Russell Pearce Legal Challenge Argued Before Judge Hugh Hegyi

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recallpearce.com
This guy, a decent human being? Gimme a break...

State Senate President Russell Pearce was a no-show today to the hearing that could, hypothetically, save his hide in the upcoming November 8 recall election in Legislative District 18. 

Ditto the official plaintiff in the legal challenge to the recall: Mesa resident Franklin Bruce Ross, who also had better sheep to shear.

All the same, Maricopa County Superior Court Judge Hugh Hegyi's court was packed to overflowing with lawyers, elections officials, Pearce foes and supporters, as well as members of the media, many of whom had to take up temporary residence in the jury box for a two hour hearing wherein opposing counsel debated the intricacies and history of recall election law.

At issue were the defendants' motions to dismiss the complaint brought by Republican elections law attorney Lisa Hauser

In her original complaint, Hauser argued that all of the signatures on the recall petition should be tossed. Why? Because the wording of the oath sworn to by the petition circulators (which appears on the reverse of the petitions) did not attest that the signatures were "genuine."

This, despite the fact that the wording of the oath was provided by the Arizona Secretary of State's Office, and that it states that the signers signed in the circulator's presence and the circulator believed that the signatures and addresses of the signers were correctly stated.

Indeed, the state constitution does not specify what the wording of the oath should be. What it says, is this:

"One of the signers of each sheet of such petition, or the person circulating such sheet, must make and subscribe an oath on said sheet, that the signatures thereon are genuine."

As Thomas Ryan, attorney for the recall committee Citizens for a Better Arizona, pointed out, the state constitution doesn't mandate the use of the word "genuine," just that there be "an oath" where the circulator attests that the signatures are genuine.

Ryan observed that in order for Judge Hegyi to not find the oath in "substantial compliance" with the constitution and election law, he would have to "overturn nearly 90 years worth of jurisprudence." A point Hauser later conceded, BTW.

Indeed, Hauser admitted that Hegyi doesn't really have the authority to overturn past Arizona Supreme Court rulings in this matter. Ultimately, the issue will have to be decided by the state supremes, and Hauser was laying the groundwork today for just such an appeal.

Hauser also maintained that part of the recall statement is misleading, specifically the last sentence, which reads, "By signing this petition we publicly withdraw our support for Russell Pearce and what he represents."

So someone might not have understood that there would be a recall election as a result of them signing, she argued.

This, despite the fact that at the very top of the petition sheets, the following statement was plain as day: 

"We, the qualified electors of the electoral district from which State Senator Russell Pearce, District 18, was elected, demand his recall."

How could someone be so dumb as to misinterpret the meaning of this statement? 

Well, Hauser told the court, "All you have to do is watch Jay Leno's man on the street interviews a few times, and it will shake your confidence in how informed people are."

During his time, Ryan countered that as long as a petition signer is a qualified elector, the reason why they signed is irrelevant, and that the courts have already held that the recall statement can say anything it wants.

"It doesn't matter why a petition signer signed the petition," he explained. "For example, you could have said that `Russell Pearce likes to [go] fribbin' in a banana patch in his whitey-tidies,' [though] that's a nonsensical statement."

Now there's a mental picture I didn't need. Um, whatever "fribbin" means.

At another bend in the proceedings, Hauser argued that the oath of the circulator was effectively invalidated if one of the signatures on a petition sheet was not legit. So the whole sheet, not just that signature, should be tossed as a result.

That would essentially disenfranchise everyone else who signed the same sheet. But legal precedent is unlikely to give Hauser the day on this point either. 

After the hearing, I had fun asking Hauser that if there were mistakes in a sworn legal document, did that make the signer's oath invalid?

She agreed that it should. I then observed that there were mistakes in her reply to the motions to dismiss, incorrect dates used, and a stray incomplete sentence, to boot. So should her entire filing be tossed as well?

As you might imagine, she did not agree this should be the case.

At one point in the hearing, Hauser complained that the recall process was highly disruptive, causing angst to a politician so targeted.  She also went on and on about the history of the recall process, though this has little to do with what the judge actually must rule on.

Ryan countered that Pearce hadn't even bothered to show up, and while on the subject of the history of the recall process, he observed that the reference to the genuineness of a signature in the state constitution, in part, referred to a time when people signed their names with an "X."

Though, if that "X" is signed before a circulator, and the person signing is a qualified elector, the "X" would nevertheless be deemed "genuine."

Ryan decried Hauser's suggestion that circulators might be forced to check someone's driver's license before letting that someone sign a recall petition, though Hauser countered that this was only one of many options.

Over all, Hauser's lawsuit looks like a reach, one that's headed for the Arizona Supreme Court, no matter what Hegyi rules. (He promised a decision by week's end.)

I should also mention that attorneys for the Secretary of State and the County Elections department addressed the court, arguing for dismissal, but Ryan took the lead, and obviously relished the role.

Afterward, I approached Hauser, and asked why her client Ross was not in court with her. She said he couldn't make it. I then asked how Ross ended up being the plaintiff.

"[Senator Pearce] has a lot of supporters and friends," she told me. "This guy's known him for over 20 years. And he's the one who stepped forward..."

She admitted, quite convivially, that Pearce could have been the plaintiff, but that picking another qualified elector to fill the role of plaintiff was how things were usually done. She also admitted that she essentially represents Pearce in this matter, though she declined to state who exactly is paying her tab.

I rode down in the elevator with Hauser and Pearce spokesman Ed Phillips, the former weatherman and state senator. I noted that he was a moderate Republican, one who'd actually written a book on global warming (a concept that's anathema to the hard right). I wondered why he was shilling for someone as extreme as Pearce.

He told me he was working as a volunteer for Pearce at present, and that he was doing so because Pearce is a pal.

"Russell's been a friend of mine for a long time," he explained. "He's a decent human being, that's why I support him."

To which, I replied, that there may be something decent deep down in Pearce somewhere, it's just that I've yet to see any evidence of it.

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40 comments
Anon
Anon

It's time for these aging tyrants who have ruined the state of Arizona to step down so those who have a stake in the future can save Arizona. 

justinhan
justinhan

  It's been really great going through your blog post, very well informed and described. Great to read and know more about such kind of stuff. 

bail bonds los angeles county

Marken Jack
Marken Jack

The prosecutors have all the power and are increasingly in prisons. The bar does not get rid of bad lawyers, that destroy people's lives and prosecutors are immune.

stoke-on-trent solicitors

seeking answers
seeking answers

Prosecutors, not police responsible for .."The Causes of Growth in Prison Admissions and Populations" by John F. Pfaff  Fordham University - School of Law July 12, 2011Abstract:      The explosive growth in the US prison population is well documented, but its causes are poorly understood. In this paper I exploit previously-unused data to define precisely where the growth is occurring. In short, the growth in prison populations has been driven almost entirely by increases in felony filings per arrest. All other possible sites of growth - arrests, admissions per filing, convictions per filings and admissions per conviction, and even (perhaps most surprisingly) time served per admission - have barely changed over the past four decades. But the growth in filings tracks that of admissions almost perfectly. This paper demonstrates the importance of felony filings and considers some of the possible explanations for their growth.http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/pa...

Rev. Rob
Rev. Rob

This is so typical. The voters want a recall and Pearce goes to court instead of making his case to the people. Very statesman like. POLL: Should SB1070 sponsor and Arizona Senate President Russell Pearce be recalled?Vote: http://www.wepolls.com/p/13800...

Jason
Jason

So we have yet ANOTHER incoherent babbler (Lisa Hauser) who presents and argues her cases like Lisa Aubuchon. Without merit and a snowballs' chance in hell of succeeding.

Not only will Hauser lose in Superior Court, the state Supreme Court won't even want to hear Hauser's drivel.

Pearce will definitely be booted come November 8. 

Kcarson
Kcarson

Another lay person, unskilled in the law, commenting about which he knows nothing.

Hauser is a good attorney with a bad client.  She's doing the best she can.  Rather than whine like a school girl because the American legal system is in play, be happy that the best the other side can do is so patently weak.

If you have a problem with Pearce, or his proxy, seeking redress in the courts, then you have a problem with America. In which case, just leave.

We need more civility, not less.

Hauser treated Lemons and Snow with respect and courtesy, shame you are as mature.

Kcarson
Kcarson

Should read "Hauser treated Lemons and Snow with respect and courtesy, shame you are NOT as mature."

Jason
Jason

I may not hold a Bar license, but I know a bad legal argument when I see it.

I have absolutely no problem with Pearce seeking redress through the court. However, I do believe that he will be unsuccessful.

As for Hauser, you may be right that she is a good lawyer with a bad client. However, her client is NOT Pearce. He is just a ghost client.

Wake up people!!
Wake up people!!

Pearce = the private prison growth that will turn Arizona into a prison state. All done behind closed doors and rushed into the public on the 11th hour when no one is around or families are getting ready for school. There is a pattern to this. This week in Arizona starting in Goodyear tomorrow demands public awareness to the critical demise of Arizona's society and people.... We're looking at Arizona's future!

"Record an issue for company bidding on Ariz. prisons contracthttp://www.azcentral.c..."When Florida inspectors arrived June 13 for a surprise audit of Geo Group Inc.'s South Bay prison in Palm Beach, they couldn't get anyone to let them in. For 20 minutes, the state inspectors pressed an alert button to signal the prison's control room, flashed lights at the security cameras, and tried to get the attention of someone - anyone - at the facility. Finally, they gave up and left.Geo Group, of Boca Raton, Fla., is one of four companies bidding for a contract with the Arizona Department of Corrections to provide up to 5,000 new private-prison beds. Public hearings are being held this week and next to gauge community sentiment. Geo is proposing to build a new prison with 2,000 or 3,000 beds in San Luis, south of Yuma, or a new one with 2,000 to 5,000 beds near the existing Perryville state prison in Goodyear."

Chad Snow
Chad Snow

The important point in all of this is that the main argument made by Hauser isn't that the Recall Committee screwed up in some way, but that the form that was provided to us by the ELECTED REPUBLICAN Secretary of State is legally insufficient. 

It will be interesting if the case goes to an evidentiary hearing because it will be the elected Republican Sec'y of State and the elected Republican County Recorder who will be on trial, not Citizens for a Better Arizona.  Indeed, CBA is listed only as a Party in Interest.  The Defendants are Bennett, Purcell, Osborn and the Board of Supervisors. And Pearce's attorneys will be going up against Tom Horne's and Bill Montgomery's. Is Pearce claiming that the entire Republican establishment in Maricopa County either screwed up royally or is just out to get him? 

All part of Pearce's grand strategy of desperation, including his Fake Candidates, as he tries to avoid an election he knows he cannot win. 

Chad Snow
Chad Snow

For those fans of the Feathered Bastard, allow me to recap the beginning of the conversation with Lisa Hauser:

FB: I'm Stephen Lemons from the New Times.  Do you mind if I ask you a few questions?LH:  Aren't you the one who called me "dumb"?  FB:  No, I said your brief was dumb, not you. 

Actual true story.  We really are lucky to have at least one journalist in this state with the stones to confront people face to face and work to get his facts straight. 

That having been said, I will say that Lisa Hauser and Ed Phillips have both been extremely cordial and professional throughout this entire process.  I actually felt a little sorry for Hauser yesterday as she tried to defend the undefensible.  It shows that people can be on different sides of a contentious issue and still remain cordial, a lesson that would serve Pearce well.   

Tommy Collins
Tommy Collins

[" It shows that people can be on different sides of a contentious issue and still remain cordial, a lesson that would serve Pearce well"]

Chad, you diplomacy goes unparalleled. Kudos to you.

pearce has been recalled because of who he has been most, if not all, of his adult life. This latest action is just one more firing from his job, that has become a trend for pearce.

Yes, pearce and his campaign COULD learn from the tact and diplomacy of others.

But they won't.

pearce was fired by the voters in LD18 because of who his was, is, and always will be.

He's really nothing more than a zebra with a pot belly. He might be able to lose the pot belly, but the stripes won't go away.

Concerned Citizen / Taxpayer
Concerned Citizen / Taxpayer

Chad, We the people are lucky to not only have Stephen Lemons who was the very first years ago to lay the groundwork for what we are all witnessing today, but also to have you and Randy Parazz to come forward for all the people who have been silenced by the elected officials who have abused their power and gotten bolder with every passing year. A one-party state for decades = tyranny. It's time to clean house in Arizona. They've been exposed for who they are with facts and the truth. Arizona is corrupt all the way to the top and beyond. Thanks for fighting in court.

Anon
Anon

The silence by the local media for years has brought on the chaos we are seeing today and the financial condition the state finds itself --as pauper with their hand out to the government and China to survive. The local media has been very late to the party and some are finally coming forward but not without having been retaliated -- see lobbyist, High Ground website by Coughlin.The abuse that goes on daily along with the disregard of peoples' rights is not a one-special- report issue but MUST be written about daily, just like the mug shots line-up of people that cross our TV's ad-nauseum. Political media stunts by the sheriff are covered instead. They are not only misleading but hiding reality in the jails, prisons and detention centers. There are needless deaths taking place the public never hears about and are never resolved. The the inhumane and cruel conditions of confinement in the desert jails, prisons and detention centers where extreme heat oer 110 degrees lasts for months, where the women are confined without air conditioning or poorly operating swamp coolers, poor air quality and contaminated or poisoned water. There is a critical water shortage in Arizona with no end in sight, so how can they propose a massive prison buildup in a state with scarce resources? The local media should be writing about that. Pearce should know better and could care less about people or humanity. 

Anon
Anon

The silence by the local media for years has brought on the chaos we are seeing today and the financial condition the state finds itself, as pauper with their hand out to the government and China to survive. They are very late to the party and some are finally coming forward. But this is not a one special report issue but most be written about daily just like the mug shots of people that cross our TV's ad-nauseum. Political media stunts by the sheriff are not only misleading but hiding the jsil/prison deaths that are needless, the inhumane and cruel conditions of confinement in the desert jails, prisons and detention centers where extreme heat lasts for months, where there is a critical water shortage and poisonous water. The local media should be writing about that.

Gerry_C
Gerry_C

Cordial is a word that Russell Pearce should know, but will probably never know,  unless he is sucking up to someone.

guest
guest

Good recap.  In paragraph four, replace plaintiffs' with defendants':"At issue were the plaintiffs' motions to dismiss the complaint brought by Republican elections law attorney Lisa Hauser." 

Tina
Tina

I attended the proceedings and was not at all favorably impressed with Hauser. 

 She was given a full hour and droned on endlessly and non-sensically, offering nothing of substance while unpersuasively misapplying case law and grasping at irrelevant straws.   The other attorneys pointed to the faults in her logic and corrected her misapplication of the referenced case law,  but it didn't take members of the bar to recognize bullshit when they hear it.   Anyone of sound mind listening to her presentation had their intelligence insulted. Hauser talks like she writes: endlessly and without presenting anything of merit.  

BTW Stephen, I believe it was the defendants' (not the "plaintiff's")   motions to dismiss.They wouldn't have been in court had it not been for the no-show plaintiffs -- proxy Franklin Bruce Ross OR Russell K. Pearce -- filing the complaint.   

FormerRepublican
FormerRepublican

Pearce is about as disgusting and low life as one can get.  He is not only uneducated and brash, but he's an arrogant bully to boot.  His face is clearly a mirror of his own personality- and he is a bloated, foolish and pompous ass.  It's difficult to tell with him whether he's coming or going...because his backside looks much like his face.  Perhaps that will serve him well in his next job as a car hop.

seeking answers
seeking answers

... think he'll be running one the of private prisons with 5,000 beds being jammed down the people of Arizona's throats. Looking for Federal $$'s hand-outs and illegal immigrant $$'s. 

Tommy Collins
Tommy Collins

I heard pearce drove by M.I.T. once... thereby receiving an honorary Ph D by osmosis. And you call him uneducated....

(M.I.T., in this case, refers to "Metro In Town:" [Metropolitan State College in Denver])

Anon
Anon

Pearce has the face of pure evil. A tyrant, monster and miserable person.

Stacy
Stacy

I still get a kick out of Hauser arguing for the true definition of the word "Genuine"... She doesn't know what it means.. neither does her client.. Ross or the "Genuine" client.. Pearce.

Coz
Coz

Sounds like Hauser is one of those thats been on Jay Leno's man on the street interviews.

>Well, Hauser told the court, "All you have to do is watch Jay Leno's man on the street interviews a few times, and it will shake your confidence in how informed people are."

Native Guns
Native Guns

It didn't sound like Ryan had the upper hand in this court fight. I will agree with the Feathered Bastard, that this case will most likely head to the Supreme court. I was hoping this was another Judge Susan Bolton......we'll see by the end of week.

Vera Kwaayesnama Skorupski Sko
Vera Kwaayesnama Skorupski Sko

Who do you support in the upcoming Senate recall election: Russell Pearce or Jerry Lewis www.westernfreepress.com

Jewel in the desert
Jewel in the desert

 Yes, be sure and take a moment to vote and share your opinion.  I know this poll isn't very scientific but it sure feels good to see Pearce get his booty kicked even if it's just a silly poll.  At this point even mental victories are helpful to the psyche and so far every poll I've seen Pearce has been thoroughly stomped.  Sure hope its an early indication of district 18's election results come Nov. 8th.

Anon
Anon

Pearce should do the taxpayers a favor and resign. It's time to clean the corruption across the board in Arizona! 

John Meyer
John Meyer

I actually disagree.  Pearce resigning may give him some hope that he has a chance to come back, while having his ass thoroughly kicked out of office should drive the point home very effectively.

Ross
Ross

What is Ed Phillips doing these days?  I always see "former" in front of his previous occupations.  Maybe his voice changed and he got a real job?

Rob
Rob

"All you have to do is watch Jay Leno's man on the street interviews a few times, and it will shake your confidence in how informed people are."

All that money on law school.....and this is the best she can come up with?

Using the "Leno standard" do we now invalidate all elections since 1992?Nah, people have always been that stupid.

ExpertShot
ExpertShot

That's why we have nuclear power plants.  People who are smarter are taking advantage of the people who are dumber but risking the planet's ability to maintain our lives over the long haul at the same time.  Did you know that after 40 years a nuclear plant remains toxic for over 20,000 years?  Yeah, all thought generations have to pay to safely store that waste (or suffer the consequences)  for the short amount of time we now get cheap power today.  It's a dirty, sick and evil power source.

Steve Muratore
Steve Muratore

Hey, her arguments might sound ridiculous, but she has been smart enough to make millions of dollars off of the taxpayers.  Not that I admire her (because I do not).

Anon
Anon

Lawyers get obscenely rich in Arizona with it's poorly written laws that put all at risk for the criminal justice system. A state that turns misdemeanors that would be felonies in other states. Prosecutors hold all the power and are growing the prisons. The bar does not get rid of bad lawyers, who destroy peoples' lives and the prosecutors are immune. The weight of justice is Arizona is unbalanced = broken justice system. Time to get bad poorly educated, unprofessional lawmakers out of office, who know nothing about the issues they write the laws for. Start with Senator Russell Pearce and his enablers.

seeking answers
seeking answers

correction:  Arizona is a state that turns misdemeanors into felonies (which "grow" the prison population), while in other states Arizona's felonies would be considered misdemeanors.

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