Maricopa County Craziness

Lisa Aubuchon's Disbarment Stay Denied; "Staggering Mountain of Wrongdoing," Judge Writes

A "staggering mountain of wrongdoing" by former county prosecutor Lisa Aubuchon was cited by a judge as one general reason to deny her request for stay of disbarment.

Aubuchon and her former boss, ex-County Attorney Andrew Thomas, were disbarred on April 10 for a series of ethical violations related to their role in discredited legal attacks on county officials, judges, and local lawyers.

Aubuchon is appealing her disbarment, which was ordered by a three-member disciplinary panel of the state Supreme Court.

She and Thomas officially will be stripped of their law licenses tomorrow, meaning they can no longer practice law.

The former deputy county attorney, who once reportedly told a sheriff's official to use "creative writing" in fashioning a bogus search warrant of county offices, has been working as a private-practice attorney since being fired in 2010. She'd asked the disciplinary panel to stay her disbarment until her appeals process could be exhausted.

In a ruling released today, Disciplinary Judge William O'Neil writes that Aubuchon is deceitful and demonstrated an "extensive pattern of unethical conduct." Letting her continue to practice law puts both the public and the legal profession at risk, says O'Neil.

Especially "inexcusable" was the way Aubuchon "sacrificed" a law enforcement officer to "cover her tracks," O'Neil writes. The judge doesn't elaborate, but it's an apparent reference to what happened when Aubuchon wanted a direct complaint filed against now-retired Superior Court Judge Gary Donahoe. After senior detectives with the Sheriff's Office and County Attorney's Office refused to sign a probable-cause statement that tried to justify the felony charges against Donahoe -- because the detectives knew no investigation had taken place -- Aubuchon allowed a lower-ranking deputy to sign it, even though the deputy had no knowledge of the case.

The panel remains concerned about Aubuchon's moral "weakness."

"We decline to ignore the staggering mountain of wrongdoing that we found," O'Neil writes. Aubuchon's "bad behavior did not merely tip the scales; it overturned them."

Aubuchon will have to close up shop tomorrow and do something different. So will her former co-worker Rachel Alexander, whose license is being suspended for six months and a day.

Thomas says he's busy working on a book.

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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