Thursday, July 22, 2021

NEW: 9th Circuits Shoots Down Don Shooter Civil Rights Suit Vs. Arizona/Mesnard/Adams (READ Opinion)

Former state lawmaker Don Shooter does not have a civil rights action against the State, J.D. Mesnard and Kirk Adams because of his 2018 expulsion, the 9th Circuit ruled today. Shooter had claimed that his rights were violated by a conspiracy between the Governor's Chief of Staff (Adams) and the Speaker of the House (Mesnard) to get rid of him without due process.

Shooter's suit was dismissed by the federal court judge in 2019, and today's 3-0 decision agrees with the dismissal. Judge Daniel Collins notes that Shooter agreed that the State of Arizona should not have been sued, and that the trial court judge was correct in finding that Mesnard and Adams had qualified immunity.

Shooter also tried to claim that his rights were violated because a new "zero tolerance" sexual harassment policy enacted in the wake of the allegations was enforced retroactively. The Court seemed most offended by this argument, noting that Shooter would have had to show that the previous policy permitted his behavior. 

Shooter has utterly failed to do so. As noted earlier, the allegations against Shooter included the following: that he “grabbed and shook his crotch” in front of a female government affairs officer from the Arizona Supreme Court; that he made “sexualized comments” about a female lobbyist’s appearance; and that he hugged a female newspaper intern “in a prolonged, uncomfortable, and inappropriate manner.”  The notion that the Arizona Legislature previously permitted this type of conduct is simply implausible, and nothing in Shooter’s complaint supports such an inference.

On June 30, the Arizona Supreme Court ruled that Mesnard had legislative immunity for part of the separate defamation action brought by Shooter. However, that case will move forward because they also ruled that Mesnard did NOT necessarily have immunity for a news release that he sent out about the matter. A status conference is set for September 10.

"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.

No comments:

Post a Comment

UPDATE: Hearing Tomorrow In State's Suit Against Cochise County Re: Giving Elections Duties To Recorder Stevens; Bisbee, Nogales, Tucson, Phoenix?

Arizona sued Cochise County three weeks ago for its "unqualified handover" of elections duties from the Board of Supervisors to Re...