After being questioned by a Superior Court judge, attorneys defending Maricopa County Recorder Adrian Fontes admitted they had made a “mistake” when they claimed that ballot instructions had already been printed.
Fontes was successfully sued last week in the Arizona Supreme Court by the Arizona Public Integrity Alliance, which had sought an injunction against Fontes and an instruction he had added to the mail-in ballots for the 2020 General Elections. The Alliance’s attorney, Alexander Kolodin argued that the instruction, which advised voters to cross out votes made in error, would have created long delays in ballot tabulation,
After the win in the Supreme Court, Superior Court Judge James, who initially heard the case, called out the fact that Fontes told the Supreme Court different things than it had told him about when ballots and instructions would be printed and demanded the attorneys explain themselves.
In response, the attorneys advised Judge James:
The Supreme Court issued an Order on September 9, 2020, attached as Exhibit C, which accepted transfer of the appeal and ordered an expedited briefing schedule. Plaintiffs were ordered to file their Opening Brief no later than 2 p.m. that same day, September 9, which Plaintiffs did. The County Defendants were ordered to file their Answering Brief twenty-two hours later, by 12 noon on September 10, 2020.
To meet that filing deadline, the County Defendants’ attorneys worked nearly nonstop, from 2 p.m. on September 9 until 11 :30 a.m. on September 10, researching and drafting the Answering Brief.
The County Defendants’ attorneys made a mistake on page 13 of the Answering Brief.
We incorrectly wrote that not only the early ballots, but also the instructions themselves, were “currently” being printed at the time of the filing. Specifically, we stated:
- “As of September 8, 2020, the early ballots and accompanying instructions are being printed by the County’s vendor, Runbeck Election Services.”
That statement was incorrect and conflicted with statements on pages 4 and 36 of the Answering Brief, where the County Defendants’ attorneys correctly wrote that the early ballot instructions had already been printed. On those pages we stated:
- “The County’s vendor has already printed the early ballot instructions and has already started printing the early ballots.” (page 4).
- “Here, not only is the election imminent, but the County’s vendor has already printed the early ballot instructions.” (page 36).
In its 2020 emailed Order, this Court stated that reports in the media indicated that the County Defendants made different representations to the Supreme Court than to this Court.
As explained above, our representations to both Courts were that the early ballot instructions have already been printed, which is what the County Defendants’ attorneys have been advised by the County Recorder.
Given Fontes’ highly questionable actions over the years, there is no doubt that he misadvised the County’s attorneys that the ballot instructions were already printed when in fact that was not the case.
His criminal record alone raises questions as to his temperament and judgement:
- ASU record of felony flight and endangerment; ASU record of minor in possession
- Class 5 Felony. Unlawful flight from police (page 2 of PDF)
- Class 6 Felony. Endangerment (page 2)
- People had to jump or dive out of the way (page 3)
- “If you hit one of the pedestrians, would it cause bodily injury to the person?” “Yes, more than likely.” “Cause death?” “Kill them, yea easy.” (Page 6)
- Court documents from Class 5 Felony charge. Alcohol and drug abuse cited.
- Two previous minor in possessions (page 11 of PDF)
- Described as “mentally disturbed” (page 13)
- Evaded cops on a “3 mile pursuit” (page 13)
- Probation of 1 year (page 23 of PDF)
- 3 nights in jail (page 27)
- Alcohol/Marijuana use (Page 27)
- “traveling in excess of forty-five miles per hour.” (page 28)
- “He has future hopes of entering politics.” (Page 29)
- December 1988, June 1989. Minor in possession citations (Page 29)
- “The defendant indicates that prior to his arrest for the present offense he drank alcohol on the weekends and experienced blackouts.” (Page 29)
- “The defendant began using marijuana at the age of fifteen and indicates his last use of the substance was approximately two weeks before his interview with this writer.” (Page 29)
- Foreclosure docs from 2002 (early 30s)
- Had only paid $12,700 on a $122,000 mortgage
- Rebuke for failure to appear and gross mismanagement of law office from Federal Court Judge McNamee (2013)
- “Mr. Fontes acknowledged that he was struggling to address his own deficient office management practices. Regretfully, the Court has heard this explanation on prior occasions when there have been concerns expressed about Mr. Fontes’ conduct before the Court.”
- Re-registered to vote in Maricopa County in 2002 (moved back from Colorado). Did not vote in the County between 2002-2008 (30s)
As a criminal defense attorney, Fontes represented some of the worst-of-the worst. Ensuring that even the worst-of-the-worst deserved legal representation, however Fontes’ client list does leave one questioning just how much he values the rules:
- In 2011, Fontes represented Parry Raymond Valero, who was charged with two counts of sexual assault, three counts of second-degree burglary, and one count of interfering with a judicial proceeding in Yavapai County, Arizona.
- In 2012, Fontes represented Deanna Gaw, who was charged with one count of fraudulent schemes and artifices, seven counts of taking the identity of another person, five counts of second-degree burglary, one count of possession of burglary tools, three counts of possession, use, sale, manufacturing, and transportation of narcotic drugs, and one count of possession, use, sale manufacturing, and transportation of dangerous drugs in Pinal County, Arizona.
- In 2014, Fontes represented Luis Gonzalo Peralta, who was charged with one count of molestation of a child, one count of attempted sexual conduct with a minor, and three counts of sexual conduct with a minor in Yuma County, Arizona.
- In 2017 (WHILE RECORDER), Fontes represented Charles Myvrine Knox, who was charged with one count of first-degree driving under the influence of liquor, drugs, or vapors, one count of failure to comply with a court order, one court of failure to stop for a red light, one count of driving without a registration, one count of first-degree driving under the influence with a BAC of .08 or more, one count of first-degree driving under the influence with an extreme BAC of .15-.19, and one count of first-degree driving under the influence with an extreme BAC of .20 or more in Pinal County, Arizona.
- In 2018 (WHILE RECORDER), Fontes represented Anna Combs, who was charged with two counts of discharging a firearm within city limits and four counts of disorderly conduct involving a weapon in Maricopa County, Arizona.
- In 2011, Fontes represented Alexander Andrews, who was charged with six counts of failure to register as a sex offender in Maricopa County, Arizona.
- In 2011, Fontes represented Orlando Molina-Barraza and his associates, who were charged with five counts of narcotic drug violations, seven counts of money laundering, six counts of dangerous drug violations, eight counts of using electronic communication during a drug transaction, three counts of illegal control of an enterprise, and one count of misconduct involving weapons in Maricopa County, Arizona.
- In 2006, Fontes represented Miguel Angel Velarde-Macias, who was detained by the United States Border Patrol for transporting illegal immigrants across the border. Upon his detention, USBP discovered that “Velarde-Macias had been arrested on about twenty two previous occasions” and “this history indicates that Velarde may be involved in human trafficking.”
- Fontes represented Manuel Fabian Celis-Acosta – the “primary target” in the Obama Administration’s ‘Fast and Furious Investigation.’
- Fontes represented Emilia Palomina-Robles – who was accused of working with a Mexican drug cartel and plotting to buy military grade weapons.
There is no reason to doubt that the County’s attorneys made the “mistake” due to exhaustion. Since taking office three years ago, many have grown exhausted by Fontes’ antics.
Fontes’ latest include claiming that an unidentified “they” are trying to suppress the vote. Considering that he has the authority, by law, to determine where people vote among other things, and the Arizona Secretary of State is a democrat, it is disingenuous at best for Fontes to claim that anyone but him has the power to suppress the vote.
In fact, it is Fontes himself who is attempting to suppress votes. Let us keep this matter in proper perspective. Regardless of what happened or who stated what during the court proceedings, the underlying reason was that Fontes, in his instructions to voters, stated that errors while voting the ballots could be crossed out and the proper item marked. This course of action should never be allowed in any election, much less in one involved with very serious issues, including the U. S. presidency. This was an open invitation to voter fraud, especially since we are still not properly enforcing the Arizona law against ballot harvesting.