Mark Brnovich's Wife, Judge Susan Brnovich: Did She Pull a Lester Pearce?
"Doing an interview that is content neutral is not the problem," he told me. "The problem is when you take the image of the judge - whether a still or video - and attach it to campaign literature or a campaign website as they do here.
"It is not a defense under current Arizona canons to say 'Well, I didn't say I was a judge,' or '99.9% of the people who look at this won't know she's a judge.'"
He added, "if a judge cannot drive around with her husband's campaign stick on her bumper, how can she appear in a video affixed to his campaign website? What is the functional difference? Spoiler alert: NONE!"
What about other states having more less stringent rules?
"Yes, other states may well have more lenient rules regarding campaigns and judges," conceded Ryan, "but that ain't Arizona."
"Wyoming may have an 85 mph speed limit on its freeways, but it is not a defense to a speeding charge in Arizona where the speed limit is 75 mph. Same rule applies here. By the way, there are examples listed in that article that are even more strict than Arizona's rules. Should the Brnovichs be ignoring those?
"If Judge Brnovich is...saying these Judicial canons affect my First Amendment Rights and I am taking a stand, then more power to her. But that is not what she is saying."
He also pointed out that Brnovich has an obligation as a judge to order her husband to cease using her image and to self-report the possible ethical violation.
How do Judge Brnovich's actions compare with Lester Pearce's? I'm sure this will depend on whom you ask, but Pearce was a presence throughout the 2011 recall of his brother.
In the minutes of a controversial Republican Legislative District 19 meeting at the time, he is identified as a Justice of the Peace, and it is recorded that he spoke in favor of his brother and against the recall.
From the original minutes of the 2011 LD 19 meeting ...
In a blog item back then, I also noted that:
"I confronted [Lester Pearce] about an account of him going to someone's door and arguing that the individual should remove a Jerry Lewis sign from that person's front yard.
"The judge explained that he had approached a neighbor about a Lewis sign, but that this had only been a joke."
Lewis was the Republican candidate who defeated Pearce in the recall election.
Lester Pearce also got physical briefly with videographer Dennis Gilman as we asked him questions before a debate in Mesa between Lewis and Pearce, though this issue and the other issue involving the yard sign were not addressed in the complaint against Lester.
In my personal opinion, Lester Pearce's actions were far more egregious than anything Judge Brnovich has done.