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  1. #1
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    Bar's witch hunt

    Bar's witch hunt
    The Arizona Republic
    Jun. 8, 2008 12:00 AM

    Some months ago, Maricopa County Attorney Andrew Thomas went overboard, in our judgment, in enforcing a new voter-approved law meant to identify illegal immigrants accused of crimes.

    Now, it is his political opponents' turn to fly out of control.

    The Arizona Bar Association's multiple ethics investigations of Thomas - and, indeed, anyone who dares to defend him - are looking more and more like witch hunts. Driven by its hostility to the county attorney, the state Bar is using its enormous power to control the legal profession - including prosecutors such as Thomas - to enforce a patently political agenda.

    That is not how Bar associations are supposed to work. And the Arizona Supreme Court, the ultimate barometer of legal probity in this state, needs to leash the state Bar's hounds.

    The latest - and most outlandish - example of the state Bar's political overreach against Thomas involves a former Bar president, attorney Ernest Calderón, who made the foolish mistake of reviewing the Bar's ethics investigations against Thomas.

    Calderón, who as a state Bar official has reviewed hundreds of ethics complaints, was asked by Thomas to review the secret complaints filed against him. Calderón agreed. So, too, did several other legal experts. And, after more than a month of review, Calderón wrote in a letter to the Supreme Court that none of the 13 complaints met the Bar's standard threshold for an ethics violation. Indeed, all of Thomas' legal experts concluded the complaints were unwarranted.

    The Phoenix attorney - a Democrat who never voted for the Republican Andrew Thomas and who opposes his immigration stands - immediately paid a price for his judgments. Late last month, the state Bar's governing board opted unanimously to not reappoint Calderón to the American Bar Association's House of Delegates, a prestigious national position Calderón has held since 2004.

    Lest anyone doubt the decision was made to punish a Thomas "supporter," state Bar President Dan McAuliffe sure sounded like it was payback.

    "Maybe he shouldn't have filed the affidavit," said McAuliffe, referring to Calderón's analysis of the Thomas investigations.

    There are not many Thomas critics in this Valley that have been as discouraged with the county attorney's policies and practices than this newspaper.

    We have said so many times, and we have the outraged letters from his defenders to prove it. In short, we recommended him for office in 2004, and, since then, he has worked hard on multiple fronts to make us regret it.

    But on this matter, Thomas is not wrong. The county attorney claims to have spent - wasted, really - $300,000 of tax money in defending the state Bar charges against him and has redirected uncounted man-hours by staff and county lawyers that should have been spent in the pursuit of criminals.

    Of the 10 remaining anti-Thomas investigations (three reportedly have been dropped), just one or two appear to have any substance and don't feel larded with political animosity. And even those largely involve an out-of-control special prosecutor hired by Thomas than the county attorney himself.

    The conflict between Thomas and the state Bar began over the 2006 statewide ballot measure known as Proposition 100, which required the denial of bail for illegal immigrants. Most of the legal community opposed Proposition 100, which Thomas, an ardent opponent of illegal immigration, supported.

    Thomas claims to have evidence that a group of retired judges and others enjoined the state Bar to "do something" about his efforts to enforce the new law.

    This newspaper strongly opposed Proposition 100, too. We also objected to the "war" Thomas seemed to be inciting to force the courts to abide by the proposition. We thought he went too far.

    But unethical? In attempting to enforce a law?

    Thomas has asked the state Supreme Court to intervene and perhaps even take over the investigation itself.

    For once, we have to say the county attorney has a fine idea there.


    http://www.azcentral.com/arizonarepubli ... n1-08.html
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  2. #2
    Senior Member Dixie's Avatar
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    Calderón, who as a state Bar official has reviewed hundreds of ethics complaints, was asked by Thomas to review the secret complaints filed against him.
    I would really like to know who is doing all of this.

    Dixie
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  3. #3
    Senior Member azwreath's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dixie
    Calderón, who as a state Bar official has reviewed hundreds of ethics complaints, was asked by Thomas to review the secret complaints filed against him.
    I would really like to know who is doing all of this.

    Dixie



    Given that all of this erupted over an issue to do with illegal immigration, one can surmise that the usual suspects in the pro-illegal circles are behind it. I would also not doubt for one minute if our governor and her friends within the Mexican government are involved as well.
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