Thursday, March 31, 2022

BREAKING: Mi Familia Vota Files Suit Against New AZ Voting Law, AG Moves To Transfer It Away From Wife's Court

Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich promptly asked (his wife) to transfer a new lawsuit filed today against the state. Mi Familia Vota filed the case less than 24 hours after the measure was signed into law by Governor Doug Ducey.

The case was randomly assigned to U.S. District Court Judge Susan Brnovich. Her husband asked that it be transferred to Judge Dominic Lanza, as he is hearing a separate case brought by Mi Familia Vota challenging a different Arizona voting law.

The AG's Office notes the identical parties and the related issues in suggesting the transfer. As it stands now, that Motion would be ruled on by Judge Brnovich; however, it is likely the case will be reassigned before it is considered.

This new law requires people who have been registered to vote for many years to now provide proof of citizenship.

By the way, in that other action dealing with the ballot curing rules and the impact on Navajo Nation voters, the parties are currently engaging in discovery.

Here is today's Complaint, and the Motion to transfer.

This article was reported by AZ Law founder Paul Weich. Paul is currently running for a seat in Arizona's House of Representatives.

"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.

Tuesday, March 22, 2022

NEW: Judge Makes Mr./Mrs. Cyber Ninja the Newest Defendants In Election "Audit" Public Records Lawsuits

 Mr. and Mrs. Cyber Ninja (aka Doug and Meghan Logan) are now defendants in the public records lawsuits against Arizona Senate President Karen Fann and the Cyber Ninjas, a judge ruled today.  This means that they are now also responsible for keeping the records related to last year's election "audit" and turning over the records pursuant to numerous court orders.

Superior Court Judge Michael Kemp granted the Arizona Republic's unopposed Motion to amend the Complaint to add the Logans. Arizona's Law previously reported on that motion and how the paper also argued that the Cyber Ninjas' corporate veil could be pierced. That might make the Logans' personally responsible for the $50,000/day contempt sanction previously placed on the Cyber Ninjas corporate shell.

Fann has the issue of legislative privilege in front of the Arizona Supreme Court, and oral argument is set for early May.

This article was reported by AZ Law founder Paul Weich. Paul is currently running for a seat in Arizona's House of Representatives.

"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 21, 2022

UPDATE: State Conceded Its PC Law Was Unconstitutional, GOP Lawmakers Relieved (READ: State's Response, Judgment)

UPDATE, 3/22, 4pm: UPDATE: State Conceded Its PC Law Was Unconstitutional, GOP Lawmakers Relieved (READ: State's Response, Judgment)

The Arizona Attorney General told a Yavapai County Superior Court Judge yesterday that the AZGOP was correct in claiming that the law passed two weeks ago was unconstitutional. The Republican majority in the Legislature who pushed it through (with Democrats' votes) was relieved today when the judge knocked it out.

The law would have permitted party chairs to appoint Precinct Committeepersons this year instead of the usual election procedure. The Legislature passed this in the face of issues created by delayed census results, redistricting and reprecincting.

The AG's Office retained outside counsel Brian Bergin to throw the new law under the bus, and it did not take long for Judge John Napper to sign the judgment flattening the law. Bergin agreed that it was "a special law" which violated the Arizona Constitution because it "operates to abolish a single class of elections for a single year."




Original article, 3/21, 1:54pm: TOMORROW: Judge To Hear AZGOP Challege To Precinct Committeeperson Appointment Law (READ Complaint)

The Arizona GOP challenge to the new law allowing party chairs to appoint Precinct Committeepersons this year will be heard before a Yavapai County Superior Court Judge Tuesday morning (9:30am).

The law was a response to challenges stemming from redistricting and unanimously passed both

chambers of the Legislature and was signed by the Governor a couple of weeks ago. The next day, Republican PCs - some of whom have been waging a battle for control of the Republican party - created an uproar. Republican lawmakers tried unsuccessfully to repeal the law they had just passed, but were unable to muster the super-majority necessary.

A precinct committeeperson ("PC") is the most grassroots elected, party position, serving as a liaison between voters in that neighborhood area and the county and state political party organizations. Typically, the PC races are not contested and state law was changed several years ago to not put uncontested races on the primary election ballots.

The GOP brought a legal action last week to stop the new law, which did away for the need for prospective PCs to collect (approximately) a dozen petition signatures to get on the ballot. Representing the AZGOP and the Yavapai County GOP, attorney Alex Kolodin claimed:

"Plaintiffs will be compelled to begin performing illegal and unconstitutional acts contrary to the intent of the Legislator (sic) no later than April 1, 2022 pursuant to the terms of HB2839 Sec. 4. And the bill has already caused great confusion among the Republican party's PCs and has led some seeking elected office as a PC to stop collecting signatures."
According to the court, Judge John Napper intends to hear both evidence and oral arguments tomorrow. However, it could easily be changed to just an initial scheduling conference on the matter. The Complaint (below) names both the State of Arizona and the Yavapai County Elections Department as Defendants, although the latter may have been dismissed from the case. The docket does not indicate that any responses to the action have yet been filed.
(A thanks and hat tip to reader MamaW for offering to obtain the pleadings from the Prescott Courthouse.)

This article was reported by AZ Law founder Paul Weich. Paul is currently running for a seat in Arizona's House of Representatives.

"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, March 11, 2022

BREAKING: Superior Court Judge Hanna STRIKES DOWN Prop. 208 (Invest In Ed) in its entirety. (Surcharge for Education) READ Opinion

 (This is a developing story. Please check back for further details.)

This article was reported by AZ Law founder Paul Weich. Paul is currently running for a seat in Arizona's House of Representatives.

"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.

Wednesday, March 9, 2022

BREAKING: Maricopa County Attorney Demands All Cyber Ninjas' Communications With Trump, Congress About Election "Audit" (READ Special Action, PRR)

Update, 3/11, 10:30am: The Maricopa County Attorney's Office confirmed to Arizona's Law this morning that they did not receive any response to the November 2021 public records request. (The next step for MCAO would be to file a legal action in Superior Court, and join the effort begun by American Oversight and then the Arizona Republic. The MCAO did not indicate whether they when and if they would take that step.

UPDATE, 3/11 10am: Supreme Court REJECTS Cyber Ninjas' (Latest) Effort To Erase $50,000/day Fine (READ Order)

The full Arizona Supreme Court today REJECTED Cyber Ninjas' latest effort to overturn the $50,000/day fine for not turning over public records from its Arizona election "audit".

Duty Justice Ann Timmer signed the Order but noted that it came after "consideration by the full court". She thoroughly runs through the convoluted timeline of the public records lawsuits filed by the Arizona Republic and American Oversight, before noting that the Ninjas' attorney (Jack Wilenchik) "failed to adequately explain" why he should skip the intermediate Court of Appeals level in considering his latest effort.

"A special action challenging the entry of a non-appealable order involving a pure question of law or a mixed question of law and fact should generally be presented to the court of appeals in the first instance. CNI has not adequately explained why it cannot initially seek relief from that court. First, although many, but not all, issues were briefed in the November petition, this Court did not consider or rule on the merits of that petition, meaning we are not in a better position than the court of appeals to decide this petition. Second, the court of appeals, which has previously considered the August 24th order, is familiar with the issues in this case. Third, filing a petition with the court of appeals will not add an unnecessary level of appellate review. As in all cases, whether to review the court of appeals’ decision, if requested, would be discretionary, meaning the court of appeals’ decision here may be the final one. Fourth, CNI’s financial wherewithal and the growing sanction amount has no bearing on its ability to file its petition with the court of appeals."

Arizona's Law was first to report the story of this latest Special Action effort (below), which included the newsworthy nugget of Maricopa County's thorough public records request first made back in November 2021. It requested documents backing up the report made by Cyber Ninjas to the Arizona State Senate, as well as communications between CNI and former President Donald Trump (and many others).

If the fine stands, it currently totals $2.2M. (h/t to @NinjasTracker)

Original article, 3/9, 2:20pm: BREAKING: Maricopa County Attorney Demands All Cyber Ninjas' Communications With Trump, Congress About Election "Audit"  (READ Special Action, PRR)

The Maricopa County Attorney's Office demanded that Cyber Ninjas turn over all communications it had with former President Donald Trump and his team, Arizona (and, other) Congressmen and more.  The heretofore unannounced letter was attached to a NEW Special Action Petition filed with the Arizona Supreme Court by the Cyber Ninjas in their other public records-related lawsuits.

(from NYT)

The request was made in November 2021 by MCAO Civil Services Division Chief Tom Liddy was made directly to the now-former CEO of the Cyber Ninjas, Doug Logan, as well as attorney Jack Wilenchik. It came shortly after the Arizona Court of Appeals had ruled that records in the Cyber Ninjas' possession must be considered public records. (Cyber Ninjas was retained by State Senate President Karen Fann to conduct a so-called audit.)

The County sought everything relied upon by Logan when he produced the long-overdue report in September 2021. However, it also sought all communications between CNI (and any subcontractors) and (1) several State Senators, (2) Rep. Finchem, (3) several members of the U.S. Congress (including Gosar, Biggs, Gohmert, Greene, Boebert, Gaetz), (4) Trump and his team (Meadows, Ellis, Giuliani, Flynn, Bannon, Lindell, Byrne, Powell, Kolodin, Langhofer, more, (5) AZGOP Chair Kelli Ward, (6) Jordan Conradson/Gateway Pundit, (7) Christina Bobb/One America, (8) others (Pulitzer, Kern, Burk).

This goes well beyond the scope of the later subpoenas issued by Congress' January 6th Committee. Despite the differences in their scopes, they are related to the same efforts to undo the November 2020 election (that are continuing in many ways).

There are no indications the request was responded to, and attempts to get a comment from the MCAO have been unsuccessful.

The Special Action Petition filed yesterday purports to be an update of a previous one denied by the Supreme Court, although the Court is treating it as a new one. It seeks to undo the $50,000/day contempt order issued on January 6.

Chandler attorney Tom Ryan applauded the effort, telling Arizona's Law simply, "Tom Liddy is kickass." Liddy, Maricopa County Recorder Stephen Richer and the Republican-dominated Maricopa County Board of Supervisors have stood up to their GOP colleagues throughout this 16-month long (and, counting) post-election process.

This article was reported by AZ Law founder Paul Weich. Paul is currently running for a seat in Arizona's House of Representatives.

"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.

Tuesday, March 1, 2022

UPDATE: Arizona Supreme Court Will Consider Challenge To Flat Tax Referendum Petitions (Prop. 307)

UPDATE 3/2 at 12:50pm: The Arizona Supreme Court has set oral argument for April 19 at 11:00am. (20 minutes each side.)

The Arizona Supreme Court decided this afternoon to consider the Arizona Free Enterprise Club's challenge to putting last year's flat tax law onto November's ballot to let voters decide. The Justices will now set oral argument on the matter.

AZFEC unsuccessfully challenged Invest In Arizona's referendum challenge to the flat tax, which the Legislature passed (and Governor Ducey signed) in part to blunt the Invest In Ed Prop. 208 tax surcharge passed by voters in 2020. AZFEC appealed the Superior Court decision as an expedited election matter - which would skip the intermediate Court of Appeals.

Duty Justice Ann Timmer today decided that normally a challenge to an initiative or referendum would not be expedited unless it was bumping up against the ballot printing deadline. In this case, that deadline is not until late August.

Upon review, the Court notes that absent looming ballot printing deadlines or other considerations that would render the matter moot before this Court’s review, appeals of initiative and referendum challenges should be filed with the court of appeals. See ARCAP 10(d)(2). If reasons exist to transfer the appeal to this Court under ARCAP 19(a), a party to the appeal should file a petition to transfer under Rule 19(b). That did not occur here. Nonetheless, IT IS ORDERED that the Court hereby waives the procedural requirement and accepts the appeal.

Timmer asked the Clerk to set it for oral argument (and did not ask for that to happen soon).

This pending matter, and the one currently pending on Prop. 208 itself, are both hanging over the current legislative session. Republicans first used the uncertainty as reason for not quickly waiving the schools' aggregate expenditure limit ("AEL"), and are now trying to decide whether to nullify the pending Prop. 307 by "repealing and replacing" the flat tax. The timing of that possible special session might hinge on when the Supreme Court's oral argument is set for.

This article was reported by AZ Law founder Paul Weich. Paul is currently running for a seat in Arizona's House of Representatives.

"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.

Secretary of State and Union Group File Separate Suits To Force Cochise County To Certify Election

 ( This is a developing story. Please check back later for updates .) "AZ Law" includes articles, commentaries and updates abo...