Justia Legal Ethics Opinion SummariesArticles Posted in Arizona Supreme Court
State v. Honorable Goldin
In this matter concerning vicarious disqualification of a prosecutor's office, the Supreme Court held that a trial court has broad discretion to vicariously disqualify a prosecutor's office based on an appearance of impropriety.Darren Goldin was indicted for first-degree murder. Goldin sought to disqualify the entire Tuscon branch of the Attorney General's office based on ethical violations committed by Richard Wintory, the assistant attorney general. Wintory was removed from the case. Goldin accepted a plea agreement, the plea was revoked, and charges were reinstated after Goldin prevailed on an ineffective assistance of counsel claim. Upon his return to the trial court, Golden again attempted to vicariously disqualify the Tuscon office. The superior court granted the motion based on the appearance of impropriety and the importance of Defendant's constitutional right to counsel. The court of appeals overturned the superior court's disqualification order. The Supreme Court vacated the court of appeals' opinion, holding that, where actual misconduct may have tainted the proceeding, the trial court did not abuse its discretion in disqualifying the Tucson office. View "State v. Honorable Goldin" on Justia Law
In re Abrams
Theodore Abrams, a member of the Arizona bar, was appointed as a Tucson City Court Magistrate in 2002. In 2010, the Commission on Judicial Conduct brought formal disciplinary charges against Abrams based on allegations of sexual harassment. Abrams and the Commission entered into a stipulated resolution in which Abrams acknowledged that his conduct warranted removal to the bench and agreed to the imposition of a censure and to resign his judicial position and never again seek or hold judicial office. The Supreme Court granted sua sponte review of the Commission's recommendation that it approve the stipulated resolution. The Court (1) censured Abrams and permanently enjoined him from again serving as a judicial officer in Arizona, and (2) concluded that an appropriate sanction for Abrams' misconduct was a two-year suspension from the practice of law.