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Thomas Aubuchon Alexander_opinion

Thomas Aubuchon Alexander_opinion

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Published by: ray stern on Apr 10, 2012
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1
BEFORE THE PRESIDING DISCIPLINARY JUDGE
 
OF THE SUPREME COURT OF ARIZONA
 IN THE MATTER OF MEMBERS
 
OF THE STATE BAR OF ARIZONA,
 
ANDREW P. THOMAS, BAR NO. 014069,
 
LISA M. AUBUCHON, BAR NO. 013141,
 
and
 
RACHEL R. ALEXANDER, BAR NO.020092
 
Respondents.
PDJ-2011-9002
 
OPINION AND ORDER IMPOSINGSANCTIONS
 
[Nos. 09-2293, 09-2294,09-2296, 10-0423, 10-0663,
 
10-0664]
 
This case was heard as a result of a Complaint in attorney discipline beingfiled against Andrew P. Thomas, Lisa M. Aubuchon and Rachael R. Alexander.Formal hearings were held before the Hearing Panel over 26 days commencingSeptember 12, 2011 and concluding November 2, 2011.As a result of the findings entered by the Honorable John S. Leonardo inState of Arizona vs. Wilcox, CR-2010-005423-001/OC-2010-005423-001, theExecutive Director of the State Bar requested the appointment of independentcounsel to investigate allegations of misconduct against then Maricopa CountyAttorney Andrew Thomas. Pursuant to Article VI of the Arizona Constitution and byAdministrative Order No. 2010-41 entered on March 23, 2010, Chief JusticeRebecca White Berch of the Arizona Supreme Court appointed the ColoradoSupreme Court Office of Attorney Regulation under the direction of RegulationCounsel, John Gleason, as Independent Bar Counsel.Mr. Gleason and other attorneys within that office designated by him wereinvested
with “all the power and authority granted to Bar Counsel pursuant to rules,orders, or decisions of the Arizona Supreme Court.” Mr. Gleason was charged to
investigate and, as he determined appropriate, prosecute allegations of ethical
 
2
misconduct against then Maricopa County Attorney Andrew Thomas or lawyers inhis employ arising from multiple events occurring during his tenure as CountyAttorney.On March 8, 2010, by Administrative order 2010-33, Charles E. Jones,former Chief Justice of the Arizona Supreme Court (now retired), was appointed toserve as the Probable Cause Panelist to review any allegations arising from thatinvestigation. As required by the Supreme Court Rules, Probable Cause PanelistJones reviewed in its entirety Independent Bar Couns
el’s “Report of Investigationand Request for Authority to File Formal Complaint.” On December 6, 2010, an
independent finding of probable cause was entered by that Probable Cause Panelist.On February 3, 2011, Independent Bar Counsel filed a thirty three (33) claimcomplaint against Andrew Thomas, Lisa Aubuchon and Rachael Alexander regardingevents occurring during his term as County Attorney. Mr. Thomas faced thirty (30)charges; Ms. Aubuchon faced twenty
eight (28) charges and Ms. Alexander seven(7) charges. The alleged violations included, but were not limited to, Conflict of Interest and Prosecutorial Misconduct.The parties stipulated on September 6, 2011 to multiple facts that areadopted by the Hearing Panel. Each of the Respondents is subject to the jurisdiction of the Arizona Supreme Court pursuant to Rule 31 of the Rules of theArizona Supreme Court. Andrew P. Thomas was admitted to the Bar of the State of Arizona on October 26, 1991. His Bar Number is 014069. Lisa M. Aubuchon wasadmitted to the Bar of the State of Arizona on October 27, 1990. Her Bar Numberis 13141. Rachel R. Alexander admitted to the Bar of the State of Arizona on May19, 2000. Her Bar Number is 20092.
 
3
Mr. Thomas was elected Maricopa County Attorney in 2004. He wasreelected in 2008. He resigned from that office effective April 6, 2010. Ms.
Aubuchon worked at the Maricopa County Attorney’s Office from 1996 through2010. Ms. Alexander worked at the Maricopa County Attorney’s Office from 2005
through 2010.Pursuant to Rule 52 of the Rules of the Supreme Court of Arizona, a threeperson Hearing Panel was appointed by the Disciplinary Clerk. The Hearing Panelwas comprised of a volunteer public member, the Rev. Dr. John C. N. Hall, avolunteer attorney member, Mark S. Sifferman and by virtue of his position, thePresiding Disciplinary J
udge, William J. O’Neil. Independent Bar Counsel appeared
in person and presented evidence and argument in support of its position.Respondents each appeared in person or through counsel. Each Respondentthrough counsel presented evidence and argument in support of his or herrespective individual positions. Closing arguments were permitted to be submittedin writing. The Hearing Panel heard and considered the extensive record and afterreceiving the closing arguments took the matter under advisement.
INTRODUCTION
In
Arizona, “[t]he professional conduct of members shall be governed by theModel Rules of Professional Conduct of the American Bar Association” as amendedby the Supreme Court of Arizona “and adopted as the Arizona Rules of ProfessionalConduct.” R. Sup. Ct
. Ariz. 42. Every member of the Arizona Bar Association issubject to these rules regardless of how lofty or low a position they hold.The duties and obligations of members shall be:(a) Those prescribed by the Arizona Rules of ProfessionalConduct adopted as rule 42 of these rules.

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