Friday, June 18, 2010

Former Maricopa County Attorney Andrew Thomas: They're Out to Get Me!

Readers of Bad Lawyer know that I think Andrew Thomas (pic) is one very shady character having supplied legal "big guns" to Sheriff Joe Arapio during Arpaio's reign of terror costing the taxpayers of Maricopa County, Az beau coup bucks in damages, lost county services, lost county time and resources, frivolous lawsuits and malicious prosecution of officeholders--ultimately, resulting in the Supreme Court of Az stepping up and appointing a special master to supervise all of the legal activities of Thomas and Arpaio.  As you will recall I predicted on Bad Lawyer that at the end of the day Thomas will lose his license. 

Undaunted, Thomas did such a good job, in his opinion--he wants the voters of Arizona to elect him statewide as Arisona's next attorney general.  Now the Arizona Republic is reporting that Thomas is complaining that the mysterious forces are "conspiring" via a State disciplinary investigation to thwart his ambitions to lead Arizona.  Here's an excerpt from Michael Kiefer's story:

"[T}he chief justice of Arizona ordered an inquiry into Thomas' behavior after a Superior Court judge ruled he acted unethically in his prosecution of Maricopa County Supervisor Mary Rose Wilcox. Since then, several other complaints have been lodged against Thomas with the state Bar, including one by an association of defense attorneys. In an interview with The Arizona Republic, Thomas and his former attorney in the matter, Ernest Calderón, alleged that:

• The special investigator appointed by the Arizona Supreme Court was told there would be 'a predetermined result.'
• The investigator, John Gleason, full-time counsel to the Colorado Supreme Court Attorney Regulation Commission, refuses to fully divulge the nature of complaints against Thomas, thus hindering Thomas' ability to respond.
• Calderón was fired by county managers, who were paying his bills, to hinder Thomas' defense.
• The cards were stacked against Thomas from the start. As proof, Calderón noted that Scott Rhodes, an ethics expert, has been retained by interim County Attorney Rick Romley and just won an award from the state Bar. Rhodes was appointed by the high court to investigate Thomas, but he turned down the appointment when Thomas suggested he had conflicts of interest.

Gleason, the state Bar and the Supreme Court all deny any collaboration against Thomas. 'Unequivocally, there is no conspiracy against Andrew Thomas,' said John Phelps, the Bar's chief executive officer. 'Everything we have done is to protect the process and to ensure that Andrew Thomas' rights would be protected.'

The state Bar is a quasi-governmental organization that licenses and polices attorneys in Arizona. Calderón claimed that Gleason has refused to cooperate with Thomas' attorneys, a contention echoed in correspondence to Gleason from Eric Dowell, who remains Thomas' attorney in the Bar matter. A letter sent by Dowell on Monday states that Gleason 'abruptly ended our conversation by slamming down the telephone.'

Calderón and Thomas think it's a conspiracy. "I can only speculate that he came down here and talked to some powers that be and they said, 'You don't understand, we have a predetermined result we need to get to,' " Calderón said.

When reached, Gleason said that he would not respond to the conspiracy claim Gleason denied that he has refused to share with Thomas' attorney the allegations against him. 'How can I possibly investigate allegations against a lawyer if they don't know what has been alleged?' he asked.

Thomas also complained to The Republic that Gleason, a Colorado resident, spent three weeks at the Arizona Biltmore resort while conducting his investigation. Thomas wanted to know who paid for it and why Gleason had stayed at such an expensive resort. Gleason said he obtained a rate of $89 per night and pointed out that he is charging $40 per hour for his services - hundreds of dollars less than the going rate for attorneys.

Jennifer Liewer, a spokeswoman for the Arizona Supreme Court, said, 'John Gleason is a highly experienced and professional discipline investigator. He has regulated Colorado lawyers and judges for more than 22 years for the Colorado Supreme Court. In his extensive years of experience,' she said, 'he knows that, in some cases, lawyers under investigation employ a number of defense tactics including delay and attacking the investigator.'

'He will continue to conduct a fair and impartial investigation, regardless of pressure or attacks from any party involved. However, because rules require confidentially at this point, he will not violate them by responding to any specific issues raised at this time by anyone involved in the matter.'Phelps said Rhodes' consulting work with Romley's office has nothing to do with the Bar. Most of the allegations against Thomas focus on the last two years of his tenure as county attorney, including his prosecutions of county supervisors and Superior Court judges.

Thomas has come under ethical scrutiny before. In spring 2008, several complaints were filed against him involving a contracted attorney who confronted a judge over bail for illegal immigrants, and because of circumstances surrounding the arrests of two New Times editors. Thomas protested unsuccessfully to the Supreme Court to try to stop that investigation. All of the complaints eventually were dismissed."
As I said before, Thomas is in big trouble, the Arizona Supreme Court should have but an end to Thomas' antics when the Arizona New Times (Maricopa County just paid $40,000 in attorney fees to the New Times last week over some nonsense--when the editors) brought legitimate charges against Thomas previously.  The AZ Supreme Court did not act then and matters became so attenuated that millions of tax dollars have been flushed down the drain trying to maintain the rule of law in one of this Country's biggest metropolitan counties.  I doubt that the Arizona Supreme Court will fail to act this time.

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