Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Status Conference Re-Set On Anti-Arpaio Recall Lawsuit; Constitutionality of Recall Waiting Period (Still) At Issue

Less than two weeks after the original judge in the lawsuit that was filed to stop the recall of Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio disqualified himself, the new judge has set a status conference on the practically moot case. (Minute entry below)

Superior Court Judge Lisa Flores has set up a status conference for July 11 to help her decide how to proceed.  Recused Judge Michael Herrod had chosen to set oral argument on the central issues of the case, even though it had appeared at the time that the recall would possibly not qualify for the ballot.   Somewhat surprisingly, anti-recall attorneys asked that the hearing be set even if petitions were not turned in, claiming that the issue of the constitutionality of recall efforts filed within six months of an officeholder's re-taking of the oath of office (upon re-election) was one capable of being repeated and avoiding judicial review.

Recall organizers did not turn in the signatures they had gathered, and the recall effort died.  However, recall attorneys continued fighting the lawsuit (they are seeking sanctions against the plaintiffs) and asked that the judge be disqualified because of his potential conflict.

At the May 29 conference, Judge Herrod disclosed his potential conflict, that the law firm he had previously been a partner in (before becoming a judge) was representing Sheriff Arpaio in the federal civil suit Melendres v. Arpaio.  A couple of weeks earlier, U.S. District Court Judge G. Murray Snow ruled that the Sheriff's Office had engaged in racial profiling.

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