Arizona Court Rejects Hamadeh’s Appeal As “Premature” Despite Trial Judge Failing To Sign Order

abe hamadeh
Abe Hamadeh

On Wednesday, the Arizona Court of Appeals for Division One denied an appeal by Republican nominee for Attorney General Abe Hamadeh.

The ruling is considered little more than a resolution of a clerical matter in a case that has been frequently referred to as alternately an indictment of, or embarrassment to Arizona’s struggling judicial system.

Writing for the court, Vice Chief Justice Randall Howe found Hamadeh’s notice of appeal was “premature and a nullity.”

“In an unsigned minute entry filed December 28, 2022, the superior court found in favor of appellees and denied appellant’s petition. Appellees subsequently filed a motion for attorneys’ fees. Appellant filed a motion for new trial. In unsigned rulings filed July 14, 2023, and July 17, 2023, the court denied the motion for new trial. Appellant filed a notice of appeal on July 18, 2023. The notice of appeal is premature and a nullity because it was filed while the motion for attorney fees was pending and before a final judgment was entered.”

“Nothing precludes appellant from filing a timely notice of appeal after a final judgment is entered,” concluded Howe.

As previously reported by the Arizona Daily Independent, last week the Arizona Supreme Court issued an order to Mohave County Superior Court Judge Lee Jantzen demanding he sign his order “forthwith” on the two overdue judgments in the case, one of which dates back to Dec. 23, 2022.

That order signed by Chief Justice Robert Brutinel involves a petition for special action Hamadeh filed last month in an effort to move forward with his challenge against Kris Mayes without continuing to wait for Jantzen, who has a history of admonishments by the Supreme Court for delaying judgments.

If Jantzen ever gets around to doing his job and signing the judgments from the first trial and his denial of a new trial, then Hamadeh can move forward with filing an opening brief to the Court of Appeals. This can be done in an expedited manner, Brutinel noted.

Until then, the justices provided a bit of advice to the parties.

“As a final matter, the Court is mindful of the difficulties presented in this extraordinarily close election,” Brutinel noted. “Notwithstanding these difficulties, the Court advises both sides to focus on the important legal and factual issues presented here and refrain from disparaging their opponents.”

It is believed that Brutinel was referring to Arizona Secretary of State Adrian Fontes, a nominal party in the case, who is known for his inordinate penchant for hyperbole and regular use of hostile rhetoric.

“Like many Arizonans, we are anxiously awaiting for the courts to hear our case. The government’s withholding of evidence in our December trial is unacceptable and warrants a new trial where we will offer evidence showing that Abe Hamadeh, not Kris Mayes received the most votes for the office of Attorney General,” said Hamadeh’s spokesperson Erica Knight.


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