Friday, November 15, 2019

LISTEN: "AZ Law's" Nov. 16 Installment - Border Aid Volunteer Trial, New Judges, a Commentary On Arizona's Suit Vs. Obamacare, and More

This broadcast episode of "AZ Law" features articles and commentaries regarding the re-trial of a border aid volunteer, the suspended Maricopa County Assessor's court appearance in Utah, President Trump's new nomination for an Arizona judgeship, a commentary on the Attorney General's Obamacare lawsuit, and much more.

"AZ Law" includes articles and updates about opinions from the Arizona Supreme Court, U.S. Supreme Court, as well as trial and appellate courts etc.

AZ Law also 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.

Thanks for listening, and your input is appreciated - Paul.Weich.AZlaw@gmail.com.

Wednesday, November 6, 2019

BREAKING: AZ Supreme Court Clears The Steps/Etc...Out Of Last Month's Order Prohibiting Pictures (READ new and old Orders)

(UPDATED, 5:30pm: Supreme Court Communications Director Aaron Nash responded to our questions - after 5pm, btw - and they are incorporated into the article below.)

The Arizona Supreme Court this afternoon released a NEW Order easing restrictions on photography, videography and live-streaming on the courthouse steps (and elsewhere near the court), after an October uproar about an order banning such activity.

The new Administrative Order will still prohibit activity in those more public areas if it "threatens any person, disrupts court operations, or compromises court security at entrances and exits and on patios, steps, and adjacent parking areas."

AZ Law followed up with the Court, and Dave Byers, the Director of the Administrative Office of the Courts, explained: “The wording of the first version of the administrative order drafted by court staff was not clear enough and caused legitimate confusion. We listened to the concerns raised and redrafted the order, after seeking additional input, hopefully clarifying the issues."

Attorneys expressed concerns that the original order restricted the freedom of the press, and Phoenix media attorney Dan Barr suggested the restriction would be unconstitutional.

Barr told AZ Law this afternoon that he is grateful: "I greatly appreciate that the Supreme Court listened to our concerns and took out the language concerning photography outside the courthouse. The new order rightly focuses on disruptive conduct outside the courthouse as opposed to photography. I thank the Supreme Court for quickly fixing what was an unintended consequence of its original order."

Aaron Nash, the Court's Communications Director, tells AZ Law that he had spoken with members of the public who were planning to come to protest last month's Order, and that "everyone I spoke with on the phone was respectful in discussing their concerns and were relieved to hear they could come and record – that the order was not a ban on that activity."

AZ Law has not yet received comment from the Court.





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"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.

"AZ Law" can also be downloaded and subscribed to in all major podcast stores - iTunes, Google Play, Spotify, Podbean, etc.

BREAKING: President Trump Nominates Tucson Judge John Hinderaker For U.S. District Court Bench

President Donald Trump today nominated Pima County Superior Court Judge John Hinderaker for a judgeship with the U.S. District Court. Hinderaker left private practice last year when Arizona Governor Doug Ducey appointed him to the bench.

If confirmed to the lifetime position, Hinderaker will fill the vacancy created earlier this year when Judge Raner Collins moved to Senior status. If both Hinderaker and Judge Scott Rash are confirmed by the Senate, Arizona will have no vacancies on the District Court Bench for the first time in many years.

Democratic Senator Kyrsten Sinema was the first to respond to our  request for comment, and indicated that she was "pleased the White House worked with me" to move forward with the nomination.

“John Hinderaker brings a wealth of experience to the U.S. District Court as one of the most well-respected professionals in the Arizona legal community. He has served Arizona with distinction. I am confident he will continue that legacy on the District Court and I am pleased the White House worked with me to find a highly qualified nominee for this important position,” said Sinema.

Governor Ducey also responded with a tweet calling Hinderaker an "excellent judge" and expressing pride that he had placed him on the bench last year.

Rash was nominated by the President in September. The Senate Judiciary Committee has not yet conducted a hearing on Rash, apparently because his committee questionnaire has not yet been turned in.

Hinderaker was in private practice for his professional career until 2018, at Lewis Roca Rothberger Christie. He volunteered with or provided pro bono legal services for a number of community organizations in Tucson, and was featured at one Federalist Society event shortly after being placed on the Pima County bench.



(Thanks, as always, to Judicial Nominations Blog for giving us early notice on the appointment.)

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"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.

"AZ Law" can also be downloaded and subscribed to in all major podcast stores - iTunes, Google Play, Spotify, Podbean, etc. 

Thursday, October 31, 2019

NEW: Purdue Pharma Tells U.S. Supreme Court To Send Arizona To Bankruptcy Court

In July, Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich garnered national attention for trying to bring major opioid manufacturer Purdue Pharma and the Sackler family to the U.S. Supreme Court to set aside billions of dollars of fraudulent transfers. Yesterday, Purdue asked the Justices to send Arizona to Bankruptcy Court.

In its brief, Purdue's main contentions are that the Purdue Pharma bankruptcy filed in September puts a freeze on Arizona's case, and that the Bankruptcy Court provides the correct forum to resolve Arizona's fraudulent transfer allegations.

Brnovich and outside counsel William Consovoy attracted a lot of attention and interview requests with the "novel" and "audacious lawsuit".  Yesterday's filing is only from Purdue Pharma, and it appears that the Sackler family defendants did not bother to file a brief by the (extended) deadline.

Bankruptcy filings do place an "automatic stay" on legal and collection proceedings, and there is no indication (in the Supreme Court case) that Arizona has asked that stay to be lifted.

Purdue's attorneys also argue that Arizona should have pursued its fraudulent transfer claims in its state courts, rather than trying to convince the U.S. Supreme Court to sit as a trial court. (It notes that Arizona makes the "breezy assertion" that fact-finding would be straightforward.)

In asking the Supreme Court to hear the case, Arizona noted that many states, governments and organizations were all racing to go after the Purdue/Sackler monies and that the highest court in the land should be the referee. Attorneys General in Ohio, Alaska, Louisiana, North Dakota, and Utah supported Arizona's suit, filing a friend of the court brief.

The Supreme Court has not yet decided whether Arizona's case may proceed, whether to send the Attorney General to Bankruptcy Court, or some other option.

Earlier this month, AG Brnovich expressed some concerns about the proposed settlement that many states reached with Purdue, stating that the company had "sought to undermine material terms of the deal.”

AZ Law has requested comment from the Attorney General's Office and will update as warranted.

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Wednesday, October 23, 2019

BREAKING: Governor Appeals Judge's Upsetting Education Funding Ruling To 9th Circuit, Opposes $45k Attorney's Fees

Last month's ruling that caused Arizona Governor Doug Ducey to call for the judge an "embarrassment" and call for him to retire from the federal bench has now been appealed to the Ninth Circuit. The ruling stated that the Governor had acted illegally in implementing the Prop. 123 education funding scheme.

The Governor's attorneys are also opposing the plaintiff's attorney's application for $45,000 for fees. Attorney Andrew Jacob was asked by U.S. District Court Judge Neil Wake to represent plaintiff Michael Pierce pro bono (without fees); however, Jacob notes in his application that previous Ninth Circuit opinions make it clear that that does not disqualify a successful litigant from being awarded fees, anyway.

The Governor makes the argument that the state's sovereign immunity prevents Pierce from obtaining the fees award, and that the nature of this action does not provide for the successful party from receiving its attorneys fees. The Reply - filed today - argues that the Eleventh Amendment of the U.S. Constitution permits an award in the case of "bad faith litigation tactics." In its harshest language:
Governor Ducey violated the Enabling Act in bad faith because the language in the
Act requiring prior Congressional approval was clear and because the Governor’s
argument that this language was no longer in effect bordered on frivolous. Governor
Ducey’s vigorous defense of his actions was improperly oppressive because he intended to exhaust the efforts of pro bono counsel rather than to prevail on the merits. This is sufficient bad faith to award fees as a sanction without violating the Eleventh Amendment.
The Plaintiff's argument reflects the Court's September 30 Order that so enraged the Governor. Ducey and his staff then mercilessly blasted Judge Wake, calling him an "embarrassment", and that the decision was "incoherent", "biased", and "terrible".

While the Court found that Prop. 123 was illegal, it did not order a halt to the funding method that remains in place until it expires in 2025.

The Ninth Circuit has set January 27 as the deadline for the Governor's Office to file its Opening Brief.





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"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. ArizonasLaw.org operates independently of Sun Sounds, but is designed to support Sun Sounds.

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.

"AZ Law" can also be downloaded and subscribed to in all major podcast stores - iTunes, Google Play, Spotify, Podbean, etc. Just search for "AZ Law".

LISTEN: "AZ Law's" Oct. 19 Installment - Assessor or Human Smuggler, Jodi Arias Appeal, and More

This broadcast episode of "AZ Law" featured articles and commentaries regarding the adoption-related legal troubles of the Maricopa County Assessor, the Jodi Arias appeal, a State Senate discrimination case, the U.S. Supreme Court decision not to review Arizona's rental car tax, and the new Maricopa County Attorney's first meeting with reporters.

"AZ Law" includes articles and updates about opinions from the Arizona Supreme Court, U.S. Supreme Court, as well as trial and appellate courts etc.

AZ Law also 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.


Thanks for listening, and your input is appreciated - Paul.Weich.AZlaw@gmail.com.


Friday, October 4, 2019

LISTEN: "AZ Law's" Oct. 4 Installment - Prop. 123 Articles/Opinions, New Maricopa County Atty, Jaguars, Russian Attacks

This installment includes articles and commentary on a federal judge's decision declaring Arizona's Prop. 123 regarding education funding and the state's permanent land trust to be "illegal"... and the Governor's personal attacks on that judge. 
Other articles discuss the new Maricopa County Attorney, jaguars in Arizona, and how Arizona courts will combat possible Russian disinformation attacks.

"AZ Law" includes articles and updates about opinions from the Arizona Supreme Court, U.S. District Court, etc.
More on these cases and other legal news can be found at ArizonasLaw.org.
AZ Law also 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.
Thanks for listening, and your input is appreciated - Paul.Weich.AZlaw@gmail.com.

Saturday, September 28, 2019

SPECIAL AUDIO PROGRAMMING: The Whistleblower Complaint, Read In Its Entirety

"AZ Law" is a new program developed for Sun Sounds of Arizona. Sun Sounds is a non-profit reading service for people with disabilities which make it difficult for them to read or hold printed material.
Most of Sun Sounds programming, therefore, is devoted to reading articles from newspapers and magazines, as well as books.
Yesterday, I had the opportunity to present the Whistleblower Complaint that has prompted the formal impeachment inquiry into President Donald Trump. This instantly-historical document is presented in its entirety for streaming or downloading.
Sun Sounds listeners can stream or download the special program here, and it is being broadcast at various times.
AZ Law readers can stream or download this reading of the Whistleblower Complaint here. And, it is available on Apple iTunes, Spotify, Google Play and most other places where people find their podcasts these days.
"AZ Law" typically includes articles and updates about opinions from the Arizona Supreme Court, U.S. District Court, etc.
If you know someone who could benefit from Sun Sounds' 24/7 service, please let them know about member-supported Sun Sounds. And, YOU can donate or listen here.
Thanks for listening, and your input is appreciated - Paul.Weich.AZlaw@gmail.com.


Wednesday, September 25, 2019

BREAKING, UPDATE: Supreme Court Appoints Independent Counsel To Handle Ethics Complaints Against Fellow Justice Bill Montgomery, and Prosecutor Juan Martinez

Arizona Supreme Court Chief Justice Robert Brutinel today appointed Independent Bar Counsel to investigate and handle an ethics complaint filed against now-fellow Justice Bill Montgomery. The order also grants the State Bar's request to hand the complaint against Maricopa County prosecutor Juan Martinez to the independent counsel.

The State Bar of Arizona's Chief Bar Counsel is permitted to request such a handoff if the office believes it "may be compromised by a specified conflict of interest or may reasonably be questioned." AZ Law has requested more information from the State Bar as to the basis for the request.

The ethics complaints against former Maricopa County Attorney Montgomery and one of his most visible prosecutors were filed on September 3. The attorneys currently representing convicted killer Jodi Arias filed the complaints, parts of which relate to the Arias case.

Arizona Governor Doug Ducey named Montgomery as a Supreme Court Justice the following day. Yesterday, Acting Maricopa County Attorney Rachel Mitchell confirmed that Martinez has been reassigned from trying homicide cases, due to the ethics complaint.

Brutinel's Order (below) grants the State Bar's Chief Bar Counsel's request and assigns it to the IBC "to provide review and disposition" of the complaints. The Independent Bar Counsel's office was set up by the Supreme Court last year, and it operates from the Commission on Judicial Conduct.



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"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.

"AZ Law" can also be downloaded and subscribed to in all major podcast stores - iTunes, Google Play, Spotify, Podbean, etc. 

LISTEN: "AZ Law's" Sept. 21, 2019 Installment - Brush & Nib Articles/Opinions, New Trump Nominee For Arizona Bench

This broadcast installment becomes something of a symposium on the Arizona Supreme Court's controversial decision in the Brush & Nib case - involving the tension between religious freedom and discrimination against same-sex couples.  We feature articles and commentaries from several different perspectives.

We conclude with an article on President Trump nominating a Tucson judge for a lifetime appointment to the federal bench in Arizona.

Here is the Supreme Court's opinion(s) in Brush & Nib. Portions of it will be recorded for the next on-demand installment of AZ Law on Sun Sounds.



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"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.

"AZ Law" can also be downloaded and subscribed to in all major podcast stores - iTunes, Google Play, Spotify, Podbean, etc. 

LISTEN: "AZ Law's" Nov. 16 Installment - Border Aid Volunteer Trial, New Judges, a Commentary On Arizona's Suit Vs. Obamacare, and More

This broadcast episode of "AZ Law" features articles and commentaries regarding the re-trial of a border aid volunteer, the suspen...