Friday, April 29, 2022

UPDATE, NOONE'S HAPPY: Puente and Protesters APPEAL Dismissal of Class Action Vs. Phoenix PD Re: 2017 Trump Protest

Puente and anti-Trump protesters filed a Notice of Appeal today, asking the 9th Circuit to keep their class action suit against the Phoenix PD alive. The suit stems from the Aug. 22, 2017 protest when then-President Donald Trump came to town, and the PPD dispersed the crowd by firing gas, pepper bullets and flash-bangs into the crowd.

The plaintiffs - represented by attorneys from the ACLU and others - alleged constitutional violations and sought injunctive relief against Phoenix to prohibit future protests. District Court Judge John Tuchi dismissed nearly all of those last week.

Although in March, the defendants appealed another of Tuchi's rulings allowing excessive force claims against individual officers to move towards trial. The briefing on that appeal is slated to continue into August.

The case was filed in 2018.

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, April 27, 2022

BREAKING: AZ Gets Nationwide TRO To Keep Title 42 In Place At Border (READ Order)

The Louisiana judge did not wait for the AZAGO to work out terms for TRO language to stop Title 42 from being enforced at the border, after all. Judge Robert Summerhays wrote up his only language and signed it this afternoon, issuing a nationwide order stopping the Biden Administration from terminating the public health-related provision to keep out immigrants.

Because he was struck by the Administration's acknowledgment that the U.S. government had already begun to shift how it was treating individuals from the Nothern Triangle nations, he also ordered that the government provide weekly reports. The Termination of Title 42 was to begin in earnest on May 23.

Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich quickly declared victory and claimed that the Biden Administration was "lawless". "We are proud to co-lead a coalition of 21 states to stop the Biden administration's lawlessness."

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, April 22, 2022

BREAKING: Superior Court Judge DISMISSES Challenges Against Biggs/Gosar/Finchem (READ Opinion)

Update, 4/25 6pm: The Supreme Court has set a briefing schedule for both sides, and they will decide the appeal next week. Attorneys Alex Kolodin, Jack Wilenchik and Kory Langhofer will have to work together to file a consolidated opening brief by Wednesday evening. The Response is due on Saturday and the Reply by Monday. There will be no oral argument. 

This is standard operating procedure for these expedited election appeals, and there are no statutory provision for a case to be remanded to the trial court. (The Plaintiffs had asked Superior Court Judge Christopher Coury to take evidence last week, in case the Supreme Court needed it.)

Arizona's Law has confirmed that the Plaintiffs have immediately appealed this morning's dismissal to the Arizona Supreme Court. Election challenges such as this bypass the intermediate Court of Appeals, and must be decided "promptly". The process usually takes only a few days and is without oral argument; the court usually issues a short ruling and follows up with a detailed Opinion months later.

 (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.

Thursday, April 21, 2022

EXCLUSIVE: Incredible Chutzpah! AG Brnovich Decides Elections Manuals Are Important Enough To Sue... Unless the Secretary of State Is Republican (READ Letters, Complaint))

UPDATE, 6/22, 11:50am: AG-Candidate Brnovich Files Emergency Appeal To Force Changes To Elections Manual

Candidate/AZ AG Mark Brnovich has filed an emergency appeal to attempt to force a new Arizona Elections Procedures Manual in advance of the August and November elections.

Brnovich teamed up with the Yavapai County Republicans to bring the unsuccessful case in Yavapai County Superior Court, but Judge John Napper soundly rejected it last week as being "far too late for this to occur without disrupting elections that have already begun."

Brnovich filed an "Emergency Motion to Open Appeal" on Monday, and the Court of Appeals (Division 1) granted the motion yesterday. Both Governor Doug Ducey and Secretary of State Katie Hobbs - who is running to replace Ducey - are listed as appellees.


(The following is an introductory commentary written by Chandler attorney Tom Ryan.)

In 2016, then Arizona Secretary of State Michele Reagan boldly announced she would not update the Arizona Elections Manual. 

As a concerned citizen – and recognizing the absolute folly of such a position – I took pains to point out that such an intentional dereliction of duty was a violation of Arizona law. I took time out of my busy practice to advise the Attorney General he needed to take action to ensure that the Arizona Elections Manual would be appropriately prepared in time for the 2016 election cycle. 

Attorney General Brnovich’s unqualified response was “Meh!” No enforcement action of any sort was taken. 

Reading today’s announcement that the Brnovich intends to have his office pursue litigation against his own client (the rules of lawyer ethics have still not changed to allow him to sue his own client) is incredible chutzpah considering his office’s prior dereliction of duty when it came to a sitting Republican Secretary of State – Michelle Reagan. 


There is another important fact to consider here: Katie Hobbs DID submit a new Arizona Elections Manual for 2022. Attorney General Brnovich outsourced his duty to attorney Tim LaSota, counsel for the Kari Lake for Governor campaign! Mr. LaSota made significant changes that Secretary of Hobbs could not agree to. 

The problem, Mr. Brnovich, is you and your political pandering.

(Editor's addition: It is worth noting that today's Complaint was filed in the Yavapai County Superior Court, where the AZGOP recently found a friendly court to throw out the Legislature's Precinct Committeeperson statute. The AG's Office has teamed up with Yavapai County Republicans to attempt this venue.)

"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: Flat Tax Referendum THROWN OFF The November Ballot, AZ Supreme Court Rules (READ Decision)

 In a crushing defeat to public education advocates who collected enough signatures to place Arizona's 2021 flat tax on this coming November's ballot, the Arizona Supreme Court has determined that the taxing measure was not subject to citizens' constitutional referendum powers because it falls within an exception.

"The Court finds that §§ 13 and 15 of S.B. 1828 do fall within the support and maintenance exception to the Arizona Constitution, and thus may not be referred to the voters," declared the en banc order handed down this afternoon. No dissent was noted.

The decision is a major victory for the Arizona Free Enterprise Club and Republicans in the State Legislature. The latter group has been attempting to "repeal and replace" the flat tax with a newer version in order to get void the referendum; that will not be necessary in light of today's order.


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

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, April 20, 2022

NEW: Judge Denies USDOJ Motion To Pause Brnovich Immigration Lawsuit Pending US Supreme Court Ruling (READ Order)

A U.S. District Court Judge  today denied the Biden Administration's effort to pause an immigration case filed by Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich until after the U.S. Supreme Court rules in Biden v Texas. 

The immigration issue which Judge Michael Liburdi allowed to move forward is the remaining portion of the morphed case filed by the AZAGO challenging a possible COVID vaccine mandate. The USDOJ asked for the stay, claiming that there is significant overlap between the issues in this case and in the Texas case. The Supreme Court is hearing oral argument in the Biden v Texas case next week and will decide it on an expedited basis.

Liburdi agreed with Brnovich that the overlap is overstated.

Plaintiffs’ arguments are the more persuasive ones. Although the Supreme Court’s decision in Texas may have some bearing on the claims at issue here, particularly with regard to the meaning of § 1225(b), there is no guarantee the Court will address that issue. Even if the Court does address the meaning of § 1225, because there are several claims at issue in this case that are not implicated in Texas, granting a stay would only minimally conserve judicial resources and simplify the “issues, proof, or questions of law” implicated here. Further, Defendants’ contention “that the Supreme Court may soon issue a dispositive opinion” in Texas “cuts both ways . . . because an imminent resolution means that the parties will not spend considerable time or resources before the Supreme Court acts.” (citations omitted)

Liburdi notes that the Biden Administration's motion to dismiss the immigration related counts is still pending. 

 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, April 19, 2022

BREAKING, OOPS THEY DID IT AGAIN: Cyber Ninjas Appeal $50k/Day Contempt Ruling... Again (READ Petition)

The public records battle between Cyber Ninjas/Logans, the Arizona Senate/Fann and the Arizona Republic/American Oversight, relating to last year's election "audit" continues to generate attorneys' fees* as the Ninjas have filed a NEW Special Action appealing the $50,000/day contempt sanction for not turning over the records.

This is the 4th time either the Ninjas or Fann have appealed to the Court of Appeals, and they have also taken the matter to the Arizona Supreme Court multiple times. Considering the relatively simple nature of the public records case, that might seem excessive.

Attorney Jack Wilenchik continues to beat the drum that Superior Court Judge John Hannah is biased in sanctioning the Cyber Ninjas, and repeats claims that small contributions to political groups prove it.

The $50,000/day fine was ordered in January 2022, and Cyber Ninjas apparently still has documents and files pertaining to the "audit" in its possession. The courts have consistently found that they do constitute public records and must at least be turned over to the judge to determine whether any privileges would keep them from being turned over.

Superior Court Judge Michael Kemp is holding a hearing next week on whether Doug Logan - the head Ninja - and his wife should be added to the case as persons subject to turning over the documents. (Cyber Ninjas is apparently out of business, but has not liquidated.))

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, April 18, 2022

BREAKING: Rep. Gosar, Attorney "Throwing Shit Against The Wall" Challenging Opponent Dowling; Dowling Responds To Lawsuit

Sandra Dowling tells Arizona's Law/Arizona's Politics that Rep. Paul Gosar is scared and "throwing shit against the wall and hoping something sticks" by challenging her nomination petition signatures. On top of that, Gosar's new attorney represented Dowling just last year in a challenge against AZGOP Chair - and Gosar buddy - Kelli Ward.

"Paul Gosar and Kelli Ward don't want Sandra Dowling on the ballot," Dowling said. "He's trying to take both of us down because we're from Maricopa County." (Gosar and Tim LaSota also filed against Randy Kutz.)

Dowling says that almost all of the challenged signatures are based on the voter not being registered in the Congressional District. However, because of the redistricting process, the state allowed candidates to sign nominating petitions for candidates, based on either their old or new district. 

Dowling went on to point out the irony. "The truth of the matter is that Paul Gosar doesn't live in the district. He hasn't lived in his district 10 of the last 12 years. For him to say that voters who do live in the district shouldn't have a say is wrong."

Dowling also slammed Chair Ward, saying "she has violated every ethical rule in the book" by vocally supporting Gosar in this contested primary. Her 2021 attorney now handling the 2022 challenge against Dowling caught her off guard today. 

"I don't know what the rules are. I was a little bit shocked. But, if he wants another loss in his column, go for it!"

Arizona's ethical rules for attorneys restrict counsel from suing a former client if it is in a "substantially related matter," and no information gained during the previous representation can be used.

The matter is set for trial next Wednesday in front of Judge Randall Warner.

Friday, April 15, 2022

Jan. 6 Committee Kicks Can Down Road On AZGOP Chair Kelli Ward's Phone Subpoenas (READ Stipulation)

The Congressional Committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol is not sure how hard to fight for compliance with subpoenas of Arizona GOP Chairwoman Kelli Ward's phone records.

Judge Diane Humetewa approved the Committee's stipulation with the Wards to extend the deadline for an Answer to be filed until May 30. The Committee noted that it is trying to decide how hard to fight for compliance with the subpoena.

The Congressional Defendants continue to be actively engaged in studying the various alternatives in this and other related litigation. Additionally, given the schedules of the Select Committee Members and the press of other critical House business, additional time is required prior to responding.

The subpoenas of T-Mobile's records became public knowledge when the Wards filed a suit in U.S. District Court in Prescott on February 1 to quash the effort. 

(Arizona's Law had been pestering the Jan. 6 Committee the past several weeks to learn what their next steps would be. Now we know.)

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.

Thursday, April 14, 2022

NEW: ASU Highrise "Seniors" Over EDM; Nightclub Appealing (READ Opinion)

The Arizona Republic's music reporter, Ed Masley, does a great job breaking down the legal notes in this legal victory for seniors living at Mirabella at ASU. Judge Brad Astrowsky hands them a complete victory against Shady Park Tempe, the nearby nightclub that had the EDM thumping. An appeal is promised.

Here's the 13-page minute entry granting the preliminary injunction:

*Disclosure: Although I do not live there, the named plaintiffs are longtime friends and I have provided legal advice to their family.

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, April 8, 2022

BREAKING: 9th Circuit Breathes New Life Into Democratic Challenge To Arizona's Ballot Order Statute (READ Opinion)

Democrats began challenging Arizona's ballot order statute in 2019, and the effort got knocked down partly because it was bumping up too close to the 2020 election. Today's 9th Circuit's decision reversing the dismissal of the case means that it might get thwarted for being too close to the 2022 election.

A unanimous three-judge panel today reversed the dismissal, finding that Democrats had standing and had pled enough support to continue towards trial. In the words of Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich earlier this week,  Democrats might consider the undoing of the dismissal to be "a big win".

Arizona's ballot order statute gives the coveted top spot to the candidate(s) from the party that won that county's vote in the previous gubernatorial election. Democrats claim that that meant most Arizonans would see every Republican listed before every Democrat and that that put them at an unfair competitive disadvantage because of the primacy effect. 

The Secretary urges us to deem “any burden” imposed by the Statute as “negligible” and thus justified by the state’s interest in “establish[ing] a manageable ballot layout.” But the magnitude of the asserted injury is a function of the “primacy effect,” presenting factual questions that cannot be resolved on a motion to dismiss. For example, the complaint alleged that in the 2020 election cycle, more than “80% of Arizona’s voters [would] be presented with ballots in which the names of Republican candidates [were] listed first for every single partisan race.” And, as noted, the Arizona Supreme Court has characterized the “distinct advantage” arising from a candidate’s name appearing at the head of a ballot as a “well-known fact.”

The case will now head back to District Court Judge Diane Humetewa, who dismissed the case in 2020.

In 2020, the 9th Circuit refused to put a stay on the dismissal pending appeal, as it was getting too close to the election. Under a principle set forth by the U.S. Supreme Court in a case involving then-Maricopa County Recorder Helen Purcell, courts should be more reluctant to rule in a way that would change election procedures as it gets closer to an election. The Purcell Principle could again come into play now that this case is back in District Court.

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.

Thursday, April 7, 2022

BREAKING: Turf Paradise REALLY Wants To Jockey Into Arizona's Sports Betting Business, Appeals Denial

Arizona's premier horse racing venue is feeling left out of Arizona's new sports gambling business, and is trying to sue its way in. Their first two efforts have come up lame, so they are doubling down on the Court of Appeals to help them out.

On Wednesday, Turf Paradise appealed Superior Court Judge Daniel Kiley's decision that the horse track does not qualify as a "professional sports franchise" entitled to a sports betting license, even though the state stipulated it is a "sports facility".

Despite being a long-time financial supporter for Governor Doug Ducey's campaign efforts, Turf Paradise owner Jerry Simms was left out in the cold by the comprehensive gambling law pushed through to allow licenses to go to Arizona's professional sports franchises and several Native American governments. Simms is trying to sue his way in.

Judge Kiley's bottom line was simple: the statutory scheme passed in 2021 limits who receives the licenses, but does permit the track to partner with one of them. (Kiley was hearing an appeal from the Administrative Law Judge's denial; therefore, Turf Paradise is an "Appellant".)

Appellant argues that “[i]t defies logic to conclude that the Legislature would exclude horse racing…from a new sports gambling industry.” The premise of Appellant’s argument, however, is incorrect: the Legislature has not excluded horse racing from the sports gambling industry. Instead, as discussed above, the Legislature has established a means by which racetrack enclosures may “partner” with “[a]n event wagering operator” to “obtain a limited event wagering license for event wagering only at one specific physical location.” The Legislature has also made clear, however, that an event wagering license may be issued to a non-tribal entity only if the entity or its designee is “[a]n owner of an Arizona professional sports team or franchise,” an “operator of a sports facility that hosts an annual tournament on the PGA tour,” or a “promoter of a national association for stock car auto racing national touring race.” Because Appellant is none of those, the denial of Appellant’s Application was properly affirmed. (citations omitted)

Turf Paradise took their case to the Court of Appeals yesterday. Their Opening Brief will be due on June 6.

 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.

BREAKING: Challenges Filed To Kick "Insurrectionists" Reps. Gosar, Biggs, Finchem Off 2022 Ballot (READ Complaints)

UPDATE, 4/8, 9am: A trial in the qualifications challenge to Rep. Paul Gosar has been set for next Wednesday, April 13, at 10am. The trial will be in front of the Hon. Alison Bachus. ]

The Superior Court has made final judicial assignments for the three "insurrectionist" challenges. When a typical case is filed with the Clerk's Office, the computer immediately assigns a judge. However, these expedited elections cases are heard by a smaller subset of judges, and were reassigned by the Civil Administration Department yesterday. (On Thursday, it was unclear whether the initial assignment or the Civil Admin reassignment was showing on the docket.)

So, the current assignments - which, given the expedited nature, should be final - are:

Finchem: Judge Christopher Coury, April 12 trial, 11am

Gosar: Judge Alison Bachus, April 13 trial, 10am

Biggs: Judge Margaret Mahoney, April 13 trial, 10am

UPDATE, 2:50pm: TRIAL in the challenge to @RealMarkFinchem's candidacy for Secy/State has been set for NEXT TUESDAY, Apr. 12 at 11am. It is in front of Judge Christopher Coury.

A prominent Arizona election law attorney has filed legal challenges to the candidacies of U.S. Reps. Paul Gosar and Andy Biggs, as well as Secretary of State candidate Rep. Mark Finchem.

As first reported in the New York Times, a progressive group called Free Speech for People has brought their efforts to hold Trump-supporting elected officials to account for their involvement in the post-election efforts to overturn the election results.

Arizona attorney Jim Barton filed the three separate candidate challenges this morning, and has asked the Court to approve expedited discovery requests.

The case against State Rep. Mark Finchem, who is running in a contested primary for Secretary of State, has been randomly assigned to Judge Christopher Coury.

The Gosar case is assigned to Judge Brad Astrowsky, and the Biggs case has been assigned to Judge John Hannah.

Candidate challenges are heard on an expedited basis. If appealed, they are taken up immediately by the Arizona Supreme Court. (The deadline to file such cases is April 18.) 

The challenges are able to be filed in Maricopa County Superior Court pursuant to the challenge statute because Finchem is running for statewide office, Gosar's Congressional District encompasses multiple counties, and Biggs' CD is in Maricopa County.


(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.

Tuesday, April 5, 2022

BREAKING: Arizona Supreme Court REFUSES To Hear AZGOP's Challenge To Early Voting Laws

The Order does not indicate that any of the Justices opposed this dismissal after today's conference.

And, they specifically say that this decision does not prevent the @AZGOP from filing the case in SUPERIOR Court, where a factual record can be developed.


DUELLING TRANSFERS: Which Judge(s) Will End Up Hearing Challenges To AZ's New Proof-Of-Citizenship-To-Vote Law (READ Motion)

UPDATE, 4/7, 4:45pm: Judge David Campbell (Case #2) issued an order this afternoon saying he will issue an order "in the next few days" on the motion to transfer Case #4 to him. (See below.)



Four of Arizona's federal judges currently are assigned to four different lawsuits challenging Arizona election laws. There are now two duelling Motions to Transfer the two new cases filed last week against the newly-minted Arizona law adding proof of citizenship requirements to a group of longstanding Arizona voters.

Confused? You won't be after this episode.

Earlier cases: 
1. Mi Familia Vota challenged Arizona's ballot curing laws and the impact on the Navajo Nation in 2021. It is being handled by Judge Dominic Lanza.
2. LULAC  filed a case in 2017. It is assigned to Judge David Campbell.

New Cases:
3. Mi Familia Vota (and others) filed on March 31. It is (still) assigned to Judge Susan Brnovich, the wife of named defendant Mark Brnovich.
4. LUCHA and LULAC - two different organizations that sometimes work together - filed on March 31. Judge Susan Bolton is currently assigned to it.

Motions to Transfer:
A. Probably as a result of the assignment to Judge Brnovich, General Brnovich filed a Motion to Transfer the new Mi Familia Vota case to MFV I Judge Lanza. The AG claims that the cases are related because of the similar parties, attorneys, and they both deal with election laws.
B. LUCHA/LULAC filed last week's case as being "related", and are thus hoping to have Judge Campbell handle it, too

Motion to STAY Transfer
C. Mi Familia Vota has now filed a Motion to Stay the AG's Motion to Transfer. It claims that the two new cases are much more related to each other than each of the new ones are to each of the old ones. 

Says MFV: "While Plaintiff does not oppose transfer before this Court, it believes the Court
should stay its consideration of the motion to transfer until the transfer motion that is
pending in LUCHA and LULAC is addressed given the substantial similarities between this
litigation, LUCHA, and LULAC. If LUCHA proceeds before Judge Campbell, it may make
the most sense for this matter to as well. Further, for the reasons stated herein Plaintiff
believes this matter does not have a significant relationship to Mi Familia I and, at a
minimum, should certainly not be consolidated with the earlier matter."

What's next?: Judge Lanza had indicated that he wanted to decide the AZAG Motion to Transfer quickly - which probably explains why Judge Brnovich did not immediately remove herself from Case #3. This Motion to Stay may throw a monkey wrench in that plan, and a recusal could be the next thing to cross our desk. Stay tuned.

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.

BREAKING: AZ Supreme Court Breathes New Life In Brnovich Battle Against the ASU/Omni Hotel Deal (READ Opinion)

The Arizona Supreme Court today breathed new life into the Attorney General's long-running battle against ASU's deal to build an Omni Hotel & Conference Center on campus land. In so doing, they vacated an award for $1M in lower court legal fees.

The unanimous opinion (below) was written by Justice John Lopez. It disagreed with the lower-court decisions finding that the AG could not bring an action finding the lease illegal and that another count alleging the deal violated the Constitution's Gift Clause was not added past the statute of limitations.

(Here is the article Arizona's Law filed on the now-vacated Court of Appeals' decision.)

However, the Supreme Court did agree with the dismissal of the first two counts of the lawsuit brought by the AG's Office against the hotel and conference center deal. 

Notwithstanding the Attorney General’s inability to identify an applicable tax law under title 42 or 43 that he is authorized to enforce here, he argues that because the purpose of the Omni Deal is to evade taxes, the property leased is subject to taxation. He relies on the Arizona Constitution, which provides that “[n]o property shall be exempt which has been conveyed to evade taxation.” But again, for a conveyance to be made to evade taxation, there must be a tax to evade in the first place, and here there is none. Thus, we affirm the dismissal of Count I.

Both the Tax Court and the Court of Appeals had found that the fourth count - added three months later - violated the one-year statute of limitations for bringing the Gift Clause allegations. The Supreme Court disagreed in two different ways - finding that a FIVE year statute of limitations was more appropriate and that the addition of the Gift Clause count does relate back to the original complaint because it arose out of the same deal (as the earlier counts)

The case will now go back to the Tax Court. Judge Christopher Whitten was the then-presiding Tax Court judge who issued the opinion. Because of rotations, the case will have a new judge - either Judge Danielle Viola or Sara Agne.

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. 

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