The State Bar of Arizona is investigating Maricopa County prosecutor Juan Martinez for possible ethical violations in the Jodi Arias case. His investigation reminds us that the Supreme Court of Arizona disbarred Maricopa County prosecutors Andrew Thomas and Lisa Aubuchon and suspended prosecutor Rachel Alexander based on the Presiding Disciplinary Judge’s Opinion and Order Imposing Sanctions dated April 10, 2012
The Hearing Panel headed by Judge William J. O’Neil thoroughly reviewed all the evidence and determined that Thomas, Aubuchon, and Alexander had violated several of the Arizona Rules of Professional Conduct (abbreviated “ER”) found in Rule 42 of the Arizona Supreme Court Rules. The information below is taken from Rule 42 and the Opinion and Order. Many of the Rules of Professional Conduct can be found by visiting http://www.azbar.org/Ethics/RulesofProfessionalConduct/
ER 1.1 states that “A lawyer shall provide competent representation to a client.” Thomas, Aubuchon, and Alexander violated ER 1.1 with the RICO Act lawsuit.
ER 1.6(a) states that “A lawyer shall not reveal information relating to the representation of a client unless the client gives informed consent.” Thomas violated ER 1.6(a) with the statements in his June 14, 2006 press release on the Dowling and Keen matters.
ER 1.7 (a)(1) and (a)(2) mandates that a lawyer shall not represent a client if the representation of one client will be directly adverse to another client or there is a significant risk that the representation of one or more clients will be materially limited by the lawyer’s responsibilities to another client, a former client or a third person or by a personal interest of the lawyer. Thomas and Aubuchon violate ER 1.7(a)(1) in obtaining the Court Tour subpoena and with the RICO Act lawsuit along with Alexander. Thomas and Alexander violated ER 1.7(a)(2) by representing the State when there was a significant risk that the representation would be materially limited by Mr. Thomas’s personal interest against Supervisor Stapley. All three violated ER 1.7(a)(2) with the RICO Act lawsuit. Thomas and Aubuchon violated ER 1.7(a)(2) when they tried to represent the State in the Wilcox prosecution. Thomas and Aubuchon violated ER 1.7(a)(2) by prosecuting Supervisor Stapley when their personal interests acted as a material limitation on their representation of the State. Thomas and Aubuchon violated ER 1.7(a)(2) when Ms. Aubuchon presented testimony to a grand jury seeking indictments against Andrew Kunasek, Sandi Wilson, David Smith, Gary Donahoe, and Thomas Irvine. Thomas and Aubuchon violated ER 1.7(a)(2) when they unlawfully prosecuted Judge Donahoe.
ER 3.1 states that “A lawyer shall not bring or defend a proceeding or assert or controvert an issue therein, unless there is a good faith basis in law and fact for doing so that is not frivolous.” Thomas, Aubuchon, and Alexander violated ER 3.1 with the RICO Act lawsuit.
ER 3.3(a) states that a lawyer shall not knowingly make a false statement of law or fact to a tribunal. Thomas and Aubuchon violated ER 3.3(a) when Aubuchon filed a motion asserting that “Judge Fields is the complainant in an open and pending State Bar matter that he initiated against County Attorney Thomas.”
ER 3.4(c) states that “a lawyer shall not knowingly disobey an obligation under the rules of a tribunal except for an open refusal based on an assertion that no valid obligation exists.” All three violated ER 3.4(c) with the RICO Act lawsuit.
ER 3.6(a) states that “A lawyer who is participating or has participated in the investigation or litigation of a matter shall not make an extrajudicial statement that the lawyer knows or reasonably should know will be disseminated by means of public communication and will have a substantial likelihood of materially prejudicing an adjudicative proceeding in the matter. Thomas violated ER 3.6(a) with the statements in his August 24, 2009 press release.
ER 3.8(a) states that “The prosecutor in a criminal case shall refrain from prosecuting a charge that the prosecutor knows is not supported by probable cause.” Thomas and Aubuchon violated ER 3.8(a) when they unlawfully prosecuted Judge Donahoe.
ER 4.4(a) states that “In representing a client, a lawyer shall not use means that have no substantial purpose other than to embarrass, delay, or burden any other person, or use methods of obtaining evidence that violate the legal rights of such a person.” Thomas and Aubuchon violated ER 4.4(a) when they pursued criminal charges against Supervisor Stapley. They also violated it when they obtained the Court Tower subpoena and when they prosecuted Supervisors Stapley and Wilcox and Judge Donahoe. All three violated ER 4.4(a) with the RICO Act lawsuit. Thomas violated it when he caused letters to be sent to the Supervisors and County management in December 2009 regarding MCBOS’s engagement of Shughart, Thomson as legal counsel to provide advice concerning conflicts and payment of that firm’s invoices.
ER 8.4(b) states that “It is professional misconduct for a lawyer to commit a criminal act that reflects adversely on the lawyer’s honesty, trustworthiness or fitness as a lawyer in other respects.” Thomas and Aubuchon violated ER 8.4(b) when they unlawfully prosecuted Judge Donahoe.
ER 8.4(c) states that “It is professional misconduct for a lawyer to engage in conduct involving dishonesty, fraud, deceit or misrepresentation.” Aubuchon violated ER 8.4(c) when she knowingly failed to inform the grand jury that the State lacked jurisdiction to proceed against Mr. Stapley on many charges. She also violated ER 8.4(c) in communicating with Ms. Flores about the matters on which the grand jurors had voted to “end the inquiry.” Thomas and Aubuchon violated it when they unlawfully prosecuted Judge Donahoe.
ER 8.4(d) states that “It is professional misconduct for a lawyer to engage in conduct that is prejudicial to the administration of justice.” Aubuchon violated ER 8.4(d) by writing and delivering potentially threatening and intimidating out-of-court letters to Judges Mundell, Baca and retired Judge Fields, with the purpose of ascertaining the decision-making thought processes of Judges Mundell and Baca. Thomas and Aubuchon violated ER 8.4(d) when they charged Supervisor Stapley with fifty-three misdemeanors knowing that the statute of limitations had run on forty-four of them. Thomas and Aubuchon violated ER 8.4(d) when they unlawfully prosecuted Judge Donahoe. All three violated ER 8.4(d) with the RICO Act lawsuit.
Sometimes a person may run into a prosecutor that is unethical and it is important to have an experienced legal counsel that will stand up for you and your rights. Robert A. Dodell, Attorney At Law has over 30 years as both a former prosecutor and a private practice attorney.
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