It feels like there should be little left to say, but here we are again. Juan Martinez, Maricopa’s hot-shot prosecutor, is in the news. He craves the spotlight, there is no doubt about that. On March 1, the State Bar of Arizona filed a formal complaint against him (you can find the complaint itself at the bottom of the news article), and it “includ[es] numerous allegations from women in the County Attorney’s Office that he sexually harassed them.” While the allegations of widespread and rampant sexual misconduct will dominate the headlines, the issues pertaining to prosecutorial ethics also warrant attention.
The complaint represents a remarkable turnaround for the State Bar, which had badly fallen short nearly one year ago. As we wrote then, the investigation done at that time was subpar, to say the least: “Despite being handed some two-dozen witnesses by [Jodi] Arias’s lawyers, the Bar’s lawyer, Craig Henley, and his staff interviewed a number you can count with just one hand in the span of about a year. A half-hearted investigation yielded minimal results, and that weak evidence is all the bar looked at when deciding how to dispose of the complaint.” Whatever the motivation for the turnaround, this complaint puts what has looked like a political issue in the hands of the next decision-maker: a disciplinary panel of the Arizona Supreme Court.
It’s too much to review here, but suffice to say that the case for professional discipline against Juan Martinez is practically irrefutable. Our previous posts lay out his escapades in excruciating detail:
- This post explores the complaint raised by Jodi Arias’s lawyers, and reviews previous repeated judicial findings of Martinez’s prosecutrial misconduct
- This post discusses how the Arizona judiciary has done far too little to correct Mr. Martinez’s unethical behavior
- This post details the ways in which Martinez represents the worst of “win at all costs” prosecutors
Pointing out that Martinez is in the news again is far from thrilling. It is almost worthy of a yawn. Yet, given the ethical dumpster fire that has long been the Maricopa County Attorney’s Office, we have to keep our eyes on the case. If by some miracle those with the authority to send an ethical message actually decide to do something to tarnish Martinez’s legacy, there may be hope that his audacious, Constitution-violating style will eventually be seen by prosecutors as counterproductive, not the gold standard. We are way too down-to-earth to even bother crossing our fingers. But, we will leave our “Juan Martinez” google alerts on and see what happens.