James Austin Woods

Two Renaissance Square 40 N. Central Avenue, Suite 2250, Phoenix, AZ 85004

austin.woods@gmail.com

Telephone: (302) 319-2634

Facsimile: (602) 258-5070

Monday, September 19, 2011

VIA ELECTRONIC MAIL Arizona State Senator Russell Pearce President, Arizona State Senate 1700 West Washington Street Phoenix, AZ 85007 Please be advised that this law firm represents Senator Scott Bundgaard. Dear Senate President Pearce, I write to you on behalf of my client to bring to your attention a threshold matter that must be resolved before the Senate Ethics Committee can begin their investigation regarding our client, Senator Scott Bundgaard. “The party filing the affidavit has cause to believe and does believe that on account of the bias, prejudice, or interest of the judge he cannot obtain a fair and impartial trial.” ARS 12-409.B.5 Senator Bundgaard hereby brings forward complaints against Senators Ron Gould, Leah Landrum-Taylor and David Schapira for failing to follow their duty to uphold the rules and laws governing this body. Each continues to sit in on an investigation of which they have publically voiced their bias and have made clear to all that they have already made up their minds prior to the “investigation” by the Senate Ethics Committee even beginning. A Statement of Facts provides evidence of bias and prejudice using the public statements of these three members of the Senate Ethics Committee. The Rules of Procedure for the Senate Ethics Committee state that the President of the Senate shall replace any member of the Ethics Committee who is the subject of a complaint. Senator Bundgaard welcomes this investigation, but it must be fair and it must be impartial; neither is possible when these three Senators have made a pre-

____________________________________________________  
Goldman  &  Woods  

Senator Russell Pearce September 16th, 2011 Page 2   determination of guilt given their own prior, public statements. Westʼs Encyclopedia of American Law states that bias is “A predisposition or a preconceived opinion that prevents a person from impartially evaluating facts that have been presented for determination; a prejudice.” A judge who demonstrates bias in a hearing over which he or she presides has a mental attitude toward a party to the litigation that hinders the judge from supervising fairly the course of the trial, thereby depriving the party of the right to a fair trial. A judge may recuse himself or herself to avoid the appearance of bias.” Senators Ron Gould, Leah Landrum-Taylor and David Schapira have a duty to follow the law and to uphold the Constitution of Arizona. Senator Bundgaard makes this complaint in order to remove Senators Gould, Landrum-Taylor and Schapira from hearing the Bundgaard matter before the Senate Ethics Committee. “If a member of the Committee is under investigation or the subject of a complaint, the member shall be temporarily replaced on the Committee by the appointment of another member made by the President of the Senate.” Senate Ethics Committee, Rules of Procedure, Rule 17 Within the Rules of Procedure for the Senate Ethics Committee, the President of the Senate is mandated to replace a member if that Ethics Committee member is the subject of a complaint. Senator Bundgaard hereby alleges that State Senator Ron Gould, Chairman of the Senate Ethics Committee and State Senators Leah Landrum-Taylor and David Schapira, all members of the Senate Ethics Committee, have expressed bias and prejudice in this matter to such an extent that it would be impossible for Senator Bundgaard to obtain a fair and impartial investigation. Three members of this fivemember committee have made comments clearly demonstrating bias and prejudice in this matter. Statement of Facts The public record supports the fact that on March 07, 2011, Senator Gould made a public pronouncement specific to Senator Bundgaard, based on a set of facts

____________________________________________________  
Woods  &  Goldman  

 

Senator Russell Pearce September 16th, 2011 Page 3   predetermined by Gould and referencing ‘conduct unbecoming a Senator’.

Sen. Ron Gould, R-Lake Havasu City, said based on his review of the police report, Bundgaard has to go. “When you elect Senators, they expect them to act like ladies and gentlemen, Gould said. “When you get into a fistfight on the side of the freeway, which is witnessed by an off-duty police officer, thatʼs conduct unbecoming a Senator,” Gould said. See Associated Press. (2011, March 8). Bundgaard refuses to step down. yourwestvalley.com. Retrieved September 14, 2011, from: http://www.yourwestvalley.com/peoria/article_f6c3f2ae-48f1-11e0-a0b6001cc4c002e0.html

The public record supports the fact that on March 07, 2011, Senator Gould made threatening comments toward Senator Bundgaard, making a pre-determination as to the facts in the case before hearing testimony from Senator Bundgaard and witnesses.

“Gould was clearly perturbed by the police report of the incident. “You know what? If that was my daughter and we still operated under the old school rules, something wouldʼve already happened [to Senator Bundgaard],” Gould said. “You used to have the dad and brother program that used to address these situations.” See Puerto, Luige del. (2011, March 7). Pressure mounts from both sides for Bundgaard to step down. azcapitoltimes.com. Retrieved September 6, 2011, from: http://azcapitoltimes.com/news/2011/03/07/bundgaard-rejects-senators-callforhim-to-resign/

The public record supports the fact that on March 07, 2011, Senator Landrum-Taylor held a press conference and called for Senator Bundgaard to resign from the Arizona

____________________________________________________  
Woods  &  Goldman  

 

Senator Russell Pearce September 16th, 2011 Page 4   State Senate based on her pre-determination of the facts in the matter. Senator Landrum-Taylor then filed an ethics complaint against Senator Bundgaard. See Davenport, Paul (2011, March 7). Arizona Senate Dems call for Bundgaard to resign. azcapitoltimes.com. Retrieved September 14, 2011, from: http://azcapitoltimes.com/news/2011/03/07/arizona-senate-dems-callforbundgaard-to-resign/

The public record supports the fact that on March 14, 2011, the ethics complaint filed by Senator Landrum-Taylor, based upon her pre-determined set of facts, was dismissed by a vote of the Senate Ethics Committee with a statement issued by committee chairman, Senator Gould. “Todayʼs motion to dismiss Sen. Landrum-Taylor’s complaint against Sen. Bundgaard was due solely to the fact that Senator Landrum’s complaint did not comply with Senate rules regarding ethics complaints," Gould wrote. “Specifically, according to Senate Ethics Rule 5(A)1(a), a complaint must contain statements of fact within the personal knowledge of the complainant.” See Holland, Catherine (2011, March 14). Senate Ethics Committee dismissed complaint against Bundgaard. News Channel 3, azfamily.com. Retrieved September 14, 2011, from: http://www.azfamily.com/news/local/Senate-Ethics-Committee-to-hearBundgaardcase--118166194.html

The public record supports the fact that on August 17, 2011, Senator Gould began soliciting Senate members to file an ethics complaint against Senator Bundgaard, stated that if no member did file a complaint, “It may have to be me”, and stated further, “If I was Senator Bundgaard…I would go ahead and resign.” See Associated Press (August 17, 2011). Ethics head says Bundgaard may still face probe. KTAR radio, KTAR.com.

____________________________________________________  
Woods  &  Goldman  

 

Senator Russell Pearce September 16th, 2011 Page 5   Retrieved September 14, 2011, from: http://ktar.com/category/local-news-articles/20110816/Ariz.-lawmaker-pleadsnocontest-to-endangerment/

The public record supports the fact that on September 13, 2011, Senator Schapira publicly demonstrated his bias and prejudice by publishing on his public Twitter page and on his public Facebook page that he is “proud that my colleagues on the Ethics Committee have voted to pursue an investigation into Bundgaardʼs conduct unbecoming a Senator.” Twitter.com, Facebook.com Retrieved September 14, 2011, from: http://twitter.com/#!/dschapira Retrieved September 15, 2011, from: http://www.facebook.com/davidforaz

Senator Steve Yarbrough, a member of the Senate Ethics Committee, made a request during the Senate Ethics Committee hearing on September 13, 2011, asking Senators Gould and Landrum-Taylor to recuse themselves due to public comments made previously by them that demonstrated bias and prejudice in this matter. (Schapira was absent from the meeting.) As a result of the publicly stated refusal by Gould and Landrum-Taylor to disqualify themselves from this investigation and because Schapira also made public comments expressing bias and prejudice – these three members are deliberately obstructing the course of justice and thus violating their Oath of Office, Arizona state law and the Constitution of Arizona by not “impartially” discharging the duties of their respective offices. (ARS 38-231; ARS 12-409.B.5; Art.6, Sec. 26 AZ Const.) On March 14, 2011—by a vote of 3 ayes and 2 nays—the Senate Ethics Committee dismissed a complaint filed by Senator Landrum-Taylor. Chairman Gould stated publicly, “Todayʼs motion to dismiss Sen. Landrum-Taylorʼs complaint against Sen. Bundgaard was due solely to the fact that Senator Landrum’s complaint did not

____________________________________________________  
Woods  &  Goldman  

 

Senator Russell Pearce September 16th, 2011 Page 6   comply with Senate rules regarding ethics complaints,” Gould wrote. “Specifically, according to Senate Ethics Rule 5(A)1(a), a complaint must contain statements of fact within the personal knowledge of the complainant.” On September 13, 2011, when a fellow member of the Senate Ethics Committee, Senator Andy Biggs, raised this same rule, Chairman Gould did not equally apply the rule. Senator Biggs noted that the Complainant, Senator Steve Gallardo, lacked “personal knowledge.” When Senator Gallardo was asked directly if he had any personal knowledge of this matter, he conceded that all he had done was merely read the police report—just as Senator Landrum-Taylor had done in her complaint half a year earlier. Senator Gould continues to demonstrate his prejudice and bias by overlooking and loosely applying the law, the Constitution of Arizona and the rules of the Senate Ethics Committee in order to support his pre-determined opinion and in order to force a specific outcome that he clearly personally desires. In conclusion, the public comments over the last seven months from Senators Gould, Landrum-Taylor and Schapira prove that all three are not operating within the boundary of the rules with which this body is governed. It is clear beyond all doubt that they are biased and cannot even maintain impartiality in public—their comments cited above demonstrate this much—let alone as members of an ethics committee sitting in on an investigation into this matter. When it was not their business to comment, or to pass judgment, they did so—all without having access to the full facts of the case, which at the time of many of these comments were not even known. Now it is their business to hold a fair, impartial and transparent investigation into the matter at hand, and given their clear biases and prejudices this is a task they are not able to undertake. The Senate Rules are crystal clear: “If a member of the Committee is under investigation or the subject of a complaint, the member shall be replaced on the Committee by the appointment of another member made by the President of the Senate.” Senate Ethics Committee, Rules of Procedure, Rule 17. This complaint stands against these three Senators, and thus, they must be removed and replaced by you.

____________________________________________________  
Woods  &  Goldman  

 

Senator Russell Pearce September 16th, 2011 Page 7   Therefore, for the foregoing reasons, Senator Bundgaard requests that Senators Gould, Landrum-Taylor and Schapira be disqualified from the Senate Ethics Committee and that you, Mr. President, select their replacements. Sincerely,

James Austin Woods, Esq. Partner, Goldman & Woods

____________________________________________________  
Woods  &  Goldman  

 

Sign up to vote on this title
UsefulNot useful