Cochise County Supervisors Certify Election Results

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[File photo by Natasha Khan/Cronkite News]

On Thursday, the Cochise County Board of Supervisors canvassed its election. The Board had been ordered by a Superior Court judge to vote on the matter by 5 p.m.

Supervisors Peggy Judd and Tom Crosby had hoped to have a public hearing prior to the canvass, but having fallen victim to a County Attorney’s Office that refused to even offer a modicum of assistance, they stumbled into legal jeopardy.

The Secretary of State’s Office and a group represented by the law firm of the high powered Russiagate hoax attorney, Marc Elias, came after the two rural supervisors and the situation spiraled out-of-control.

On Tuesday of this week, they voted to hire an attorney to represent them in court but because they were not advised that they had to vote to approve payment for outside counsel, the attorney reportedly declined to represent them.

Then on Thursday morning, the Board met briefly in an emergency meeting and voted 2-1 to approve legal representation from McCauley Law Offices, P.C., and for the county administrator to sign an agreement with the firm over the lawsuit, but it was too late.

The Board appeared before Superior Court Judge Casey McGinley without legal counsel. Judge McGinley ordered the Board to meet at 3:30 p.m. Thursday and to submit their election results to the Secretary of State no later than 5 p.m.

According to legal experts, the whole situation could have been avoided if Cochise County Attorney Brian McIntyre had conducted himself in a responsible manner.

According to experts, McIntyre’s lack of professionalism and ethical lapses left his clients – the Supervisors – in a legal lurch.

Lawyers are ethically required to keep their advice to clients and information received from clients confidential unless it is necessary to disclose the information to advance the client’s goals. That obligation is considered the “most essential ethical requirement of the profession.”

“An attorney-client relationship is one of trust,” one legal expert who asked to remain anonymous told the Arizona Daily Independent. “Without this rule, lawyers and clients could never have frank discussions with one another. When one lawyer violates this rule, it undermines the confidence of all participants in the judicial process.”

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The expert says that a lawyer who has concerns about a client’s behavior is not required to continue to represent that client, but they are required, in declining further representation, to protect a client’s interests and allow time before withdrawal for the client to obtain other counsel.

The Cochise County Attorney’s Office failed to live up to these ethical requirements, twice disclosing his confidential advice to the Board of Supervisors, his clients, to an adverse party, who then told the court about it. Not only did the Office fail to allow sufficient time for them to properly obtain replacement counsel, it bailed on the unsophisticated Supervisors, leaving the entire county at risk.

McIntyre, who is rumored to be looking to leave his elected post, has garnered considerable negative attention this year after he and his ex-wife took to Facebook to share in great detail his decision to end the marriage.

The Supervisors said they weren’t satisfied that the machines used to tabulate ballots were properly certified for use in elections, though state and federal election officials have said they were.

Even though they were betrayed by people they had once trusted, Judd says she has no regrets.

“I am not ashamed of anything I did,” said Judd during the vote to certify. “And today I feel I must, because of a court ruling and because of my own health and situations that are going on in our life, I feel like I must follow what the judge did today.”

Crosby did not attend the emergency meeting.

Cochise was the last county to certify its election, so the clock will soon start running on a number of things, including legal challenges and legally required recounts.

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