Conservative Activist Judge Keegan: IOKIYAR

Posted by AzBlueMeanie:

Apparently there is a special exemption in Arizona law for reckless speeding in excess of the posted speed limit of which I was totally unaware: "it's OK if you're a Republican" IOKIYAR Who knew?

This may lead to a new black market in fake voter ID cards. "See officer, I'm a Republican." "Well, OK then, sorry to have bothered you, you can go on your way."

On April 10, photo-enforcement cameras on Loop 101 caught Arizona GOP Executive Director Brett Mecum driving 109 mph in a 65 mph zone. Mecum's defense team argued, in part, that his prosecution for criminal speeding and reckless driving was selective and politically motivated — why, because he is a Republican?

Dude, you were going a 109 mph, which is reckless endangerment of everyone else on the highway around you. Have you ever seen the results of a crash at speeds in excess of 100 mph? I have. I attended their funerals.

What an arrogant son-of-a-bitch.

John Keegan, a justice of the peace at the Arrowhead Court in Surprise, dismissed the charges against Mecum this week. JP dismisses charges against GOP director Say what?

Keegan dismissed the charges against Mecum by arguing, as he has routinely done in the past, that the state law that permits speed-camera enforcement is unconstitutional. Keegan says the system violates the equal protection clause since two motorists, both speeding on the same road at the same time, would receive different penalties if one was cited by a live officer and the other by a camera.

There are a couple of things wrong with this. First, Keegan is a JP. He does not have jurisdiction to decide the constitutionality of Arizona statutory law. His ruling has no force or effect other than in his cases in his courtroom. This is a conservative activist judge who is creating his own law to apply in his courtroom.

Second, because of his judicial activism, this is where the real violation of equal protection occurs. Individuals cited for the same or similar offenses brought before other Justices of the Peace will have Arizona law duly enforced against them. They will likely be found guilty and pay a fine, maybe even do a little time (for criminal speeding). But those individuals who are lucky enough to draw Judge Keegan as their judge will have their charges dismissed because this conservative activist judge applies his own law in his courtroom. He refuses to enforce Arizona statutory law that he has decided is unconstitutional. This is arbitrary and capricious.

I am not aware that the Arizona Court of Appeals or Supreme Court has struck down the law as unconstitutional (if they had, DPS would not presently be enforcing the law). Until such time that a court of appropriate jurisdiction has ruled that the law is unconstitutional, Judge Keegan's only job is to apply the law to the facts of the case and enforce the law.

As for defense counsel's claim that this prosecution was politically motivated, that's rich. What may have been politically motivated was Judge Keegan's decision.

Keegan is a Republican, former legislator and mayor of Peoria. He is married to GOP politico Lisa Graham Keegan, a former state schools chief who was a top adviser last year to John McCain's presidential campaign.

This has all the appearances of being a politically motivated decision. What is curious is how Brett Mecum just happened to win the luck of the draw in "randomly" being assigned to Judge Keegan, rather than another JP. It could be just coincidence, or it could be judge shopping as well.

Maybe the State Bar of Arizona's judicial ethics panel should be looking into this matter. Here is a JP making his own law to apply in his courtroom like he is Judge Roy Bean in the Wild West. If he is also rendering decisions based upon political favoritism, that is something which needs to be addressed.

The Phoenix City Attorney's office should appeal this case. This is just bullsh*t.

NB: Edited and revised for clarity.

0 responses to “Conservative Activist Judge Keegan: IOKIYAR

  1. The Justice Court is an inferior court of limited jurisdiction.

    Appeals from the Justice Court are to the Superior Court, usually de novo.

    Only rulings on constitutionality from the Court of Appeals or Supreme Court are precedent authority for all courts.

  2. How is it that a JP judge doesn’t have the authority to rule that a given ticket is unconstitutional? Is a JP a judge or not? Does he take an oath to uphold the Arizona constitution or not?

    http://icarizona.blogspot.com/2009/01/goldwater-institute-gutsy-justice-of.html

  3. God help me for defending (even in a back-handed way) the Republican judge here, but while I disagree with his ruling, he’s been consistent on this issue. It hasn’t just been Mecum’s case.

    As for the judge-shopping idea, i’m pretty sure that the photo ticket was issued in Keegan’s justice precinct. It was his case.

    Now Keegan may have enjoyed this particular dismissal more than the others and will probably get more than a few pats on the back for it from the AZGOP hierarchy, but it doesn’t seem to be out of the norm for him.

  4. David Safier

    I have to say, AZ Blue, you sure buried the lede on this one. The judge who dismissed the charges is the husband of Lisa Graham Keegan. Wow! No chance of there being any political motivation to the dismissal, is there? Maybe Keegan felt a special empathy for Mecum. (“I understand how a Republican worrying about how to save this country from socialism could let his foot come down a little to hard on the accelerator. Could happen to anyone.”)

    Again, wow!