Court rules that Supervisors must return County Attorney’s Civil Division

A m e r i c a n  P o s t – G a z e t t e

Distributed by C O M M O N  S E N S E , in Arizona

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Judge rules that Supervisors can’t make up fake ethical conflicts to steal Civil Division away

Supervisors will have to disband the new “Shadow County Attorney’s Office” in-house law firm they created

The corrupt Maricopa County Supervisors may have found an ally on the Superior Court, Judge Donald Daughton, to uphold their initial power grab when they stole the County Attorney’s entire Civil Division away last year, but a Court of Appeals panel has now reversed that decision in favor of Andrew Thomas, the former County Attorney. The Supervisors have a cozy relationship with the lower Superior Court court judges due to sharing the same attorney (Tom Irvine, former attorney for the Democrat Party), and the Supervisors control over the Superior Court judges’ budgets.

Thomas appealed that decision and fortunately the Court of Appeals did the right thing and ruled that the Supervisors must return the Civil Division and disband their new in-house Shadow County Attorney’s Office. Reports have increasiningly surfaced that other county agencies were unhappy being represented by the Supervisors’ new illegal law firm instead of the County Attorney. The Supervisors were not permitting a single county agency to use the County Attorney’s Office as required by law, they forced them all to report to their shadowy office.

Court of Appeals judge John Gemmill wrote in part,

“We conclude that when the county attorney has conflicts of interest that render him ‘unavailable’ to represent the county in certain matters, the board may retain outside counsel to advise the board in those matters.” But, he wrote, the county could not “divest the county attorney on a wholesale basis of his duty and authority to represent the county in civil litigation, as the board has done here.”

“The Board of Supervisors must bear in mind that when the county attorney follows the ethical rules in his relationship as attorney for Maricopa County and the Board of Supervisors, his office will then be the appropriate attorney of record for Maricopa County in those cases in which no conflict of interest exists.”

Three County Attorneys agreed with the decision: newly elected Bill Montgomery, interim County Attorney Rick Romley, and former County Attorney Andrew Thomas.

Thomas said, “This ruling makes clear that the Board of Supervisors and their attorneys at the time, including Rick Romley, engaged in an illegal and expensive power grab that forced me to file suit.”

Romley said, “”The most unfortunate thing is that the board moved so aggressively and took away powers and resources and created a whole new department that now needs to be eliminated. The bottom line for me is, I think it’s good government. It’s checks and balances.”

But according to an article in the Arizona Republic, the County Supervisors have no intention of returning the Civil Division. In fact, a press release they issued sounded delusional, ” The Arizona Court of Appeals has vindicated the actions taken by the Board of Supervisors to deal with the outrageous ethical conflicts of discredited former County Attorney Andrew Thomas.”

How long will the Supervisors continue wasting thousands of our taxpayer dollars feuding with other county agencies? They continue to spend a lot of time and our money “investigating” Sheriff Arpaio, but nothing ever goes anywhere. When they are up for reelection in two years, vote them out and elect a completely new slate.

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  1. Conservative one says:

    The current batch of county supervisors is crooked to the core. I’ve met former employees who quit working there because they literally became ill having to work in that oppressive environment daily, seeing the unethical things going on around them yet unable to do anything about it. I predict this all unravels eventually around the supervisors, they can’t hide illegal activity forever behind a facade of investigating Arpaio. The law will catch up with them.

  2. The BOS had the best Attorney they could have and they got rid of him. We are going to vote the whole bunch out.

  3. Arizona Ranger says:


    The day is not too far off when we can remove the current bunch of corrupt and completely unethical people from OUR Board of Supervisors! The recent Federal Courts ruling is just one more reason, in a very LONG list, to completely replace the corrupt and unethical people who populate OUR Board of Supervisors!

    And once again: ANDY WAS RIGHT!

    We wish Andy Thomas the very best in his new job as an attorney in private practice. He deserves our support and our business. Do something to feel good about-refer a friend to Andy Thomas when they ask: “Do you know a good lawyer?”

    And as delusional as always, the BOS has tried to put a positive “spin” on this ruling!! They are living in a world filled with rationalization and denial–but that little world is soon to be changed completely as we flush the human debris down the drain!

  4. No doubt!

    Andy and Joe will be vindicated

  5. Quite often I enjoy this blog, but I feel that I must respectfully disagree on this one element of this issue.

    For decades Tom Irvine has represented conservatives just as ardently as he has represented anyone else. He has often done this for free or at drastically reduced rates. Many prominent conservatives are in office today, because Tom represented or added them in some small way.

    Early on in my short career as an elected official I was often ridiculed, criticized and openly humiliated by those I worked with. It was one of the most unbearable experiences of my life. I would not wish that on my worst enemy.

    What made it bearable is the respect that was afforded to me by Tom Irvine. We often disagree on issues but he always defended my right to have and represent those views, on your behalf. To the best of my knowledge, not once did he receive enumeration from me or through my vote.

    The thing that I have loved about being a conservative is that we have always followed the principles and not the people. It is why we are not persuaded by candidates that would otherwise do us harm.

    Sometimes those lines are thin. I certainly see issues here. However, public attacks on non-elected officials are not helpful to our cause.

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