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Judge Postpones Juan Martinez's Disciplinary Hearing Over Ethics Violations


Juan Martinez's disciplinary hearing has been postponed after a judge dismissed some of the ethics charges against him late last Friday afternoon. Famous for his role prosecuting high-profile murder cases, including the Jodi Arias case, Martinez was supposed to begin a disciplinary hearing over a slew of alleged ethics violations on August 27, but the hearing has been put off for 30 to 60 days.

Martinez's attorney argued that ethics rules for Arizona attorneys do not regulate how an attorney must act in his own office. Arizona Supreme Court disciplinary judge William O'Neil apparently agreed with that argument: He ruled on Friday that allegations that Martinez sexually harassed female coworkers at the Maricopa County Attorney's Office will not be considered at the upcoming disciplinary hearing.

Meaning what Martinez is accused of doing to the women in his office — including telling an intern he "wanted to climb her like a statute" and sexually harassing female coworkers so relentlessly they hid in bathrooms to get away from him — will no longer be something those women will testify about before the disciplinary judge. But allegations that Martinez shared confidential information about a juror, struck up a sexual relationship with a blogger writing about the Arias case then lied about it to investigators, and sexually harassed a court reporter will still be heard at the hearing.

O'Neil is expected to hold a status conference on Tuesday to figure out how the case will proceed, Channel 12 News reports. If the judge determines Martinez has committed the alleged ethics violations, he could be sanctioned or disbarred.

The court reporter who said Martinez told her he wanted to see what was inside her skirt is still expected to testify, as is Jen Wood, the blogger Martinez is accused of having an affair with and leaking information to.

Martinez has been the subject of at least seven bar complaints in the past four years. This past March, the State Bar of Arizona filed a misconduct complaint against Martinez alleging that he had committed seriously unethical behavior during the Arias trial and inside the Maricopa County Attorney's Office. This disciplinary hearing stems from that complaint.

According to the complaint, Martinez began a sexual relationship with a blogger who was writing about the Arias case, then used her to dig up information on a juror who was preventing Arias from receiving the death penalty. Martinez wanted to find "information that might disqualify her from continuing the deliberation." Once he figured out who the holdout juror was, he allegedly tried to get her dismissed from the case so he could get Arias sentenced to death, but failed.

Martinez is also accused of striking up a relationship with a juror who was dismissed from the case and using her to get a "read" on how two other jurors may be leaning in the case. When questioned about his actions at a deposition, Martinez lied, the bar complaint states.

In April, four lawmakers and 18 local, state, and national organizations signed on to a letter sent to Maricopa County Attorney Bill Montgomery demanding he resign for the way he has handled Martinez's repeated misconduct. ABC15 has since reported that Martinez's history of sexually harassing female coworkers goes back decades.

Martinez's personnel file contains a reprimand from a supervisor in the early 1990s. The supervisor wrote: "It has come to my attention that there was an incident in February, where you made inappropriate sexual remarks toward a female attorney in this office. ... It is now time that this behavior ceases, once and for all."

Montgomery has responded to calls of resignation by stating that after the investigation, Martinez was disciplined with a written reprimand and mandatory training for sexually harassing his female coworkers. But documents related to the investigations of Martinez's misconduct were sealed at Montgomery's request. Montgomery has since become a finalist for a seat on the state Supreme Court.

In 2016, the Attorney Discipline Probable Cause Committee recommended that Martinez be placed on one year's probation for his unethical behavior. But Martinez asked for a disciplinary hearing, in which deliberations reportedly lasted all of one minute before the charges were dismissed.

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