Ariz. Judge Faces Hearing on Financial Disclosure Charges
Posted Mar 10, 2008 5:29 PM CDT
By Martha Neil
A rare hearing before the state's Commission on Judicial Conduct is planned for an Arizona justice of the peace accused of failing to disclose all the real estate he owned, among other ethics charges.
A commission investigative panel filed charges last month against Judge Carlos A. Mendoza. It contends that he, as the Arizona Republic puts it, "repeatedly lied on annual financial-disclosure statements required for judges, lied under oath in a hearing about a harassment injunction Mendoza sought against a Phoenix resident, and failed to maintain high standards of conduct when he offered to fight another judge over who was going to perform civil wedding ceremonies at the courthouse."
However, the attorney who represents Mendoza says this is all a misunderstanding. The investigative panel was confused, for instance, when it claimed that he failed to list some 20 properties on a 2005 judicial disclosure form, says Rick Strohm; at that point, Mendoza and his wife had recently divorced. Judges reportedly are supposed to list all property they and household members own.
"The public needs to know that there is absolutely nothing he has done that is improper or unethical," Strohm says. "Judge Mendoza has an explanation as to all of what has happened with the respect to each of the allegations. The commission has seen only a very tiny slice of what's available to examine."