In a pot-and-kettle situation, former Secretary of State candidate Mark Finchem is (incorrectly) urging the court to deny any sanctions against him and/or his attorney because the Adrian Fontes’ Motion was filed two days late. Meanwhile, attorneys for the Secretary of State’s Office filed their request for $7,500 in sanctions in Finchem’s failed Election Contest.

Unfortunately for Finchem, the basis for yesterday’s Objection (below) is that Superior Court Judge Melissa Iyer Julian asked for sanctions motion(s) to be filed “within 10 days”. Opposing counsel correctly – under court rules – read that to mean 10 court days, instead of 10 calendar days. The Christmas court holiday also did not count. So, the December 28 Motion was filed well within the deadline imposed by the judge’s December 16 Minute Entry. (You also do not count the day the Order was filed.)

The irony comes into play in light of Finchem and his attorney’s inability to keep the appeal of the dismissal moving in a timely manner. Arizona’s Law has documented how Finchem’s zombie appeal is only “alive” (moving forward) because the courts and opposing counsel have permitted untimely filings.

Finchem also suggests – in both yesterday’s Opposition and his previous Motion for Reconsideration – that Judge Julian should not award contestee Fontes’ attorneys’ fees because they were initially paid by a third party. (Sanctions are not solely designed to reimburse whoever paid for the attorneys’ fees; they are also to penalize the party that was using the court system to push a groundless claim (or defense) in bad faith.)

Because the Election Contest was dismissed by the trial court judge relatively quickly, the costs and attorneys’ fees incurred by then-Secretary of State Katie Hobbs’ office were only $7,525.58. That filing is also below.

Judge Julian now has the Motion for Sanctions and Finchem’s Motion for Reconsideration in front of her. The Court of Appeals is awaiting briefing on Finchem’s appeal – the Opening Brief is due April 7. 

“AZ Law” includes articles, commentaries and updates about opinions from the Arizona Supreme Court, U.S. Supreme Court, as well as trial and appellate courts, etc. AZ Law is founded by Phoenix attorney Paul Weich, and joins Arizona’s Politics on the internet. 

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