Legal Ethics

Report Says Ex-Maricopa Co. Attorney and Aide Should Be Disbarred, Alleges Conspiracy Against Judge

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An out-of-state lawyer brought in by the Arizona Supreme Court to investigate a controversial former Maricopa County attorney has recommended that Andrew Thomas be disbarred.

The investigator, attorney John Gleason of Colorado, contends, among other accusations, that Thomas and former deputy county attorney Lisa Aubuchon “conspired with each other and with others to injure, oppress, threaten or intimidate” Judge Gary Donahoe by filing a criminal complaint against Donahoe, reports the Arizona Republic.

Gleason also recommends that Aubuchon be disbarred, the newspaper says, and recommends apparently lesser punishment for another lawyer who worked for Thomas. It is now up to a probable cause panelist to determine whether to seek to pursue Gleason’s recommended discipline against the three, who are expected to contest Gleason’s findings.

As detailed in earlier posts, Thomas and Sheriff Joe Arpaio were at the center of a political firefight with county supervisors and judges in recent years that led a number of observers to question whether the rule of law still applied in Maricopa County.

A U.S. Department of Justice abuse-of-power investigation continues; Thomas, Aubuchon and Arpaio have denied any wrongdoing.

In an Arizona Republic column last month, Thomas said that he expects to be cleared eventually:

“I have utter confidence that when the facts come out in front of neutral people that not only will I be vindicated but it will be shown that I took on very tough causes for no political benefit,” he stated. But, he added, “that may take time.”

Thomas and Aubuchon are now in private practice.

Related coverage:

ABA Journal: “The Maricopa Courthouse War” “Colo. Lawyer Discipline Chief to Review Ethics Case Against Maricopa, Ariz., County Attorney” “Three Current and Former Judges Sue Maricopa County Attorney and Sheriff Joe Arpaio”

Updated at 4:20 p.m. to include earlier Arizona Republic coverage.

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