Maricopa County Craziness

Andrew Thomas and Lisa Aubuchon Disbarred -- Read Panel's Opinion Here

Andrew Thomas, former Maricopa County Attorney, was disbarred this morning by the three-member disciplinary panel of the Arizona State Supreme Court.

So was his former deputy, Lisa Aubuchon.

Former Deputy County Attorney Rachel Alexander's law license was suspended for six months and one day.

The disciplinary panel dismissed a few charges, but it found "clear and convincing evidence" that Thomas and Aubuchon abused their prosecutorial powers while trying to prosecute county Supervisors Mary Rose Wilcox and Don Stapley, Superior Court Judge Gary Donahoe, and others. The panel found that Thomas and Aubuchon launched unethical attacks on their political enemies.

Thomas and Aubuchon's attempted prosecutions were not in the interests of justice; often they were only aimed at embarrassing or burdening their enemies, the panel found.

Scroll down to read the panel's opinion.

Thomas and Aubuchon acted with dishonesty and failed to cooperate with the State Bar, the panel found.

Thomas, Aubuchon, and Alexander skipped this morning's hearing.

The panel's decision can be appealed by all three.

Click here to read the disbarment document for Andrew Thomas and Lisa Aubuchon.

The ruling by the disciplinary panel means that Thomas and Aubuchon are stripped of their law licenses for five years. The licenses are not automatically reinstated after that period, either.

Thomas will need to reapply with the State Bar and show evidence that he's been rehabilitated, says ethics attorney Denise Quinterri, a former Bar Counsel for the Arizona State Bar. The reapplication process will be rigorous, she says.

"He can't just come in and say 'You're right, I'm sorry,'" Quinterri says.

Though Thomas and Aubuchon lose only their Arizona law licenses, Quinterri says it's unlikely another state will accept them as lawyers -- not without, again, evidence they've been "rehabilitated."

The extra day on top of the six-month suspension for Alexander has a special meaning under State Bar rules -- it means that she also has to go through a tough reapplication process to regain her license.

Also read: 

Andrew Thomas and Sheriff Joe Arpaio's "Unholy Collaboration" Abused Justice -- Yet Arpaio's Skating Toward Re-Election

Federal Lawsuit Against Sheriff Joe Arpaio and Former County Attorney Andrew Thomas to Proceed

Andrew Thomas is Pretty Much Toast -- Is Joe Arpaio Next?

Andrew Thomas Violated Rules on Some Ethical Charges Panel Concludes

Andrew Thomas UPDATE: A (Not So) Fond Look Back at a Demagogue in the Making

Andrew Thomas UPDATE: Some Heroes Did Emerge In This Creepy Cautionary Tale

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Ray Stern has worked as a newspaper reporter in Arizona for more than two decades. He's won numerous awards for his reporting, including the Arizona Press Club's Don Bolles Award for Investigative Journalism.
Contact: Ray Stern