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Swallow Attorney letter

Swallow Attorney letter

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Published by Robert Gehrke
Utah Attorney General John Swallow's attorneys' latest letter to Legislative leaders, claiming House investigation is overstepping its constitutional bounds, requesting access to witness interviews.
Utah Attorney General John Swallow's attorneys' latest letter to Legislative leaders, claiming House investigation is overstepping its constitutional bounds, requesting access to witness interviews.

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Published by: Robert Gehrke on Jul 17, 2013
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07/17/2013

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ClydeSnow
ATTORNEYS
AT
LAW
CLYDE
SNOW
&
SESSIONS
A
PROFESSIONAL
CORPORATION
ONE
UTAH
CENTER
THIRTEENTH
FLOOR201
SOUTHMAINSTREET
SALTLAKE
CITY.
UTAH
84111-2216
TEL
801.322.2516
FAX
801.521.6280
www.clydesnow.com
July15,2013
CLARK
W.
SESSIONS.
RODNEY
G.SNOW
STEVEN
E.
CLYDE
EDWIN
C.
BARNES
NEIL
A.KAPLAN"
D.
BRENT
ROSECHARLES
R.
BROWN
s
J.
SCOTT
HUNTERPERRIN
R.
LOVE-DEAN
C.
ANDREASENANNELI
R.
SMITH
WALTERA.
ROMNEY.
JR.
MATTHEW
A.
STEWARD
T.
MICKELL
JIMENEZ
JENNIFER
A
JAMESi
CHRISTOPHER
B.
SNOW-
BRENT
R.
BAKER"
D.
LOREN
WASHBURN.nAARON
D.
LEBENTA
MARK
L.
SMITHo
WAYNE
Z.
BENNETT
BRIAN
C.
WEBBER
KEVIN
A.
TURNEY
ROBERTD.
ANDREASEN
KATHERINE
E.
JUDD
DIANA
L.
TELFER
JONATHAN
S
CLYDE
SHANNON
K.
ZOLLINGER
TIMOTHY
R.
PACK
JACOB
L.
FONNESBECK1
ofcounsel:
nathan
b.
wilcox
REAGANLB.DESMOND
-a
EDWARD
W.
CLYDE
(1917-
1991)
t
SENIOR
COUNSEL
ALSO
ADMITTED
IN
WASHINGTON.
D.C.
§
ALSOADMITTED
IN
IDAHO
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IN
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ALSO
ADMITTED
IN
NEVADA
BYEMAIL
ANDHAND-DELIVERY
RebeccaD.Lockhart,Speaker
of
theHouseWayneL.Niederhauser,President
of
theSenate
do
John
L.
Fellows,GeneralCounsel
Office
of
LegislativeResearchandGeneralCounselUtahStateCapitolComplexHouseBuilding,SuiteW210
SaltLakeCity,
Utah84114
Re:
Attorney
GeneralInvestigation
DearSpeakerLockhartand
PresidentNiederhauser:
Wehavefollowedwithinteresttheactivities
of
theLegislatureregardingtheinvestigation
of
theAttorneyGeneral,JohnSwallow.WeunderstandtheentireLegislaturewill
beinsessionthis
week
to
enact
legislationthat
mayseem
tobe
necessary
to
conduct
aninvestigation.
Aswehaveexpressedbefore,allthreebranches
of
ourgovernmentaresubjecttothe
Constitution
of
thisState,
as
well
as
theUnitedStatesConstitution.
Eachmember
of
the
LegislaturehastakenanoathtoupholdourConstitution.Weareanation
of
lawsandthe
Constitution
is
the
cornerstone
of
our
laws.
Criticalto
our
democracyistheseparation
of
powersintothreeindependentbranches
of
government.OnebranchmaynotexercisepoweroveranotherexceptasauthorizedbytheConstitution.Impeachmentisalegislativeprocess,butitisconfinedbythelanguage
of
theConstitutionasinterpretedbyourSupremeCourt.Wehaveadvisedyourcounsel
of
thelawinthatrespectandsent
him
copies
of
thecaselawwhichsupports
our
position.Wehaveaskedforhisauthoritythat"youcandoanythingyouwant"andnonehasbeenforthcoming.Anation
of
lawsis
notgrounded
ontheprinciplethatonebranch
can
"do
anything
itwants"withrespect
to
anotherbranch,particularly
if
not
authorized
by
theConstitution.
Thusfaritappearsthatthescope
of
theinvestigation,whichistomakea
recommendation
asto
whether
an
impeachmentproceedingshould
beinitiatedinthe
House,
far
exceedsthedefinition
of
"highcrimes,misdemeanors,andmalfeasanceinoffice,"asthatphrase
(00398411-1
 
ClyddSnow
ATTORNEYS
ATLAW
Rebecca
D.
Lockhart
Speaker
of
theHouseWayneL.Niederhauser
President
of
theSenate
July15,2013
Page
2
hasbeeninterpretedby
our
SupremeCourt.Thefactthatyourpotentialeffortswillbelegislativeasopposedtojudicialisadistinctionwithoutanysignificantdifference.ThelanguageintheUtahstatuteforremoval
of
electedofficersnotliablefor
impeachment
(removedbyjudicialproceedings)isidenticaltothelanguageintheConstitutionforremovalbyimpeachment.Clearly,thejudicialremovallanguagewasadoptedfromtheConstitutionsoastonotcontradicttheconstraintsimposedbytheConstitution.Our
Supreme
Courthas,initsopinions,madereferencetothelanguageintheConstitution.InoneparticularcaseanelectedCountyAuditor
was
convicted
of
failuretofilehistaxreturns-afederalmisdemeanor.The
crimeoccurredduringapriorterm
of
office.TheCourtfoundthisdidnotinterferewiththeAuditor'scurrentterm
of
officeandfoundthatremovalthenwasinappropriate.
Theimpeachment
process,includinganinvestigationrelatedthereto,
shouldnot
beused
tooverridethedecision
of
theelectorateunlessahighcrime,
misdemeanor
andmalfeasancein
office,hasoccurredwhiletheelectedofficialisinoffice.Themischief
of
aninvestigationthatexceedsthisconstitutionalmandateisreadilyapparent.Itopensthedoorforalltypes
of
inquiriesregardinganyelectedofficialandcouldallowtheLegislaturetonotonlyattemptto
overridetheelectionprocess,butundulyinterferewithanotherbranch
of
governmentinviolation
of
theseparation
of
powersdoctrinesofundamentaltoourdemocracy.Andsucha
processcouldviolatethefederalCivilRightsAct,sincetheLegislaturewillbeactingunder
color
of
law.Theserisksseemtomakelittlesenseinlight
of
theindependentandthorough
investigation
now
well
under
waybythePublicIntegritySection
of
theUnitedStatesDepartment
of
Justice.Sparingtheexpense,traumaandtimeattendanttosuchan
investigation
seems
to
make
sense,
under
thesecircumstances.
WehavenotedwithinteresttheRFPsenttomanylawyers,bothwithintheStateandoutsideourState.Threelawyersinmyfirmhavebeencontacted.Respectfully,wemustdeclinethisopportunity.Moreover,theformerWashington,D.C.lawfirm
of
Mark
Shurtleff
hasalso
beencontacted
and
they
asked
if
we
might
beinterestedin
associating
aslocalcounsel-
which
privilegewealsodeclined.
If
youproceed,wehopeyouwillretaincounselthathastheintegrity,experienceandgoodjudgmentnottotakeanuntenablepositionforpoliticalreasonsorpurposes.Whoeveryouchoose,welookforwardtoworkingwiththem.
Finally,
if
you
are
consideringwhat
youthink
might
be
necessaryprocedures,
we
respectfullyrequestyouprovidefortheability
of
theAttorneyGeneralto
subpoena
witnessesonhis
behalf
totestifyandtobepresentatthetaking
of
witnessstatementsorsworntestimony.We
havelittle
doubtthe
investigative
committee
willbeinterestedin
the
entiretruth,
even
if
the
scope
of
theinquirymayexceedthelegislativeconstitutionallimits.
(00398411-1

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