Power Play

County law enforcement's attack on the judiciary didn't work, but the war's far from over

But Wilenchik was unprepared to answer anything specifically. He was there to make speeches.

"Your Honor, I don't have all the answers on the specifics to each and every one of these cases," the lawyer finally said. "I have a simple statement. The court is misperceiving the nature of the motion. I did not [intend today] to go over the specifics of each of these [cases]. If you would like to do that, I would be glad to do that . . . Obviously, I am not involved in each and every one of these items."

Ryan asked Wilenchik whether the county attorney had filed any emergency "special actions" with an appellate court about any of the disputed Prop 100 cases.

Judge Warren Granville is the subject of repeated official complaints by the county attorney.
Judge Warren Granville is the subject of repeated official complaints by the county attorney.

The correct answer would have been no.

But rather than reply directly, Wilenchik spewed, "I think it's evident that the court has evidenced a bias and a prejudice that is manifesting itself repeatedly in cases the court needs to consider professionally to step down [from] because it's affecting the court's decision-making and the public safety and welfare."

These, as they say, were fighting words.

Ryan tore holes in Wilenchik's motion, pointing out that, yes, he had dismissed a case involving a possible Prop 100 defendant, but that the defendant was still in custody on another matter, and that he had left prosecutors the option of re-filing the case.

Concerning another case in which Ryan allegedly had shown "bias and prejudice," the judge handed Wilenchik a court document proving that he had imposed sanctions against the defense attorney, not the prosecutor.

In response to a question from Ryan about that document, Wilenchik snapped at the judge, "I don't appreciate the court's tone."

Many in the courtroom gasped at his rudeness, because attorneys don't normally speak to judges that way.

Surprising no one, Ryan soon declined to remove himself from the criminal bench.

Wilenchik then proposed to Ryan that an out-of-county judge handle what would be a subsequent hearing on Andrew Thomas' motion to remove Ryan for cause.

"You're saying that no judge of the Superior Court could handle this?" an incredulous Ryan asked Wilenchik.

"Correct," the lawyer replied.

Wilenchik then told Ryan, "I think what you just did was very improper because you attempted to use me as a witness in this case when I'm not a witness in this case. With all due respect, to put me on the spot . . . "

"When you file a motion, you don't need to have personal knowledge of what you put in your motion?" Ryan asked, rhetorically.

"That's not correct, Your Honor, and you know that, and let's not be facetious here . . . This motion was brought for purposes of protection for what we perceive to be a danger to public safety that is going on."

"Mr. Wilenchik, that's a horrible overstatement."

"Your Honor, I'd like to finish."

"Well," said Ryan, "you don't get to make aspersions and insults to the court, with all due respect. If you're going to keep doing that, you're done."

"I appreciate that you don't want to hear that," Wilenchik said.

"Everybody has to follow the rules. Even you," Ryan said. "Even Mr. Thomas, and everybody else in the County Attorney's Office."

On October 18, Dennis Wilenchik stepped into Judge Ed Burke's courtroom to again argue his case for removing Tim Ryan "for cause" — the judge's alleged "bias and prejudice" against Andrew Thomas' prosecutors.

Burke, who knows Wilenchik, complimented the lawyer as the hearing began, perhaps in an effort to establish a civil tone.

But Wilenchik quickly said he doubted that Judge Burke could make an impartial decision and that he would immediately appeal any ruling against the county attorney (which he never did).

Then he called to the witness stand the first of the two prosecutors whom Judge Ryan allegedly had mistreated in court documents.

Deputy County Attorney Elizabeth Cotter nervously explained to Burke that Judge Ryan had ordered her to a contempt of court hearing after writing about "the gross, wanton misconduct demonstrated by [Cotter] in her absolute refusal to abide by her ethical responsibilities as an officer of the court."

But Cotter admitted that she had failed to appear at an earlier hearing in Ryan's court. That apparently marked the second time she hadn't shown up for a settlement conference with a defendant's attorney.

The prosecutor testified that she wants to be a judge someday, and that she "was very offended by the language the judge chose to use in this public document."

At one point, Judge Burke took over the questioning from Wilenchik, asking Cotter what she would do if she had been in Tim Ryan's shoes.

"If I were that judge," she said, "I probably would have jumped up and down and have gotten that attorney's supervisor into my court ASAP, if not Mr. Thomas to come down himself."

"In your heart and mind, do you feel that Judge Ryan is biased and prejudiced against you personally?" Burke asked.

"I can't answer that, Your Honor. It appears that way."

"Biased against the entire County Attorney's Office?" Burke continued.

"He seems not to administer justice equally, including other cases with colleagues [and] he doesn't hold the defense bar to a level anywhere near what he holds the state to."

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Thomas Trottier
Thomas Trottier

Elizabeth Cottor is a Snake as you can tell by her evil scowl and Shark like facial features. My son was prosecuted by her and she would not so much as even let him speak. If only he could explain at 17 what he had done when he was 16. But since he was prosecuted as an adult, and at that age the court system seems very intimidating, but a fair trial would have saved him 2 years of his life. For an auto accident where a unlicensed drug-taking uninsured driver was actually at fault. Her ethics are indeed tainted by her association with Andrew Thomas and his bottom feeder ethics. I am glad that she will never see her dream of becoming a Judge come true, I prayed faithfully for God to stop her. Prayer works!

JA Moran
JA Moran

maricopa county, and the state of Arizona need political and justice officials that will seek to be "reasonable and fair" that is true justice. Don't use one's position to try and squash your political opponents. The Maricopa County Attorney and Sheriff use any opportunity to get their face infront of a camera and make their point. They should stick to doing their jobs, be "reasonable and be fair", not going after people who disagree with them. We are supposed to be a democracy and in a democratic society people should be free to voice their disagreements. Also you should be free to publish the truth as the facts support, not as some political officials want. Do I need to remind people what happened to the guy who played "Joe Arizona" in political ads and what another person named Joe did to him because he made this other "Joe" look bad ??


Leonard Clark
Leonard Clark

Please, if you feel that these two fascist thugs should be stopped legally, constitutionally and non-violently help us with the recall. We have filed official recall papers and even after the deadline is over for this recallif we are not successful the first time we are going to hound these two criminal and unconstitutional thugs with another legal and constitutional recall.

Please, help us and help Arizona, we are not associated with any politician or political group we are only associated with the U.S. Constitution.Leonard Clark623-206-2039 email: leonardclark385@hotmail.com arizonarecall.comChair of the Arizonans for the U.S. Constitution and recall of Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio and Andrew Thomas

TreasurerWilliam Crum602-300-8851

Annalisa Alvrus
Annalisa Alvrus

So, judges are NOT political? Judges NEVER make the wrong decisions? Judges NEVER make rulings based on political or personal biases? Judges ALWAYS make rulings pursuant to the law? Should we not expect all three branches of government to constantly check the other branches? Isn't that what our government is supposed to be doing? I usually really, really like Paul Rubin's articles, but I don't care for the pro-judiciary slant in this article. The judges are placed on the bench by the governor, and even though we "vote" to "retain" them, we get very little information about whether they really rule according to the law. And the judicial oversight commission mentioned in the article almost NEVER disciplines a superior court judge. Are all 95+ of them really such perfect employees of the citizenry? Seems awfully hard to believe.

Tony Dogs
Tony Dogs

They really need to disbar this clown. He's a disgrace.

Jim Cozzolino
Jim Cozzolino

Arpaio and Thomas, Reincarnated Hitler's.Scary.....


That's what many lawyers / judges do to deceive the public. Wolves in sheeps' clothing.


AA, Well said! Definitely agree with you. Look at the Bios of these judges on the Court roster -- wonder what the qualifications are to even be a judge, many of the resumes are slim to none.

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