To guard against possible conflicts of interest, the Arizona Supreme Court has handed off bar complaints against Maricopa County Attorney Andy Thomas to a Colorado official.
John Gleason, regulation attorney for the Colorado Supreme Court's Office of Attorney Regulation will now have the job of sorting out the various allegations of misconduct against Thomas raised in last month's terse ruling by Pima County Judge John Leonardo. Click here for the Arizona court's administrative order.
Just a wild guess here, but maybe the Supreme Court couldn't find any good lawyers in the state who didn't give money to Tim Nelson, who was Andrew Thomas' opposition in the 2008 campaign.
The previous lawyer assigned by the state Supreme Court to handle allegations of misconduct against Thomas, J. Scott Rhodes, resigned his appointment after Thomas complained that Rhodes had donated money to Nelson.
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In a public statement, Chief Justice Rebecca White Berch wrote that the new appointment should solve the problem:
"We appreciate the Colorado Supreme Court's willingness to assist us. Mr. Gleason brings expertise in attorney discipline matters, and, as a Colorado resident, he has had no involvement in Maricopa County politics and is therefore free from any perceived bias," stated Chief Justice Berch.
"We have worked with Mr. Gleason and his team on several issues, including recent efforts to improve Arizona's attorney discipline system," Berch noted, "and we are confident that he will conduct a fair and thorough review of this matter."
Since the Arizona Supreme Court cautioned Thomas against his possible conflicts of interest a year ago, then watched as he ignored the concerns, the Court must believe Gleason will not only be fair -- but that he'll aggressively go after Thomas.