By Howard Fischer | Capitol Media Services via Arizona Capitol Times
With new legal help, former Rep. Don Shooter is asking the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals to give him a chance to prove that his civil rights were violated when he was ousted by colleagues – and to expose what he claims are improper and illegal bidding practices.
Attorney Stuart Bernstein told Capitol Media Services he hopes to prove that a federal judge got it wrong when he threw out the claims of the Yuma Republican. Bernstein said there is plenty of legal precedent to show that the process used by the state House to expel him early in 2018 were legally insufficient.
And even if that claim fails, Shooter has separate legal claims pending in Maricopa County Superior Court against former House Speaker J.D. Mesnard and Kirk Adams, the former chief of staff to Gov. Doug Ducey. These allege that Shooter was improperly forced “in retaliation for his investigation into corruption at the highest levels of the Arizona Legislature” according to Andrew Miltenberg, another of Shooter’s new lawyers.
Bernstein acknowledged that U.S. District Court Judge Dominic Lanza, in dismissing Shooter’s lawsuit earlier this year, said there is no clear settled law that legislators have a right to ask a federal court to intercede in matters involving their removal. And that, the judge wrote, means that Mesnard and Adams are entitled to qualified immunity for any actions they say they took in their official capacity.