Something good finally happened in Arizona:
Former Maricopa County Attorney Andrew Thomas and his onetime deputy, Lisa Aubuchon, were stripped of their law licenses today as a disciplinary panel handed down the toughest sanctions possible for ethical violations in a case that attracted national interest.
The panel also suspended Rachel Alexander, another Thomas deputy, from practicing law for six months and one day for her role in filing a federal civil racketeering lawsuit against judges and county officials.
What did they do to deserve this punishment? Just about everything possible:
They were Republican Arizona’s golden boys, the plain-spoken, get-tough sheriff and his legal and political foil, Sheriff Joe Arpaio and attorney Andrew Thomas. According to a post at Talking Points Memo, Thomas “might have had a bright career in Arizona politics,” but instead is today facing disbarment, criminal charges and professional disgrace.
In his six-year reign as Maricopa County’s top prosecutor, Thomas and Sheriff Arpaio went on a legal rampage against their perceived political enemies, drumming up and pursuing criminal charges that they knew were false, charges that rarely held up under scrutiny. As a result, say investigators, Thomas “undermined the public trust and inflicted great damage to the system of justice. The only way to restore that trust and to repair the damage to the system is to disbar Thomas.”***
An overview of the charges outlined in the case, however, makes one wonder what the lawyers have to be lighthearted about. Reportedly, shortly after being elected to office in 2004, Thomas and Arpaio became a team, often working together against individuals and institutions who defied them.
After both men were reelected to their positions in 2008, they escalated what had been a policy of ongoing political infighting and elevated it to a crusade, using the sheriff’s office to file spurious criminal charges against their political enemies, including the 14 public officials who made up the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors.
However, none of the charges stuck. Often, Arpaio and Thomas failed to provide evidence that they had promised the court. In other instances, the statutes of limitations had long expired on the alleged misdeeds.
Investigators say that Thomas and Aubuchon knew that the cases they were pursuing were bogus, but pressed ahead anyway, hoping to muddy the waters enough to permanently damage their opponents’ reputations. Investigators have labeled this practice perjury, and as such punishable by the termination of their licenses to practice law.
Arpaio really is one of the most disgusting human beings in the country. Did he make the Buffalo Beast list this year?