The Arizona Supreme Court has named Colorado Attorney Regulation Counsel John Gleason and the Colorado Office of Attorney Discipline to assess whether or not Maricopa County Attorney Andrew Thomas has run afoul of any lawyer ethical rules in Arizona. See Supreme Court announces new special investigator and Colorado lawyer to evaluate Andrew Thomas.
Readers of The Irreverent Lawyer will know this blog can hardly be characterized as a Thomas supporter. See Life in Bizarro World:County Attorney Charges Presiding Judge and Conflicted county prosecutor has case dismissed but Maricopa’s bizarro world continues.
Gleason has been at his job in Colorado for over two decades. From a competence standpoint, I don’t know enough to comment. However, there’s one news and opinion blog out of Colorado, KnowYourCOURTS, which stridently criticizes him time and again. See here.
What’s most surprising is that Gleason was chosen at all. Thanks to his existing ties to the Arizona State Bar and the Court, a fact noted in its press release, this is likely to leave his appointment open to criticism and to challenge from the Thomas Camp. The Arizona State Bar has repeatedly albeit unsuccessfully tried to discipline Andrew Thomas before.
Indeed, one of the named defendants in the criminal prosecutions brought by Thomas’ office was Ed Novak, a former president of the Arizona State Bar. The Court’s press announcement mentions Gleason’s involvement with proposed substantive changes to the way lawyers are disciplined in Arizona. See, for example, ATTORNEY DISCIPLINE TASK FORCE.
Maybe it’s just me but if I had wanted to have absolutely no question whatsoever of an impartial inquiry, I’d have found someone who didn’t already have a friendly advisory, consulting relationship with the same folks who will subsequently have roles to play in any possible disciplinary proceeding against Thomas in the future. I’d have thought a search for someone completely independent, totally disconnected, and unquestionably impartial would have been a heck of a lot easier than the one undertaken by Diogenes. With or without my lamp, I’d of searched high and low for someone with zero connections to the state’s lawyer disciplinary structure, someone as clean of any ties than the proverbial hound’s tooth. But then what do I know?