Thursday, May 19, 2022

BREAKING: AZ Court Kicks Alan Dershowitz Out of Court; Kari Lake & Mark Finchem Lose Their Big Gun Due To "Noncompliance"

UPDATE, 6/15, 11:30am: The court has now granted Alan Dershowitz's motion to participate in the case - for the plaintiffs - as an out of state attorney. 

UPDATE, 5/19, 8:40pm: Alan Dershowitz tells Arizona's Law that his termination will be fixed. "Just a technical glitch in my pro hac application. It’s being fixed." He did not respond to the request for an interview regarding his involvement in the Arizona cases.

In an unexpected twist, an Arizona court has kicked out Alan Dershowitz for non-compliance. Dershowitz is a well-known attorney and Harvard Law professor who has been representing Arizona election deniers Kari Lake and Mark Finchem in the federal court case against Secretary of State Katie Hobbs*.

The court did not give details of the "termination", other than to indicate: "(O)ut of state attorney Alan M Dershowitz terminated as counsel of record for noncompliance with admission procedures." 

There is no record on the docket that Dershowitz had filed the required application to be admitted as an out of state attorney (i.e. pro hac vice". However, co-counsel Kurt Olsen was granted pro hac vice status, and he does not have an application on the docket, either.

Andrew Parker, the lead attorney (who is admitted to practice in federal court in Arizona), filed an Amended Complaint in the case earlier this month. The case attempts to prohibit Arizona from using electronic voting machines in the upcoming election.**

Here are the District Court's requirements for an out of state attorney to be permitted to represent a client in Arizona's federal court: 

The pro hac vice application must be presented to the Clerk and must state under penalty of perjury (i) the attorney's principal office address and city and state of principal residence as well as current telephone number, facsimile number and electronic mailing address, if any, (ii) by what courts the attorney has been admitted to practice and the dates of admissions, (iii) that the attorney is in good standing and eligible to practice in those courts, (iv) that the attorney is not currently suspended, disbarred or subject to disciplinary proceedings in any court, and (v) if the attorney has concurrently or within the year preceding the current application made any other pro hac vice applications to this Court, the title and number of each action in which such application was made, the date of each application, and whether each application was granted. The pro hac vice application must also be accompanied by payment of a pro hac vice fee to the Clerk, U.S. District Court and a current, original certificate of good standing from a federal court.

We have reached out Dershowitz for an explanation and will update as necessary.

*He is also representing the Arizona Republican Party and Kelli Ward in related cases in state court. The pro hac vice rules differ between state and federal court, and he has not yet been kicked out of the state court cases.

**Full disclosure: I am a candidate for the Arizona Legislature, and my name will appear on the paper ballots fed into the voting machines.

Thursday, May 12, 2022

BREAKING: Big 9th Circuit Win For Environmentalists Fighting Rosemont Copper Mine In S. Arizona (READ Opinion)

The U.S. Forest Service cannot allow 2,400+ acres of southern Arizona wilderness to be buried under 1.9 billion tons of the Rosemont Copper mine's waste rock. That was the opinion today from a divided Ninth Circuit panel that delivered a big win to the coalition of environmental and Native American groups battling the southern Arizona mine.

The Center for Biological Diversity is leading the long-running litigation battle, along with the Sierra Club, Tohono O'odham Nation, Hopi Tribe and Pascua Yaqui Tribe.

Judge William Fletcher wrote the 38-page majority opinion, blasting the Forest Service's decision:

The Mining Law allows mining companies to occupy federal land on which valuable minerals have been found, as well as non-mineral federal land for mill sites, essentially free of charge. Rosemont wants to permanently occupy 2,447 acres of National Forest land with its waste rock, essentially free of charge, even though no valuable minerals have been found on that land and no mill sites have been established. On the current administrative record, the Service de facto amended the Multiple Use Act and the Mining Law to give Rosemont what it wants.

He finished by saying that Congress needs to revise the antiquated Mining Law. "But amendment of the Mining Law is a task for Congress, not for the Service, and certainly not for us."

Judge Danielle Forrest dissent, but concluded that it should have been remanded to determine whether the Forest Service complied with regulations that may have permitted the waste rock on that site.

The proposed mine in the Santa Rita Mountains and Coronado National Forest would be expected to produce 5 billion pounds of copper with the 3,000 foot deep (open) pit. The waste rock (tailings and waste rock) pile would be 2 1/2 times as large as the pit, and both would exist in perpetuity.

No word yet on whether the Forest Service or the proposed mine's Canadian owner (Hudbay Minerals) will appeal to the U.S. Supreme 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.

Tuesday, May 10, 2022

BREAKING: U.S. District Court Judge denies Clarence Dixon's habeas corpus action, claiming that he is not competent to be executed (READ Order)

8:30pm: LATE NIGHT UPDATE: The 9th Circuit WILL NOT reconsider the panel's decision en banc. (No judge requested such a rehearing.)



Nothing showing on U.S. Supreme Court docket. (Does NOT mean nothing has been filed.) The Dixon case has been brought to the U.S. Supreme Court three times over the past 11 years.

5:30pm: The 9th Circuit panel of three judges REFUSED to stop tomorrow's execution. "As stated above, the ultimate question is “whether [Dixon] can rationally understand the reasons for his death sentence.” The state court’s conclusion that Dixon does have this understanding was not based upon an unreasonable determination of the facts."

3pm: Here is the video of the 9th Circuit oral argument this afternoon:


2pm: We are live-tweeting the oral arguments before the 9th Circuit. Tune in: https://twitter.com/arizonaslaw/status/1524132456869232641

BREAKING: U.S. District Court Judge denies Clarence Dixon's habeas corpus action, claiming that he is not competent to be executed.

Judge Diane Humetewa issued the 26 page ruling this morning, concluding that "In sum, the competency court did not improperly restrict its assessment of Dixon’s competency to his mere awareness that he was to be punished by death. In finding that Dixon did not prove his incompetence by a preponderance of the evidence, the court reasonably applied Panetti."

Execution set for tomorrow.

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, May 9, 2022

UPDATE: AZ Supreme Court Keeps Reps. Biggs, Gosar & State Rep. Finchem ON November Ballot (READ Decision)

Surprising noone, the Arizona Supreme Court unanimously allowed Reps. Andy Biggs, Paul Gosar, and State Rep. Mark Finchem to remain on the November ballot. Justice Clint Bolick - whose wife is a colleague of Finchem's in the Legislature - did not participate in the deliberations.

The Court decided that Arizona's election challenge statute does not explicitly permit lawsuits invoking the U.S. Constitution's 14th Amendment Disqualification Clause. That clause disqualifies those who participated in rebellion against the U.S.

The Order is below. If you would also like to review the parties' briefs on the matter, please click here.

In the first of what is expected to be four decisions today, the Arizona Supreme Court denied an expedited election challenge appeal by (former) legislative candidate Shawn Pearson. 

A panel of the Justices unanimously decided that Pearson did not prove that at least 26 signers of her petition were legitimately registered in her district when they signed, after the County Recorder had determined that they did not. Pearson had alleged that the County Recorder's list was not updated with recent moves, etc - the Court said that that was not enough to rehabilitate the signatures.

Pearson was challenged by a fellow Democrat running in her district (LD11), Naketa Ross.

Often, on fast-tracked cases like this, the Court will simply issue their ruling now and explain their reasoning later. However, this seemed to include their full legal opinion.

It is expected that the Court will also enter decisions on the other pending election appeals today - including the nationally-watched effort to bump Congressmen Andy Biggs and Paul Gosar - and State Rep. Mark Finchem - from the ballot due to their participation in planning the January 6 efforts to stop the Electoral College certification.

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, May 6, 2022

AZ Supreme Court Ready To Rule On Gosar/Biggs/Finchem's Places On the November Ballot (READ Briefs)

 A ruling from the Arizona Supreme Court on whether longtime Congressmen Andy Biggs and Paul Gosar can run for re-election this November could come as early as this afternoon. The consolidated expedited election appeal also includes State Rep. Mark Finchem, who is running for Arizona Secretary of State.

The three are accused of being not qualified to hold office because of their participation in planning the January 6 (2021) insurrection at the U.S. Capitol. Challengers claim that the three are subject to the Disqualification Clause in the 14th Amendment.

Superior Court Judge Christopher Coury dismissed the combined case, and the group called Free Speech For People appealed.

Below are the briefs filed by the parties.

The challengers are arguing that Arizona's election challenge statute gives citizens (electors) the power to file a lawsuit to challenge a candidate if they do not meet the qualifications to hold the office. (A.R.S. 16-351) Dismissing the case in this instance is a "radical exception" that "swallows the rule".

"For example, a 16-year-old non-citizen could file nominating papers for the next election, secure a spot as a candidate for the United States House of Representatives, and remain immune from any § 16-351 challenge based on their constitutional ineligibility under Article I, Section 2. See Harisiades v. Shaughnessy, 342 U.S. 580, 587 n.10 (1952) (noting that Article I, Section 2 imposes requirements on congressional “candidates”). This is well within the realm of possibility in Arizona, where a Libertarian Party candidate for the House of Representatives only needs to gather an average of 826 signatures to appear on the primary election ballot—smaller than a graduating class at a large Arizona high school."

The statute requires that the Supreme Court rule on the appeal "promptly", and the court generally issues a decision shortly after the briefs are filed, and follows with their Opinion (legal analysis) months later. 

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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: Supreme Court REINSTATES Arizona's Prohibition On Providers Who Perform Abortions Due To A Genetic Anomaly

UPDATE, 6/30, 7:45am: BREAKING: Supreme Court REINSTATES Arizona's Prohibition On Providers Who Perform Abortions Due To A Genetic Anoma...