Wednesday, May 29, 2024

SANCTION* SCOREBOARD UPDATE: AZ Schools Supt Horne NAILED For $117,540 In Failed Dual-Language Immersion Lawsuit

Arizona Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Horne failed in his lawsuit to challenge the 50-50 Dual Language Immersion model approved by the State Board of Education, and now he is responsible for $117,540.50 in the opposing parties' legal fees.

Maricopa County Superior Court Judge Katherine Cooper issued that decision today, after dismissing the case in March for being wholly without merit. "For all of these reasons – the lack of express statutory authority, implied authority, standing, and legal precedent – Superintendent Horne cannot bring this lawsuit against these Defendant Parties."

Horne brought the suit against the Creighton School District, several other districts, Governor Katie Hobbs and Attorney General Kris Mayes. When one governmental official (etc) sues another and loses, he is automatically responsible for the other sides' legal fees.

Judge Cooper awarded the fees as requested by the Governor and AG, $37,877.50 and $38,360, respectively. However, she cut the request by the 10 school districts in half (approximately), because she was unable to reconcile how the law firm (Gust Rosenfeld) had tried to divvy up the fees and it ended up being substantially more than the Governor and AG (for the same tasks).

Horne was represented by John and Dennis Wilenchik.

*The judge awarded the amounts pursuant to A.R.S. §12-348.01. It requires the judge to "award reasonable attorney fees to the successful party". The common definition of "sanction" applies. Plus, in this case, the judge found the lawsuit to be so improperly brought that it makes the term more appropriate than in cases where it is a close decision.

This article was reported by AZ Law founder Paul Weich. 

"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, May 22, 2024

UPDATE: Hamadeh and Attorney Ready To Post $209,000 Cash Bond, Court of Appeals Dismisses (First) Appeal

Update, 6/10, 4pm: "UPDATE: Hamadeh and Attorney Ready To Post $209,000 Cash Bond, Court of Appeals Dismisses (First) Appeal"

Abe Hamadeh, attorney Ryan Heath and the other Plaintiffs indicated that they are ready to post a $209,000 cash bond on Friday while they appeal the dismissal of their election-related case and the sanctions imposed. However, the Court of Appeals today REJECTED their first appeal.

Chief Judge David Gass explained that the appeal from the initial dismissal of the case was premature because the sanctions issue had not been decided, and that the Superior Court's order should not have included language saying it was an appealable final judgment (Rule 54(b)).

As it turns out, Superior Court Judge Susanna Pineda signed the Order prepared by Heath, and that the Defendants (Secretary of State Adrian Fontes, Attorney General Kris Mayes, and Maricopa County) had objected to the Order including the 54(b) language.

Hamadeh/Heath/Crosby/Mast filed a second Notice of Appeal last week after the sanctions were levied (see below). (Hypothetically, the Court of Appeals could have seen that the 2nd Notice of Appeal was coming and could have waited or combined them. They did not do that - although it was apparently in the record they received from Superior Court.)

Separately, Heath filed a Stipulation (agreed to by all of the defendants) on Friday to allow them to post a cash bond of (approximately) $209,000 to prevent any garnishments or actions.

Update, 5/30, 9am: "BREAKING, SANCTIONS SCOREBOARD UPDATE: Hamadeh, Heath, etc Hit With $210,000 In Sanctions For Dismissed Cases"

(Correction and clarification: Only attorney Heath is (jointly and severally) liable for all $209,796 in sanctions. Hamadeh is (jointly and severally) liable for $96,350 of it. And, Tom Crosby and David Mast are each (jointly and severally) liable for $113,446. Jointly and severally liable means that the judgment creditors - Maricopa County, the Arizona Secretary of State and Attorney General - can collect all of the money from any one of the liable persons, or it can be split among them.)

Candidate Abe Hamadeh, his co-plaintiffs and their attorney, have been hit with $210,000 in sanctions for two dismissed lawsuits they filed in an effort to overturn the 2022 election results and make him Attorney General.

Superior Court Judge Susanna Pineda signed the judgment this morning specifying how much they have to pay to Maricopa County, the Attorney General and the Governor for forcing them to defend the lawsuits. Hamadeh and attorney Ryan Heath are each responsible for the $96,350 racked up in one case, while Heath and Cochise County Supervisor Tom Crosby and David Mast - who were only co-plaintiffs in one case - are each responsible for $113,446.

Hamadeh, Crosby, Mast and Heath appealed the dismissals last month, and also tried to get the Supreme Court to consider it as a Special Action. The Supreme Court quickly declined, and the Court of Appeals appeal is still in its early stages.



***********

Original article, 5/22: "BREAKING: Abe Hamadeh and Attorney Again Try Double-Barreled Approach To Reversing 2022 Election, File Appeal and Special Action"


Abe Hamadeh is campaigning for a Congressional seat, while he is still legally campaigning to have (multiple) courts reverse the 2022 election and make him Attorney General.

Both Hamadeh and his attorney in this effort, Ryan Heath, have previously filed unsuccessful Special Action Petitions with the Arizona Supreme Court. And, the new one filed yesterday appears headed for a similar fate.

This one follows the April dismissal of the Hamadeh/Heath joint effort (sanctions still pending). Heath immediately filed the Notice of Appeal to go to the intermediate Court of Appeals, and yesterday filed with the Arizona Supreme Court.

The Justices rejected Heath's Petition last year, although that was slightly different - Heath was trying to skip both the Superior and Appeals courts. In Hamadeh's actual Election Contest, his attorneys filed an unsucccssful Special Action Petition at the Supreme Court to try to unstick a final dismissal from the Superior Court judge.

Heath tells Arizona's Law that he is more optimistic about this Petition's fate, and that he addressed the Special Action rules about only going to the Supreme Court in a footnote.

Substantively, the Petition is again claiming that Maricopa County 

This article was reported by AZ Law founder Paul Weich. 

"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 14, 2024

BREAKING: DISMISSED! Republican National Committee and AZGOP Lose Challenge to Arizona's Election Procedures Manual

The Republican National Committee has been boasting about all of the pre-2024 election lawsuits it has filed around the country. This morning, one of their Arizona cases came to an early demise.

The RNC - and the AZGOP and Yavapai Republicans - challenged the entire Election Procedures Manual and several of the provisions in it. After briefing and hours of oral argument two weeks ago, Maricopa County Superior Court Judge Frank Moskowitz dismissed the entire case.

This is the first* decision from the three separate lawsuits challenging the guide that, by law, is drafted by Secretary of State Adrian Fontes's office and then approved by both the Governor and Attorney General. (Not coincidentally, for the first time ever, all three are Democrats.)

In his seven-page Minute Entry (below), Moskowitz expressed concerns about whether the plaintiffs had standing to bring the case and whether they should have brought it earlier (laches). However, he did NOT rule on those, instead detailing why he did not believe that the process of approving the EPM was either subjected to or violated the separate Administrative Procedures Act, and that the specific challenged provisions (e.g. documentary proof of citizenship, database checking, treatment of out of precinct provisional ballots) did not contradict Arizona stattues.

There is not yet word on whether the Republican party organizations will appeal the decision once it becomes final.

* Three weeks ago, Yavapai County Superior Court Judge John Napper granted summary judgment disposing of twin cases that challenged the dropbox and signature verification portions of the EPM. However, those cases pre-dated the new EPM and challenged the previous (2019) version.

"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, May 9, 2024

BREAKING: 1864 Abortion Ban Temporarily STAYED By AZ Supreme Court Thru Aug. 12, To Permit Possible Appeal To U.S. Supreme Court ORDER: http://tinyurl.com/AZlaw1864-2

The Arizona Supreme Court today granted Arizona Attorney General Kris Mayes' request for a 90-day stay on allowing the 1864 total abortion ban to go back into effect. The earliest the ban could be enforceable is now August 12, and the Justices stated that they might consider future delays.

Although there was no dissent to today's Order, it states that a majority of the six* Justices approved the decision.

Mayes had asked for time to consider filing an appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court, and Planned Parenthood - along with Pima County Attorney Laura Conover - had asked for a stay because of the eventual repeal of the 1864 law by the Arizona Legislature.

This means that Arizona is currently under the 15-week abortion ban previously passed by the Legislature, with several other possibilities currently in limbo:

(1) The 1864 total ban could still go into effect if the Court's stay expires and the Legislature has not completed their session - the repeal would not go into effect until 90 days after "sine die" (adjournment); 

(2) Republican legislative leaders are urging a federal court to lift the stay on their previously-passed "personhood" law (which would be akin to a total ban); 

(3) a coalition of groups is preparing to submit several hundred thousand petition signatures to place a proposed constitutional amendment on the November ballot that would protect abortion rights based largely on the now-repealed Roe v Wade concept of "viability".

* Justice Bill Montgomery has recused himself from considering the case.

**************

UPDATE: "1864 Abortion Ban Repeal, What Repeal?" Yavapai County Atty Tells Supreme Court Legislature Wants AZ's 1864 Ban In Place For the Next Several Months

Less than 24 hours after the Arizona Supreme Court was told that the Legislature wants the 1864 abortion ban in place for the next several months, Planned Parenthood told the Justices today that that is practically and legally "absurd".

The back and forth comes as the Justices are considering requests to delay allowing the Court's opinion to go into effect in the next 90 days. On Tuesday, counsel for Yavapai County Attorney Dennis McGrane and Dr. Eric Hazelrigg suggested (below) that the Legislature purposely did not repeal the 1864 ban with an emergency clause because they wanted the ban in effect (until 90 days after the Legislature closes their 2024 session - which is not expected anytime soon.)

(Arizona's Law has also noted that the GOP legislative leaders argued to a federal judge that he should lift the stay on their previously-passed "personhood" law. That law would amount to a new abortion ban, and the GOP made that argument the day before the Arizona Supreme Court's decision in Planned Parenthood.)

Planned Parenthood's Reply (below) notes that the Legislature's silence is not determinative.

"True, H.B. 2677 doesn’t contain an emergency clause. But that says nothing about any potential limited period of enforcement against the backdrop of a statute that’s been unenforceable for all but a few weeks out of the past 51 years. That’s because “[s]ilence in and of itself, in the absence of any indication that the legislature has considered the interpretation, is not instructive. A rule of statutory construction that requires us to presume that such silence is an expression of legislative intent is somewhat artificial and arbitrary.”

The Reply also disputes McGrane's other arguments that the stay automatically lifted on April 23 and that the Court should reject the delay request based on the same framework they would consider a preliminary injunction.

"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 House Speaker Toma & Senate Pres. Petersen Waived Leg Privilege, Must Sit For Depos In Transgender Sports Case; But, Minor Girls Do, Too

In a twist this afternoon, a judge issued an Order compelling Arizona House Speaker Ben Toma and Senate President Warren Petersen to sit for...