Clarification on AG Mark Brnovich and rape lawsuit

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

Tuesday,  February 10th, 2015

New Attorney General did not file objection to victim suing prison over rape

An Assistant Attorney General under former AG Tom Horne filed the motion to dismiss before Brnovich even took office

Arizona’s new attorney General, Mark Brnovich, has been attacked in the media for supposedly objecting to a teacher’s lawsuit against a prison for being raped while visiting. The Phoenix New Times looked into it, and here is some of what they uncovered:

Note the names and the date

Roxana Bacon really should know better.

A former president of the Arizona State Bar, she recently penned an op-ed for the Arizona Republic, wherein she blasted state Attorney General Mark Brnovich for a blame-the-victim “you asked for it” opinion of rape.

“In Brnovich’s view,” she wrote, “prisons are places where guards and administrators have no responsibility to maintain safety or protect its citizens. If there is no duty to protect, we should not be surprised that there is no protection. Under Brnovich’s view of Arizona’s law, his only duty is to post signs that say `enter at your own risk.'”

That would be outrageous if it were true. But it’s not.

See, Bacon and other wrong-way opinionators are blasting the new Republican AG for an argument he didn’t make, in a case he inherited from the administration of Attorney General Tom Horne.

It involves a civilian worker for the Arizona Department of Corrections, who was brutally raped when left alone and unprotected as she administered pre-GED tests to inmates at the state prison in Eyman.

 

The woman is suing in federal court, and I hope she gets every penny coming to her.

The AG’s office is representing the ADC, as it is required to under state law.

In December, Assistant Attorney General Jonathan Weisbard, who has been with the AG’s office since 2011 (though he was admitted to the bar in 1988, and may have worked for the AG before), submitted a motion to dismiss the case, using an argument that I’m sure he regrets now.

In the filing, Weisbard writes:

Here, Plaintiff is an ADOC employee who routinely worked at the prison complex. By being placed in a classroom at the complex, the officers were not placing Plaintiff in any type of situation that she would not normally face. The risk of harm, including assault, always existed at a prison like Eyman.

U.S. District Court Judge Susan Bolton has since denied the motion, following oral arguments earlier this week.

Many rightly have been outraged by the language in Weisbard’s filing.

However, Bacon and various individuals on Twitter and Facebook wrongly have asserted that Brnovich himself made this argument or at the very least approves of it.

Indeed, to read Bacon’s op-ed, you’d think it was the policy of Brnovich’s office to blame victims of rape for their victimhood.

She also unfairly lumped Brnovich in with purveyors of “right-wing rhetoric” about rape, a clear attempt to “Todd Akin” the AG.

In another ridiculous passage, she writes:

So what would Brnovich’s response be to rape and assault of a visitor to our prisons, or to violence directed to guards (who surely know what to expect)? According to the remarks in his motion to dismiss, it would be “too bad. You showed up, so you asked for it.”

Actually, when I spoke to Brnovich on Friday about the case, he expressed his disapproval of the motion’s language.

“As a father of two girls, a husband, and a prosecutor who has dealt with a lot of victims over the course of my career, it was disheartening to read the language in the pleading,” he admitted.

— 

He observed what Bacon no doubt knows as well: That the original motion had been filed by Weisbard before he’d taken office. 

 

Here is a link to the full article. 

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