AZ Bar will appoint a special investigator in the Andrew Thomas case

By Sarah Fenske

The State Bar has filed a response to County Attorney Andrew Thomas' rather hysterical demand that the Arizona Supreme Court stop its investigation into his alleged misconduct (misconduct which, of course, includes, but is not limited to, his "independent" special prosecutor/former boss arresting New Times executives last fall).

And while the Bar eloquently defends its actions in the 99-page filing, it does make a fairly significant concession to Thomas & Co.

Even if the Supreme Court decides not to intervene, the Bar says it will "appoint an independent investigator and probable cause panelist to assume the investigation." That statement suggests that the guy who's been working this case for last eight months, the Bar's chief counsel Bob Van Wyck, is off the investigation no matter what the court decides.

It seems kind of crazy, considering how flimsy most of Thomas's complaints were, but the Bar is obviously trying to take the high road. It says there is "no evidence" that Van Wyck has showed any bias against Thomas, but it wants to avoid even the slightest appearance of a conflict: "Absent impartiality, there can be little public or lawyer confidence in the discipline process or its results."

We'll have more on this in next week's issue, but those who want to know more in the meantime should check out the Bar's Web site.

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Sarah Fenske
Contact: Sarah Fenske