Thursday, February 21, 2013

WATCH: Anti-Recall Arpaio Group News Conference; READ Their Cease and Desist Demand; Analysis

Unfortunately, Arizona's Politics was unable to attend the inaugural news conference of the Citizens To Protect Fair Election Results ("CPFER") yesterday - I already had meetings scheduled.  Fortunately, though, CPFER has already posted the entire conference and the demand letter online.  They have sent out their cease and desist letter to the committee attempting to recall Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio, and have given them until (Saturday) March 2 to comply.

Well-known attorney Larry Klayman announced that he had been retained as General Counsel for CPFER, rather than just an attorney retained by the LLC for possible litigation.  He reiterated the claim that the recall was filed unconstitutionally early, ignoring the six-month waiting period.  He riffed on the name of the recall group, saying that Respect Arizona was disrespecting voters and disenfranchising them.  He called the recall proponents "vigilantes" and he said they are violating the 1st, 5th and 14th Amendments of the U.S. Constitution.

He sat down and allowed CPFER member Linda Brickman* dramatically read a manifesto promising that the Arpaio recall was result in electoral war and that it is already prompting responses that will attempt to recall numerous other elected officials.  (It may, in fact, be a hint of the "blocking" strategy that Arpaio campaign manager Chad Willems hinted at last weekend: flooding the streets with competing recall petitions, thus turning off potential signers and public opinion.)

Klayman then praised Brickman's "excellent recitation", and refused to take any questions.  Here is his demand letter:

Arizona's Politics has already participated in some analysis of the legal basis CPFER's demand on this blog and elsewhere.  A very good presentation is found in this Phoenix New Times' article.  Well-known Arizona election law expert Paul Eckstein gave an unequivocal thumbs down to Klayman's interpretation of the Arizona Constitution in the Channel 12 video below.  And, ASU Law Professor David Gartner gave CPFER a kernel to hold on to in the Associated Press article when he said that he "interprets" the constitutional section to permit the recall against Joe; a valid legal term, but permitting Klayman to hang on to the claim that his interpretation is different.

That glimmer of hope could matter, because Arizona statutes permit attorneys to be held personally responsible for opponents' attorney's fees and double damages if they litigate groundless claims for harassment purposes (A.R.S. 12-349).

* Brickman was on November's election ballot along with Arpaio.  She ran unsuccessfully for one of five open positions on the Central Arizona Water Conservation District's Board of Directors; she received 214,000 votes and finished 8th (out of 13 candidates)

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