The Finchem Dismissal Disaster in Arizona – Where is the Rule of Law?

Until recently I have not had time to delve into election cases with much depth. With the recent upheaval in Arizona, I took the time to look into Kari Lake’s case and was shocked at the depth and quality of evidence. This should be a slam dunk. Kari’s case also led me to look into the other statewide cases in AZ and, while all were different, all had merits and I was looking forward to seeing the litigation process play out.

What I did not expect to find was corruption on a level that seemed to verify the outrage many people expressed after 2020. If the corruption of 2020 was as bad as the 2022 Arizona election people should have been outraged. Further, if the courts did anything similar to what was done with the Finchem dismissal it is not a surprise that people were claiming that there are issues with the courts.

As a disclaimer, I am an attorney licensed in Ohio but am not licensed in Arizona. I am also a commentator and am writing in that capacity. Disclaimers aside, I want to discuss the dismissal and why people have every right to be upset over this.

To begin, if you would like to see the dismissal, it is here: Order Granting Motion to Dismiss – Finchem.

As for the case, the dismissal was, or should have been, an absolute embarrassment for this judge to publish and frankly ought to be appealed to prevent a miscarriage of justice. I would need to write a book to cover all the mistakes in this ruling, so I’m just going to hit a few. Also, I am writing this for real people so I will be keeping this as non-legal as possible.

My first issue stems from the second paragraph of the analysis which states:

In keeping with that premise, this Court must apply “all reasonable presumptions” in “favor [of] the validity of an election.” Moore v. City of Page, 148 Ariz. 151, 155 (Ct. App. 1986). “[H]onest mistakes or mere omissions on the part of election officers, or irregularities in directory matters, even though gross, if not fraudulent, will not void an election, unless they affect the result, or at least render it uncertain.” Findley v. Sorenson, 35 Ariz. 265, 269 (1929).

The court seems to rely on the idea that Finchem’s team must prove fraud in their pleadings to move past a motion to dismiss. That is absolutely absurd. You see, when a case begins a Plaintiff files a complaint. A complaint is a document that lays out the claim. According to Rule 8 of the Arizona Rules of Civil Procedure:

(a) Claim for Relief. A pleading that states a claim for relief must contain:

(1) a short and plain statement of the grounds for the court’s jurisdiction, unless the court already has jurisdiction and the claim needs no new jurisdictional support;

(2) a short and plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief; and

(3) a demand for the relief sought, which may include relief in the alternative or different types of relief.

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