Sarah Fenske of New Times reports that defense attorneys are filing motions asking that County Attorney Andy Thomas and his whole office be disqualified from handling criminal prosecutions. It's a consequence of bringing civil RICO actions against a few judges and bringing ciminal charges against another. Fenske cuts to the chase:
Will they worry that if they rule against Thomas, they'll be charged criminally, too? Will they placate the crazy county attorney just to stay out of the limelight?Attorney Richard Gaxiola, apparently the first to file one of these motions, put it this way.
Clearly, the appropriate procedure is to disqualify the MCAO from any further prosecution and allow the federal complaint and [charges against Donahoe] to run their legal course. This would ensure the reinstatement of the public's trust in our judiciary and Arizona criminal justice system.The motions seem to be getting at least some traction.
On a Wednesday, according to court transcripts obtained by New Times, Maricopa County Superior Court Judge John Hanna put it on the record in every case he heard that some court staff had been visited at their homes by sheriff's deputies. He also made note of the motion that Gaxiola had filed to disqualify the County Attorney's Office in an unrelated case.To which Fenske added her own comment:
"The record should reflect that the court is going to hold a hearing on this motion, and the result of this motion may affect cases that the court hears," Hanna said, according to the transcript.
"Obviously, that motion is not before the Court in any of these cases that are being heard today, so we'll just have to let that litigation take its course.
"But I want everybody to know that it's possible that the continued ability of the Maricopa County Attorney's Office to represent the state in criminal cases, at least in this court, may be -- may well be at issue."
Damn!As the Wasilaw Wonder might say, "You betcha."
Meanwhile, Monday is the rally. Here's the press release:
(Phoenix, Arizona) On Monday, December 21, 2009 at 12:15 p.m. concerned lawyers from Maricopa County will hold a rally in the Public Square in front of the Central Court Building of the Maricopa County Superior Court, 201 West Jefferson, Phoenix, Arizona. The rally will consist of speakers, a mass re-affirmation of the Lawyer’sAttorney Thomas Ryan is listed as the contact person. (I'm not printing his phone number.)
Oath, a moment of silence and the singing of God Bless America.
We, the concerned lawyers of Maricopa County have been sworn to uphold and defend our Constitution against all enemies, both foreign and domestic. Today our State and Federal Constitutions are being trampled upon by a domestic enemy,
Maricopa County Attorney Andrew Payton Thomas. County Attorney Thomas has violated his Oath of Office and his Lawyer’s Oath to uphold and maintain the integrity and independence of the judiciary. This domestic enemy of our Constitution has done so through his intentional and systematic intimidation and harassment of our leading judges. On Monday we will rally in defense of a free and independent
judiciary and call County Attorney Andrew Thomas to task for his abuse of power.
We invite all lawyers, and indeed, all concerned citizens of Arizona to attend and lend their support to this important cause.
I'm told that Rich Robertson, described to me as "former TV newsman, turned investigation expert for the Criminal Defense Bar in Phoenix," is responsible for this paraphrase.
When they abused and ridiculed Maricopa County jail inmates, I remained silent, because I was not an inmate. When they went after opposing candidates, I remained silent, because it was just politics. When they arrested journalists, I remained silent, because it was just the New Times and they deserved it.Ron Wood, Arizona criminal defense attorney, was kind enough to give me both the press release and Robertson's statement, and give me leave to publish them here.
Then they went after people who are brown; activists who applauded; civil libertarians who walked through parking lots; mayors and police chiefs who questioned policies; county supervisors who controlled budgets; judges who invoked separation of powers; and defense attorneys who tried to enforce the constitution.
Soon, there may be no one left to speak out for me."
It's time to take a stand against the tyranny of Sheriff Joe Arpaio and County Attorney Andrew Thomas.