By Jeremy Duda | Arizona Capitol Times
The Arizona Supreme Court ruled today that Yavapai County Attorney Sheila Polk violated Tom Horne’s due process rights by levying a $400,000 fine against him and a former aide over campaign finance violations.
The decision overturned two lower court rulings and handed the former attorney general a major victory in the scandal that ultimately contributed to his election defeat.
The justices ruled that due process does not permit Polk to levy the fine against Horne and Kathleen Winn, participate in prosecuting them, and serve as the final decision-maker in rejecting an administrative law judge’s recommendation that the case be dismissed, which the Supreme Court noted would “receive only deferential judicial review.”
Writing for the unanimous court (three justices recused themselves and were replaced by other judges), Justice Clint Bolick said Polk could have made both the initial decision on the fine and the final determination to reject the administrative law judge’s decision. But by taking an active role in the prosecution, where Polk acknowledged being involved in preparation and strategy, she deprived Horne and Winn of their due process rights, even if there was no actual bias on Polk’s part, Bolick said.
Continued: (Paywall site)