I’m no fan of Andrew Thomas. I don’t even know the man. Moreover, he’s entitled like all accused to the usual presumptions, even if by most accounts, save for his lawyers and recently from a“GOP group denouncing as ‘baseless’ Andrew Thomas investigation,” it’s probably safe to say he’s at least earned his bona fides as an “A.H.” And I don’t mean “Ad Honorem.”
So chances are that if the prosecution meets its burden, there’ll be those greeting Thomas’s comeuppance with atta-boy approbation. And the entrenched powers-that-be, in particular, along with their lesser-lights will dance long-awaited schadenfreude shindigs.
So to move along the anticipated celebratory wishes of Thomas’s enemies, the long-expected disciplinary hearings finally began last Monday, September 12, 2011 in Arizona’s Supreme Court. The hearings involve not only the former Maricopa County Attorney Thomas who didn’t attend the opening session – – – but his staffers Lisa Aubuchon and Rachel Alexander, the latter who also belatedly got caught up in the morass.
And in an understatement akin to saying that “A kick to the cojones may hurt,” the local paper headlined, “Case may end Andrew Thomas‘ career.” The 39-page Joint Pre-Hearing Statement lays it all out.
In the prosecutor’s corner was Colorado’s Office of Attorney Regulation Counsel and Head Disciple of Discipline John Gleason, who returned to the ‘Valley of the Infernal Sun,’ a.k.a.,“Satan’s crotch,” to kick off the disciplinary extravaganza.
I’ve previously blogged about the Arizona Bar’s aggressive inquiry into Thomas and his minions, including at “Colorado’s Discipline ‘Guru’ finds Andrew Thomas discipline-worthy“ and at “Denver court rules Colorado’s Open Records Law applies to Attorney Regulation Counsel in Andrew Thomas Inquiry.”
Gleason was in high dudgeon as he rattled off the numerous charges making up his “Formal Complaint by Independent Investigator.” “The evidence and testimony that we will present will establish a four-year period of prosecutorial abuse by Mr. Thomas and Ms. Aubuchon,” he declared.
But unlike Victor Hugo’s Javert, the only thing Gleason didn’t tell the Court was, “It’s a pity the law doesn’t allow me to be merciful.”
And while Thomas is no Jean Valjean, I can, however, easily conceive of Gleason invoking a different borrowed quote from the film version of Les Misérables and exclaiming, “. . . a grave violation of the public trust has been committed. An inferior has shown a complete lack of respect for the law. He must be exposed and punished.”
“Phoenix New Times,” a free alternative weekly, which has previously locked its litigation horns with Thomas, headlined the start of proceedings this way, “Andrew Thomas and Lisa Aubuchon’s Defense in Disbarment Hearing Looks Weak in Opening Statements.”
The hearings are slated to last weeks. They’ve even made the Supreme Court’s live-streaming website for out-of-court watchers wanting to ‘Barcalounge’ while chomping on microwave popcorn and burping, gesticulating or otherwise impinging on the Court’s Decorum Order from afar.
But the uninitiated should be forewarned. The proceedings may go on as interminably as the never-ending television broadcasts of another show that seems to be on all year, “America’s Got Talent.” Court-watchers will be left longing for “TiVo.“
Nevertheless, as another tireless service to the legions of ‘fans’ of both Gleason and Thomas, here’s the web guide link to the court’s Calendar of Projected Hearing Dates and Times.
But for those other Maricopa County stalwarts and especially, for Gleason’s fellow Coloradans, some who have vigorously opined on their own blogs and commented on this one, interest will remain high. And as the proceedings wind down to a final judgment, then will those other courts, those of public opinion and punditry, weigh in.
Did the defense prove weak? Or did the prosecution produce that oft-cited but rarely discovered apocryphal ‘mountain of evidence’ ? And will Thomas and his sidekicks be disbarred?
We shall “bend low” and “wait with bated breath and whispering humbleness.” (1)
(1) Merchant of Venice, 1596, by William Shakespeare