By Corinne Murdock |
Republican attorney general candidate Abe Hamadeh may now file his appeal, after months of waiting for a superior court judge to sign his orders.
On Thursday morning, the district court informed AZ Free News that Superior Court Judge Lee Jantzen signed the orders in the case, Kentch v. Mayes (CV-2022-01468). The notification followed the Arizona Court of Appeals’ denial of Hamadeh’s appeal on Wednesday due to lack of timeliness. Vice Chief Judge Randall Howe issued the order.
“The notice of appeal is premature and a nullity because it was filed while the motion for attorney fees was pending and before a final judgment was entered,” stated Howe.
Hamadeh claimed on X that the government has withheld evidence and therefore a new trial is warranted.
“The government’s withholding of evidence in our December trial is unacceptable and warrants a new trial where we will offer evidence showing that Abe Hamadeh, not Kris Mayes received the most votes for the office of Attorney General,” stated Hamadeh.
Earlier this month, Hamadeh petitioned the Arizona Supreme Court for special action. In an order dismissing Hamadeh’s petition, the Arizona Supreme Court directed Jantzen to sign his orders from July and last December. Chief Justice Robert Brutinel issued the order.
“[A]t this point there is no apparent impediment to entering a final judgment, and the trial court should enter a final appealable judgment forthwith,” stated Brutinel.
Brutinel also criticized Hamadeh’s counsel for misrepresenting their efforts made to obtain final judgment; Hamadeh’s counsel has contested that the misrepresentation was unintentional. For that reason, Brutinel wrote that Jantzen couldn’t be fully culpable for failing to exercise discretion in his duty to carry out his responsibilities, and Hamadeh’s team was to cover the attorney fees incurred by the respondents, Attorney General Kris Mayes and Secretary of State Adrian Fontes.
In closing, Brutinel advised the parties on both sides of the case to avoid engaging in emotional language and verbal attacks of the opposition. Brutinel suggested a review of the conduct book, “A Lawyer’s and Legal Paraprofessional’s Creed of Professionalism of the State Bar of Arizona,” specifically the section on treatment of opposing parties and counsel.
“[T]he Court is mindful of the difficulties presented in this extraordinarily close election,” said Brutinel. “Notwithstanding these difficulties, the Court advises both sides to focus on the important legal and factual issues presented here and refrain from disparaging their opponents.”
Yet, after the Arizona Supreme Court advisement, Fontes accused Hamadeh and his team of conducting a misinformation campaign and intending to deceive the public in an interview with The Arizona Republic.
“This decision is a rejection of a misinformation campaign designed to deceive the public and sow distrust in our election officials,” stated Fontes.
One of Jantzen’s unsigned orders was his mid-July ruling denying Hamadeh’s motion for a new trial. The other was his December order putting the ballot exhibits under seal, admitting several exhibits into evidence, and denying any recount of ballots.