Controversial Prosecutor Gets Taste of Own Medicine
Article from Reason by J.D. Tuccile.
To the limited extent he’s known outside Arizona, Maricopa County prosecutor Juan Martinez is associated with the high-profile and lurid case of Jodi Arias, who was convicted in 2013 of murdering Travis Alexander. Within the state, though, Martinez evokes tales of courtroom theatrics and allegations of leaking confidential information, tampering with evidence, lying to investigators, and sexual harassment. And while that’s not uncommon behavior for prosecutors anywhere in the country, what is notable here is that after surviving several attempts to hold him to account, Martinez’s luck may finally be running out.
“Juan is a victory-at-any-cost prosecutor driven by his own ego,” Mel McDonald, a onetime judge and former U.S. Attorney for the District of Arizona told the Phoenix New Times in 2015. “He lies easily and he always overreaches, always plays to the mob mentality.”
State officials seemed to agree. In 2016, several years after Arizona Supreme Court justices called out Martinez’s conduct in open court, the court’s Attorney Discipline Probable Cause Committee recommended that Martinez be placed on probation for a year for his unprofessional behavior. But Martinez dodged that bullet when a three-judge panel dismissed the case after less than a minute of deliberations.
“Juan Martinez’s behavior is not uncommon in the Maricopa County Attorney’s Office,” the ACLU of Arizona announced as it filed an amicus brief in the case against Martinez. “It is indicative of a decades-long culture of misconduct that flows from the top down, one that prioritizes winning convictions over pursuing fairness and executing justice.”
Read the entire article at Reason.
Image Credit: By St. Louis Circuit Attorney’s Office (Own work) [CC BY-SA 4.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)], via Wikimedia Commons