Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Pro-Arpaio Attorney Larry Klayman Out Of Arpaio Recall Lawsuit, Hadn't Filed Necessary State Bar Application

(UPDATE, 4:30pm: Just received response from Burnell Smith's office, clarifying that the "error (was) on the part of the applicant", and not on the part of the State Bar of Arizona.)

Nationally-known attorney Larry Klayman is no longer representing anti-Arpaio-recall plaintiffs in the lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of the now-failed effort to recall Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio.  It turns out that Klayman had asked the Superior Court to permit him to represent the plaintiffs, but had failed to seek permission from the State Bar of Arizona.  (Court filing reproduced below.)

In the Notice filed last week, Klayman's co-counsel, former state lawmaker, David Burnell Smith, seems to indicate that the problem might lie with the State Bar of Arizona not providing Klayman (or Smith) with a Notice of Completed Application, and that the State Bar should have provided it.  However, Burnell Smith's office notes to Arizona's Politics that the "error (was) on the part of the applicant", and not on the part of the State Bar of Arizona.

However, State Bar Chief Communications Officer Rick DeBruhl confirmed to Arizona's Politics this afternoon that Mr. Klayman never has submitted an application to the Arizona Bar.  DeBruhl could not comment on the status of the State Bar's investigation  - reported by Phoenix New Times - into Mr. Klayman, beyond confirming that it is still active.  However, it would be reasonable to assume that the investigation is related to the case.

Neither Mr. Klayman nor Mr. Burnell Smith has responded to Arizona's Politics requests for comment.

However, the attorney for the main defendant - the Respect Arizona committee that led the recall effort - did comment.  Christopher Ford stated that Klayman was "quick to grab the microphone and pontificate (usually erroneously) on matters relating to this case but apparently a bit slow in complying with our state's rules of practice. I am grateful that the State Bar of Arizona is vigilant in protecting the public and legal profession from would-be interlopers such as Mr. Klayman."

The case continues even though the recall effort has failed.  Plaintiffs' attorneys asked the Court to make a decision on the constitutionality of the recall petition on the grounds that future recall efforts could similarly be filed with six months of an elected official's new term, and the issue could continue to evade judicial review (much like in the famous Roe v. Wade abortion decision.

A status hearing is set for July 11.

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