Sunday, May 13, 2012

Conservative Writer Rachel Alexander, Prosecution is Grossly Overreached by Arizona State Bar Judiciary Panel...

As a fellow blogger and friend of Rachel Alexander from Intellectual Conservative, I have closely watched the State Bar’s prosecution of her due to her role working for former Maricopa County Attorney Andrew Thomas. Those who know Rachel, knows that she is ethical and a genuinely kind, caring type of person. To see her trashed in the media, by the State Bar, and the State Bar’s judiciary panel as a ruthless person with a vendetta out to get someone goes against her character and the type of person she is. As usual the media has not fairly reported everything because of their liberal bias against a Republican conservative. It is time the other side of the story was published from a conservative view.

With the assistance of Sheriff Joe Arpaio, Andrew Thomas and his deputy county attorney Lisa Aubuchon attempted to prosecute several powerful county officials, including supervisors and judges. It was a well know within the political community there was corruption at the Maricopa County Supervisors Office, and that County Supervisor Mary Rose Wilcox has gotten away with crimes for years. The defendants stonewalled the prosecution at every juncture; they withheld funding for the prosecution, and the judges, whose budgets are controlled by the Supervisors, consistently ruled against Thomas’s attempts to prosecute them. The Supervisors had their County Manager David Smith file bar complaints against Thomas, Aubuchon and Rachel. The State Bar is run by the left, and they ran with the complaints they hired expensive outside prosecutors to prosecute the three on vague ethics violations.

What was Rachel’s role in all of this? Merely a little writing and research.
After Thomas and Aubuchon filed a racketeering case against some supervisors and judges in December 2009, Rachel was asked to temporarily put her name on the case until outside counsel could be found to take it over. She was instructed to work under a supervisor, Pete Spaw, who was considered the expert on racketeering cases in the Maricopa County Attorney’s Office. Spaw told her to do some research. He drafted an amended complaint, didn’t bother to include any of her research or writing in it, then attempted to file it with the court. It was never actually accepted by the court. After just three months, Rachel and her supervisor were instructed to dismiss the racketeering complaint, since Sheriff Arpaio’s attorney Bob Driscoll said he could get the Justice Department to take over the case instead. Bob Driscoll, a respected national attorney out of D.C., said the racketeering case had merit.

That was Rachel’s entire role. Rachel was never involved in the rest of the activities. She has never even met the county supervisors or judges listed in the racketeering complaint. Yet the Bar disciplinary panel found her guilty of multiple ethical violations for filing the racketeering complaint – a complaint she never filed. Thomas and Aubuchon were accused of, being a much lower level employee and not involved in the day to day strategy meetings taking place at the office.

The Bar did not try to prosecute Rachel’s supervisor, even though his name was on the login that filed the amended complaint and he was the one in charge of the racketeering complaint, instructing Rachel what to research. Rachel’s supervisor tried to deny his extensive involvement with the racketeering case during the trial, and Rachel’s attorney impeached him on the stand 13 times trapping him in lies by showing him emails he had written. Finally, realizing they had no choice, the State Bar prosecutors said they were going to investigate him too. Tellingly, after the trial finished, one of the judges named in the racketeering case, Judge Donahoe, amended a lawsuit he had filed against the county over this to include Rachel’s supervisor as a defendant, and left out Rachel.

The State Bar prosecutors, realizing how weak the case was against Rachel, offered her a settlement agreement halfway through the Bar trial of taking a few extra Continuing Legal Education courses. Rachel stood  on principle and refused because she had done nothing wrong.

The State Bar’s judicial panel, which is composed of a judge, an attorney and a member of the public, ruled on May 10th that Thomas and Aubuchon should be disbarred, and that Rachel should be suspended for six months and one day, forcing her to retake the Bar exam and reapply to become an attorney again. In this case JUSTICE did not prevail, It was a kangaroo court, since that judge had ruled against Thomas and Aubuchon on other matters in the past, all three panelists were liberals, and the two attorneys report to the Bar so they don’t dare to rule against the Bar. Ernie Calderon, a Democrat and former president of the Arizona State Bar, learned this the hard way when he dared to stand up and issue an ethics opinion defending Thomas a couple of years ago. The Bar retaliated against him by removing him from his position as delegate to the American Bar Association.

Now the County Supervisors are refusing to fund her appeal. Even though the County Trust agreement clearly states that former employees shall receive representation in disciplinary proceedings over actions performed while employees, the exact folks who brought the Bar complaint against her in the first place. A former manager at Risk Management said that this is unprecedented, the County has never not funded a disciplinary appeal like this.

Why was Rachel, a relatively low-level employee at the County Attorney’s Office, targeted by the State Bar instead of Andy’s close advisors who had been involved with the day to day policy decisions almost all along? Because Rachel is a well-known conservative blogger in Arizona, who writes a national weekly column for The Bar served Rachel with interrogatories demanding everything she’d ever blogged about everything from 2005-2010, including anything anonymous such as comments. If that’s not a gross infringement upon
her First Amendment right I don’t know what is. Nothing ever happened to the Bar for this gross overreach, and the media never reported it. During the trial, the Bar prosecutors attacked Rachel for posting an article on her website written by a prominent conservative columnist defending her, John Hawkins of Townhall and Rightwingnews.

The toll Rachel has taken as a result of this witchhunt against her has been brutal. Rachel has been told by numerous people that they will not hire her services because of all this, and her bankruptcy business is suffering. An IP address from Maricopa County government was involved with hacking her website last June, getting it banned from Google for months and permanently banned from Google News. Her website traffic went from 4000 unique visitors per day down to 1000 as a result. She developed a stalker during the Bar trial whose harassment about the trial became so threatening she had to get a restraining order against him. Supervisor Don Stapley’s secretary Susan Schuerman leaves putrid comments about Rachel all over the Phoenix New Times website under the name “Former Republican” using her county computer from work, and recently started sending Rachel threatening emails full of profanity. Yet Schuerman was just awarded a $500,000 settlement from the county this month. Why was Schuerman awarded the money, she’s a secretary. Is she getting paid off for trashing Rachael even further than has already been done?

Well-known attorney Clint Bolick had this to say about the prosecution of Rachel, “I think the punishment inflicted on Rachel was very excessive, and that if she was subject to discipline, her supervisor should have been too. I would write a letter supporting her appeal if that is appropriate, and/or supporting reinstatement.” I have been told Clint has agreed to be her mentor while her appeal is pending.

If you don’t agree with Thomas’s efforts to stamp out corruption in Maricopa County, any reasonable person can see that including Rachel in this prosecution was pure political vendetta.
The State Bar’s disciplinary wing needs to be taken out from under the Supreme Court and lawyers, and instead held accountable to the governor or legislature. Having attorneys who are subject to the Bar adjudicate Bar complaints creates a kangaroo court, because attorneys don’t dare rule against the Bar. In addition, the attorneys selected are left-leaning and predisposed to rule against conservatives. If this doesn’t change, conservative attorneys are going to be afraid to become prosecutors or writers. I have obtained a letter of Rachel's Notice of Claim – A.R.S. § 12-821.01.Rachel Alexander Notice of Claim