Saturday, January 28, 2023

FOR THE RECORD: Kari Lake Election Contest Appeal

UPDATE, 1/31, 4:45pm: As expected, the Court of Appeals confirms to Arizona's Law that it has been receiving inquiries from people interested in *trying* to attend the judges' conference tomorrow. They will not be able to.

Arizona's Law has been in the forefront in trying to quell the confusion about the appeal, especially in light of misinformation given out by at least one person interviewing Kari Lake this past weekend - Lake did not correct him when he said he would be there on Wednesday.

Lake will NOT be inside the judges' conference. Nor will her attorneys or the attorneys for the defendants. The conference is an opportunity for the judges to privately discuss what the ruling will look like and which of the three judge panel will write it. 

And, the court will be at the front check-in area (politely) explaining all of this to anyone who understood otherwise.

It is very unlikely that the judges will ask for oral argument in this case, as no attorneys asked for it (as required by court rules) and the judges have not asked for it before the conference, either. The conference is generally the last item on the court's agenda before a ruling is made - that decision is expected within days or weeks in this case, although it could take longer.

Original article, 1/28, 7pm

There is a LOT of confusion about what is happening in Kari Lake's Election Contest appeal. One of her stated reasons for holding her Sunday rally is "to get everybody focused on what's happening in our case, because the fake news won't cover it fairly". She also mentioned she will be encouraging everyone to "start praying for the judges”.

We have been trying to address some of the incorrect information that has been spread about the appeal for the past month. We have been publishing the Briefs filed by all parties, and other filings - largely because the appellate courts do not (yet) publish them. We have been trying to explain the appellate rules, the multiple, confusing appeals filed by Lake's attorneys, the Orders from the courts trying to untangle them, and more.

(Please scroll down for links to our previous articles about the case.)

Here are a few of the important points to remember for the coming week:

FOR THE RECORD: 

1) There will NOT be Oral Argument (or more evidence presented) this week in the Lake Election Contest Appeal.

2) Briefing is complete (see our website).

3) Oral Argument was not requested by Lake's attys (or the Defts). It is unlikely the judges will request it.

4) The conference set for Feb. 1 is private. It is judges only. Not the parties, their attys, the public. It will not be livestreamed.

5) The court publishes the conference schedule "so that folks understand the case status."*

6) Because Lake's attys did not request this to be considered an expedited elections case, the Ct of Appeals Opinion could be days or weeks away.

7) If it is taking too long, the AZ Supreme Court did tell Lake she could again ask them to consider the appeal and skip the Ct of Appeals. (Given the 1st 2 refusals and that the Ct/App knows, this is unlikely.)

8) We have published all of the appellate briefs and filings so far. We will publish the Opinion when it is handed down:

Previous articles about this case:

1/25Arizona Supreme Court AGAIN Refuses To Accept @KariLake's direct appeal to them (READ Order) (Includes Supreme Court's Order denying transfer.)

1/25: Too Many Errors By Judge and Defendants - Lake Attorneys File Reply Brief and Motions In Election Contest, Still Having Trouble With Properly Expediting Appeal (READ Filings) (Includes Lake's Reply Brief, Motions)

1/12NEW: "Let Us Play, Too!" - Attorneys, Others Flood Arizona Courts With Kari Lake-Related Actions (READ filings)

12/31-1/18THE LATEST On the Kari Lake Election Contest Appeal  (This includes Lake's Petition for Special Action - which the court later designated as her Opening Brief in the original appeal. It includes the filings on Lake's 1st attempt to transfer the case to the AZ Supreme Court, and the Defendants' Answering Briefs.)

12/30Kari Lake's Election Contest APPEAL is now in front of the Court of Appeals (Includes court docket.)

12/24-12/27Kari Lake FAILED To Convince Judge To Reverse Governor’s Race, Election Contest DENIED (READ Ruling) (Includes Superior Court Judge's Ruling, Notice of Appeal)

"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, January 27, 2023

BREAKING: Republican Legislative Leaders Get Involved In Abe Hamadeh Election Contest, More (READ Filings)

The Arizona Legislature has engaged outside counsel to weigh in on whether sanctions should be assessed in Abe Hamadeh's Election Contest, and whether the judge should grant a new trial. State Senate President Warren Petersen and House Speaker Ben Toma are asking Mohave County Superior Court Judge Lee Jantzen to include their amici curiae (i.e. "friends of the court") brief discussing the election contest statutes.

Hamadeh, who came up just short in the Attorney General's race against Kris Mayes, failed in his Election Contest. However, he is asking for a new trial in light of the recount resulted in him in gaining a couple of hundred votes in Pinal County.

Petersen and Toma want to argue that the longstanding election contest statutes provide a "rigorous, robust and comprehensive fact-finding process" that should allow the court to grant a new trial in light of the recount and information provided in the dismissed-but-under appeal Kari Lake election contest. (They also give a shout-out to Hamadeh's claim that provisional ballots which Maricopa County determined were not legally countable needs to be explored.

The taxpayers are paying private attorneys Kory Langhofer and Tom Basile for the amici brief.

Judge Jantzen also has agreed to give Hamadeh until February 6 to file a consolidated Reply to the Defendants' several Responses opposing a New Trial.

This article was reported by AZ Law founder Paul Weich. Paul was 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, January 25, 2023

BREAKING: Too Many Errors By Judge and Defendants - Lake Attorneys File Reply Brief and Motions In Election Contest, Still Having Trouble With Properly Expediting Appeal (READ Filings)

UPDATE, 5:20pm: BREAKING: Arizona Supreme Court AGAIN Refuses To Accept @KariLake's direct appeal to them

The Arizona Supreme Court Justices, without any noted dissent, AGAIN refused to order the transfer of Kari Lake's Election Contest appeal from the Court of Appeals. In an Order issued in less than 24 hours after it the 2nd Petition was filed, Duty Justice John R. Lopez IV wrote that "the Court has no reason to doubt that the Court of Appeals appreciates Petitioner's desire for an expedited resolution".

Lake's attorneys tried to justify the request by noting that the Court of Appeals had vacated oral argument, and that that would "ope(n) the door to months of potential delay." In fact, the Court had never set an oral argument.

As noted below and elsewhere, Arizona's Law has repeatedly discussed the ways in which Lake and her attorneys have made decisions - or, the lack of decisions - which have substantially lengthened their appeals process. Today's example is that they waited until last night to file this 2nd petition. Nothing has changed in the past couple of weeks, and this request could have been filed back when the Court of Appeals pushed back the January 24 conference to February 1.

Not that they are predicting an outcome below, but the Supreme Court AGAIN told Lake that she can come back to them to seek "expedited review of an adverse decision after the Court of Appeals has had an adequate opportunity to consider the pleadings, conference the matter, and prepare a well-considered decision." (Justice Lopez also seems to acknowledge that there will not be oral argument before the Court of Appeals.)

BREAKING: Too Many Errors By Judge and Defendants - Lake Attorneys File Reply Brief and Motions In Election Contest, Still Having Trouble With Properly Expediting Appeal (READ Filings)

Kari Lake's attorneys have so much to say about the dismissal of her Election Contest that they are asking for an exception to the word count in their newly-filed Reply Brief. Surprisingly, they are also (just now) again asking the Arizona Supreme Court to grab the appeal from the intermediate level Court of Appeals.

Here is their raft of late night filings to both courts, below.

Asking to file a longer Brief than permitted by court rules is not unusual for complex cases. Lake's attorneys note that the Answering Briefs filed by the multiple defendants exceeded the 14,000 words each was permitted on their own, so Lake should be able to file 8,350 words - more than the 7,000 permitted in a Reply. 

More surprisingly, Lake waited until last night to again ask the Arizona Supreme Court to consider her appeal(s) immediately. This is the 2nd time they have asked, and neither has been done as immediately as possible and warranted in a truly emergency election appeal. Without dissent, the Supreme Court rejected the previous effort, although part of that was because the Justices noted the two different appeals which the attorneys had filed.

We have previously analyzed how this appeal likely would have been decided by the Arizona Supreme Court in the first week of Janauary if Lake's legal team followed court rules and longstanding best practices on election cases. 

Briefly, although Lake filed a Notice of Appeal shortly after the Superior Court case went against them early in the last week of December, they should have brought it to the appellate courts for expedited treatment that week. Instead, they waited until the long holiday weekend and inappropriately filed a 2nd appeal (the "Special Action") with the Court of Appeals. This delayed and confused things after New Year's, and helped prompt the Supreme Court to decline to grab it (i.e. choose to transfer it from the Court of Appeals to decide it more quickly).

Although we will review the Reply Brief more fully, it appears Lake is rehashing the laundry list previously presented of how Superior Court Judge Peter Thompson and defendants' attorneys just do not realize how bad the election was and all of the errors they made in the trial.

The three judge panel is slated to conference the case on Feb. 1. Because none of the parties asked for it, it is less likely the court will set a public oral argument on the case. And, we are not sure how quickly the Arizona Supreme Court will rule on this renewed motion for transfer.

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

This article was reported by AZ Law founder Paul Weich. Paul was 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.


Saturday, January 21, 2023

Gosar/Finchem/Kern To Appeals Court: We Shouldn't Have To Pay $75,000 Sanctions Because The First Amendment Was Her Defense (READ Brief)

Rep. Paul Gosar, new State Senator Anthony Kern and defeated Secretary of State candidate Mark Finchem have asked the Court of Appeals to reverse the $75,000 in sanctions they are liable for to former colleague Charlene Fernandez for a case involving their January 6 involvement. 

Several of their arguments are focused on the First Amendment - that the sanctions impinge on their First Amendment rights and, creatively, that sanctions are not appropriate because they should not have considered that Fernandez has First Amendment rights when filing the lawsuit - which the judge felt was "filed against a political opponent primarily for purposes of harassment".

Yuma County Superior Court Judge Levi Gunderson blasted the three amigos defamation lawsuit in his August Order (below). In their Opening Brief this past week (also below), the new attorneys for Finchem/Gosar/Kern tried to get the appellate panel to focus on the findings which Gunderson *declined* to include in his Order, in order to try to show how justified they were in filing the suit.

Kern/Finchem/Gosar claimed that Democrats in the State Legislature defamed them by putting out both a public statement and open letter to the FBI in January 2021, decrying the three Republicans' involvement in the January 6 events at the U.S. Capitol. They filed against then-Rep. Fernandez, but not the other Democrats who signed on. The new brief claims she had a "personal animus" against Finchem.

One of the legal arguments the trio make in the new Brief is that Judge Gunderson committed a reversible error in dismissing the case and then sanctioning them for filing a harassing lawsuit. The lawsuit was fine, the argument goes; it was Fernandez's First Amendment defense that made it dismissable. Do not sanction us for that! (In legalese: " Filing a lawsuit is not sanctionable merely because an opponent advances a dispositive and ultimately successful defense.")

(It should be noted that the three are using appellate attorneys from Broening Oberg, and not the attorneys who brought the case  which prompted the sanctions. The latter group included Bryan Blehm, who is representing Kari Lake in her Election Contest appeal.)

Finchem and/or his attorneys are also facing sanctions for two other quickly-dismissed lawsuits which he filed last year. Arizona's Law will be updating its much-watched "Sanctions Scoreboard" with all of the updates this coming week.

This article was reported by AZ Law founder Paul Weich. Paul was 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, January 17, 2023

BREAKING UPDATE: Phoenix Agrees In Court To STOP Enforcing NFL-Pushed Sign Restrictions Before Super Bowl (Arizona's Law Shorts)

1/18, 4:30pm: "Phoenix Agrees In Court To STOP Enforcing NFL-Pushed Sign Restrictions Before Super Bowl"

In a tacit agreement that its Super Bowl sign restrictions were unconstitutional, the City of Phoenix today agreed to a temporary injunction preventing it from enforcing the NFL-pushed ordinance until the City Council can meet next Wednesday to look at revising or repealing it.

The suit was brought last week by the Goldwater Institute on behalf of a property owner in downtown Phoenix who had tried to make some extra money by getting Coke or other corporations to advertise on his property. 

Last October, the City Council had passed an ordinance creating a "Clean Zone" in downtown during the weeks leading up to the "big game". Property owners in the area were required to get approval from the city AND the Super Bowl Host Committee and the NFL (National Football League).

Today's Order to Show Cause hearing went quickly, because of the city's agreement to not enforce it. The Council is scheduled to meet on Jan. 25, so Superior Court Judge Brad Astrowsky continued the hearing to Jan. 26. If necessary, the parties will make oral arguments as to the constitutionality of the ordinance.

Plaintiff's argument is that the participation of the NFL in telling the city what signs are okay with them permits "content based" restrictions on free speech.

Glendale has a similar Clean Zone agreement with the NFL, but no one has yet filed a lawsuit against it.

Here is the Complaint filed by property owner Bramley Paulin.


***
1/17, 9:30pm: "Judge REFUSES TO DISMISS Lawsuit Against Phoenix For Allowing Downtown Homeless Encampment"

The City of Phoenix has not taken actions to address the downtown homeless encampment. Today, a Maricopa County Superior Court Judge refused Phoenix's motion to dismiss a lawsuit brought by property owners in "the Zone".

The suit was filed in August, asking the Court to order Phoenix to "refrain from expanding, maintaining, and/or operating" the proliferation of tents and makeshift shelters. Phoenix tried to dismiss the case by arguing that the Complaint had not been set forth clearly, that existing law does not recognize a constitutionally protected liberty or property interest in “the protection of the laws,” and other arguments.

Judge Scott Blaney wrote in his 11-page minute entry that it would be inappropriate to dismiss any of the five counts at this stage of the case.

The area of Phoenix is informally referred to as “the Zone,” and encompasses an area roughly between 7th and 15th Avenues and between Van Buren and Grant Streets.

For more from the property owners and the city of Phoenix, here is an article from the Arizona Republic when the suit was filed.

"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: AZGOP Tells AZ Supreme Court To Ban Mail-In Voting Because People Are Able To Show Their Ballots To Others (READ Petition)

UPDATE, 2/2, 4pm: "AZGOP Tells AZ Supreme Court To Ban Mail-In Voting Because People Are Able To Show Their Ballots To Others (READ Petition)"

The Arizona GOP has told the Arizona Supreme Court that the state's long-standing mail-in voting laws are unconstitutional because the (GOP-dominated) Legislature has not put steps in place to prevent voters from waiving the secrecy of their early ballot.

The Republican Party failed to convince judges at the Superior Court or the Court of Appeals of their argument, but they are hoping the Supreme Court Justices will boldly go where the others did not.

"Both courts failed to recognize that, in order to preserve secrecy, it is not enough for the legislature to merely direct voters to fill out their ballots in secret. The legislature must also enact procedures by which voters are unable to mark their ballots in the presence of others even if individual voters desire to waive the secrecy of their own ballots."

The Supreme Court has the option to accept the appeal or to let the lower court's decision stand. The Petition was filed by attorneys Alex Kolodin (now a State Rep.) and attorneys at the firm he works at, and nationally-known law Professor Alan Dershowitz.

The AZGOP changed leadership on the day the Petition was filed. Arizona's Law has asked whether current Chair Jeff DeWit plans to substitute in for Kelli Ward and whether they plan to further pursue this and other litigation. We will update, as warranted.

Original article, 1/17, 12pm: "Appeals Court UPHOLDS Arizona's Mail-In Voting Laws, Blasts AZGOP/Kelli Ward Arguments (READ Decision)"

Arizona's mail-in voting system is not unconstitutional, the Court of Appeals ruled today, blasting a lawsuit filed last year by the Arizona Republican Party and Chairwoman Kelli Ward. The unanimous decision upholds the previous dismissal of the case.


New legislator Alexander Kolodin had filed the case for the AZGOP, along with nationally-known law professor Alan Dershowitz. They were claiming that mail-in ballots violated the Arizona Constitution's Secrecy Clause. Today's decision notes that Kolodin tried to back off of their original position during both briefing and oral arguments, suggesting now that the Secrecy Clause requires a "secure restricted zone around a voter who fills in a mail-in ballot."

The 11-page decision then blasts through three arguments made by Kolodin and Dershowitz*: (1) a 1992 U.S. Supreme Court decision upholding a Tennessee law allowing a 100-foot no electioneering zone outside polling places ("That holding does not suggest - let alone direct - how we interpret the Arizona Constitution's Secrecy Clause.... (I)ts suggestions are dicta and unpersuasive in this case."); (2) the AZ law prohibiting so-called ballot selfies taken at polling places but not in voters' homes; and (3) a previous AZ Supreme Court observation that mail-in ballots cannot be possessed by anyone other than the intended voter.

The Mohave County Superior Court judge dismissing the case was Lee Jantzen, and the unanimous decision was authored by Judge Cynthia Bailey.

Although Kolodin's new status as a lawmaker would not prevent the law firm from appealing the case to the Arizona Supreme Court, the January 28 election of a new AZGOP Chair might.

*The Court lists Dershowitz as "pro hac vice counsel", meaning that he is co-counsel approved to represent the plaintiffs/appellants in this case, but is not regularly admitted to practice in Arizona courts. In a companion case challenging another part of Arizona's elections, filed in federal court, Dershowitz is currently making the claim that he should not be sanctioned because he was *only* "of counsel" and/or a legal consultant.

"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, January 12, 2023

NEW: "Let Us Play, Too!" - Attorneys, Others Flood Arizona Courts With Kari Lake-Related Actions (READ filings)

Arizona appellate courts are getting peppered with legal filings from attorneys and individuals who think they can drag the Kari Lake election appeals across the finish line. Today, the Arizona attorney who failed to get an Election Contest for Senate Majority Sonny Borelli across the starting line filed an Amended Special Action Petition in his own name to the Arizona Supreme Court. (It is also unlikely to find the starting line.)

Ryan Heath asks the Justices to reverse the trial court's denial of Kari Lake's Election Contest, and explains that Lake's attorneys messed up by not presenting case law supporting his argument that Maricopa County did not properly check the signatures on early voting envelopes. (Confused? The Supreme Court Justices likely will be, as well.)

Meanwhile, the law firm responsible for several unsuccessful elections-related lawsuits - the Davillier Law Group - are trying to file their own "friend of the court" brief in Lake's consolidated appeal in the intermediate level. Although Alex Kolodin - now serving in the Arizona Legislature - did not sign on, his colleagues attached the entire transcript from his one of his unsuccessful post-2020 cases.

And, a self-styled non-attorney from Oregon has asked to intervene in Lake's appeals, claiming that Arizona's entire set of election laws is unconstitutional because some Arizona citizens might not consider themselves to be U.S. citizens. (Disclosure: I litigated several cases in the 1990s against so-called "sovereign citizens" and will not be publishing this man's writings. It is available in the court's files.)

It is very likely that the Supreme Court will quickly deny the Heath Special Action, especially in light of its decision last week to not allow the Lake appeal to skip the intermediate court. The Court of Appeals might not decide the two motions in front of it until its conference on February 1.

"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, January 9, 2023

ARIZONA'S LAW SHORTS: New AZ AG Mayes Brings In Dan Barr, Experienced Litigator, As Chief Deputy AG

Although there has not yet been an official announcement, Arizona's Law can confirm that experienced litigator Dan Barr will become the Chief Deputy AG in new Attorney General Kris Mayes's office. Barr today filed a notice of withdrawal from representing private citizen Mayes in the Abe Hamadeh Election Contest in Mohave County.

Barr has been practicing at Perkins Coie, and litigating cases in the area of civil litigation involving constitutional, employment, media and political law issues. He has practiced law for more than 30 years, and also represents the First Amendment Coalition of Arizona and several news media organizations.

Barr tells Arizona's Law that he will start on the 17th, and that he's making the move "to make a difference" in our state.

"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, UPDATE: Maricopa County Sheriff Penzone APPEALS CIVIL CONTEMPT Order (READ Notice and Order)

UPDATE, 1/16, 4pm: The Opening Brief from the MCSO will be due April 19, with briefing completed in June.

Original article, 1/9, 3pm: "Maricopa County Sheriff Penzone APPEALS CIVIL CONTEMPT Order (READ Notice and Order)"

Maricopa County Sheriff Paul Penzone today appealed the latest civil contempt Order in the long-running Melendres civil rights case first brought against then-Sheriff Joe Arpaio. U.S. District Court Judge G. Murray Snow found Penzone in civil contempt because the backlog for internal investigations has continued to "balloon" despite Penzone's knowledge of it and despite there being budgets for additional personnel to deal with the backlog.

Snow found that for each month that the MCSO's Professional Standards Bureau does not reduce the backlog by at least 20 cases, the County has to pay more than $380,000 into a staffing fund. That amount is double what the MCSO told the court the annual cost to assign a sergeant to the Bureau.

The internal investigations are supposed to be completed within 85 days, but the most recent average is 500 days and there are 1,800 complaints in the queue. In his November contempt order (below), Judge Snow was upset that the backlog is "ballooning".

This contempt finding was not the best way for anyone to mark this case's 15th birthday in December. And, this is now the 10th time this case has been appealed to the 9th Circuit.

The Melendres case was brought by civil rights groups in 2007, when the MCSO was led by Sheriff Joe Arpaio. It detailed that the department was racially profiling Latinos in an effort to find immigrants in the U.S. illegally. A court monitor was hired to ensure that the MCSO was remedying related problems.

In 2016, Arpaio was found to be in criminal contempt of court for ignoring parts of the Court's orders. He was pardoned by then-President Donald Trump before the conviction became official and a sentence issued.

Penzone inherited the case and the court monitor when he defeated Arpaio in the 2016 election.

"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, January 3, 2023

BREAKING: Hamadeh (& His New Attorney) Tells Judge That Mayes' Swearing In Frees Him Up To "Conduct A Complete Contest" (READ)

UPDATE, 10pm: "Hamadeh (& His New Attorney) Tells Judge That Mayes' Swearing In Frees Him Up To "Conduct A Complete Contest"

Hamadeh has filed his Motion for a New Trial tonight, claiming that now that Kris Mayes has been sworn in as Arizona's Attorney General, the court now has time to "conduct a complete contest." 

Hamadeh's and the RNC's attorneys - including new co-counsel Alexander Kolodin - cite events subsequent to their failure to present evidence on most of their alleged counts as reason to re-open the proceedings. Pinal County's discovery of previously-uncounted ballots and testimony in Kari Lake's failed Election Contest lawsuit should give Hamadeh a second bite at the apple.

Hamadeh's claim is that Judge Lee Jantzen is now released from the "artificial timetable over concerns of interfering with the transfer of power." (However, in relying upon the 1917 example of Arizona's governor's race, Hamadeh glosses over the timetable set forth in the current statutes for Election Contests.)

A Response from Defendants is due in two weeks.

Original article, 1/3, 4:45pm: "BREAKING: Sanctions Motion Filed Against Hamadeh/RNC/Counsel For Failed Election Contest; No Sign Of Hamadeh Motion For New Trial (READ)"

"This case should never have been brought."

Abe Hamadeh, the Republican National Committee and their counsel should be sanctioned for their failed lawsuit claiming he had defeated Democrat Kris Mayes for Arizona Attorney General. In addition to being responsible for Mayes' attorneys' fees in defending the Mohave County Election Contest, they are asking that the sanction include a penalty of $5,000.

The Motion - which attorney Dan Barr confirmed to Arizona's Law was filed earlier today (and which is published below) - details several instances in which Hamadeh's counsel delayed pretrial proceedings, which forced defendants to incur additional fees. It also claims that attorney Tim LaSota should have dismissed four out of the five counts well before trial, when it was apparent he did not have any evidence to present - opposing counsel was forced to prepare for trial on those counts.

Hamadeh only presented evidence on one of the counts, and acknowledged in closing arguments that he had not proven enough votes to change the outcome. (LaSota then, unsuccessfully, asked Mohave County Superior Court Judge Lee Jantzen to alter the vote totals to account for some disputed adjudications.)

Earlier today, Hamadeh claimed on social media that he was filing a Motion for New Trial, based on the subsequently-learned information that Pinal County located more votes for him during the recount. He believes that then-Secretary of State Katie Hobbs inappropriately hid that information from Judge Jantzen (before the recount court hearing was held).

As of this hour, Barr indicates that he has not received Hamadeh's motion. Arizona's Law previously asked LaSota to send a copy, but we have not yet received it.

"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.

UPDATE: If at first three times you don't succeed... (READ Heath Motion)

  UPDATE, 2/3, 12pm: If at first three times you don't succeed... Original, 2/1, 5:15pm: " AZ Supreme Court, Court of Appeals Both...