If you know someone who could benefit from this 24/7 service, please let them know about member-supported Sun Sounds. And, YOU can donate or listen here. 

Previous episodes of AZ Law can be streamed or downloaded here, or wherever you get your podcast.


Wednesday, January 20, 2021

NOT SO FAST: Maricopa County Does NOT Have Agreement To Turn Over Election Materials To Senate President Fann, GOP

"There is no agreement finalized. Period." Maricopa County Supervisor Steve Gallardo told Arizona's Law this afternoon that the statement earlier today from State Senate President Karen Fann declaring victory in the subpoena battle over Maricopa County elections info/equipment/materials/etc is premature.

Oral argument in the court case filed last month by the County Board of Supervisors pushing to declare the original subpoenas unlawful was scheduled for this morning, but was vacated at the last minute by Fann's attorneys. The Supervisors were also set to meet in Executive Session this morning, but that was also vacated. Gallardo indicates that the latter might be rescheduled for Friday.

He tells Arizona's Law that "we agreed to come together and talk about how an audit might be done", but that a straight turnover of all of the requested items to the Legislature was NOT a viable option. He suggested that an independent third party or one appointed by the Court would be more likely to receive approval from a majority of the five-member Board of Supervisors.

Indeed, at 3:50pm this afternoon, the County released a statement saying that negotiations continue. Here is the complete statement, credited to new Board Chair Jack Sellers:

The Board of Supervisors through its legal team continues to negotiate in good faith with the representatives of the Arizona State Senate President.  This Board is being updated as negotiations continue on the terms of a potential agreement.  The parties are working toward an agreement which delivers some of the requested documents and information while protecting voter privacy and the integrity of election equipment.  We look forward to reaching consensus on these matters.

This Board has always been consistent in supporting a forensic audit and will continue to take steps toward that end. Members are actively working with stakeholders, including the Recorder, and hope to have an audit completed soon.

Earlier today, Fann released a statement (below) saying that "not only has the Board agreed to turn over all the relevant information we sought in our subpoenas so that we may perform an audit, but they also acknowledge that the Legislature is a sovereign power of the state and that they county is a political subdivision, and as such, the Legislature has the constitutional and statutory authority to issue subpoenas."

At about the same time, Sellers did release a letter agreeing to the latter part of that statement, but not about a turnover of the ballots, machinery, etc.


This is a developing story. Please check back for more information.

"AZ Law" includes articles, commentaries and updates about opinions from the Arizona Supreme Court, U.S. Supreme Court, as well as trial and appellate courts, etc. AZ Law is founded by Phoenix attorney Paul Weich, and joins Arizona's Politics on the internet. 

AZ Law airs on non-profit Sun Sounds of Arizona, a statewide reading service that provides audio access to printed material for people who cannot hold or read print material due to a disability. If you know someone who could benefit from this 24/7 service, please let them know about member-supported Sun Sounds. And, YOU can donate or listen here. 

Previous episodes of AZ Law can be streamed or downloaded here, or wherever you get your podcast.

Thursday, January 14, 2021

BREAKING: Rep. Biggs' Defamation Threat Against Former Opponent BOMBED By Greene's Counsel (READ Pithy Lawyer Letter)

 When faced with an unthreatening letter from an attorney claiming you defamed a Congressman at the heart of last Wednesday's mob violence at the U.S. Capitol, a pithy retort referencing the downfall of the Third Reich may be in order.


Counsel for Arizona Rep. Andy Biggs (R-CD "the fighting Fifth") sent Democrat Joan Greene a letter referencing several of her tweets and posts after the Electoral College votes were done being counted by Congress.

When Greene noted the intimidation attempt on Twitter Monday, Chandler attorney Tom Ryan jumped at the opportunity to respond to a colleague he knows well (Kory Langhofer). He did not mince words.

"I could set forth a point-by-point refutation of your letter, but I see it as not helpful. Instead, I provide you with one of my favorite stories of WWII. On December 22, 1944, U.S. Brig. Gen. Anthony C. McCauliffe and the troops of the 101st Airborne Div. were near Bastogne, France*. A German Panzer division believed it had surrounded the Americans. The Germans sent a letter to Gen. McCauliffe demanding the Americans surrender. Gen. McCauliffe sent back a simple response:

To the German Commander,
N U T S !
The American Commander

I cannot improve upon Gen. McCauliffe's response and provide the same to you." 

No, there will not be a defamation suit.

Tom Ryan Ltr to Kory Langhofer by arizonaspolitics on Scribd

*Ryan tells Arizona's Politics he has one regret about the letter. "Bastogne is in Belgium, not France."

Disclosure: I have provided legal representation to Greene.

"AZ Law" includes articles, commentaries and updates about opinions from the Arizona Supreme Court, U.S. Supreme Court, as well as trial and appellate courts, etc. AZ Law is founded by Phoenix attorney Paul Weich, and joins Arizona's Politics on the internet. 

AZ Law airs on non-profit Sun Sounds of Arizona, a statewide reading service that provides audio access to printed material for people who cannot hold or read print material due to a disability. If you know someone who could benefit from this 24/7 service, please let them know about member-supported Sun Sounds. And, YOU can donate or listen here. 

Previous episodes of AZ Law can be streamed or downloaded here, or wherever you get your podcast.

BREAKING, READ: Arizona Supreme Court Upholds Workers Comp For Sheriff's Deputy Survived Shootout, Suffered PTSD

The Arizona Supreme Court handed down a unanimous decision today affirming that a Gila County Sheriff's Deputy forced to retire because ...