Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Lester Pearce censured by the Arizona Supreme Court

Lester Pearce, brother of former state legislator Russell Pearce and a former Justice of the Peace in Maricopa County, was censured by the Arizona Supreme Court because of misconduct in office.

The charges against Pearce stemmed from his active involvement in his brother's (ultimately unsuccessful) campaign to fight being recalled from the state senate.

Judges of all sorts, even JPs, are barred from engaging in partisan political activity or campaigned for a candidate other than themselves.

After fighting the charges for months, Pearce stopped contesting the charges to allow the matter to come to a close (he never admitted his guilt).  Based on media reports, in addition to the censure, Pearce will have to pay a small fine/reimbursement for the costs of the investigation (~$1500).

And the money may be the most painful part of this for Pearce. 

The censure itself is little more than the AZ Supreme Court wagging a scolding finger at Pearce (no, not *that* finger :) ).  As he is 67 and his most recent campaign, a run for the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors, ended with a loss in the Republican primary, it seems likely that he won't be running for public office again. 

Perhaps he will be active in the rumored "Pearce putsch" at the AZGOP's reorganizational meeting in January.  If that is successful, he might be able to give elected office another shot, but if his party signals that it is embracing the Pearce clan's extremeist positions less enthusiastically (i.e. - doesn't support the wingnuts in their intended complete takeover of the AZGOP), he'd have trouble getting through any primary, not just the most recent one.

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