Uncivil discourse update: No injunction in LD20 Republicans’ mess

By Craig McDermott, cross-posted from Random Musings

not yet, anyway…

In what is likely to be only the first court proceeding related to the mess that is the LD20 Republican Party Committee, a judge ruled that while the language used in some emails was "intemperate" and certainly bad, it didn't quite meet the legal threshold of harassment, and thus no injunction against harassment (aka – a restraining order) was warranted.

LD20 (which is mostly Ahwatukee) can perhaps best be described at the "petri dish"* of the discord in the Arizona Republican Party as a whole, is a place where the Tea Party movement has been "feeling its oats" and has been attacking the mainstream of the AZGOP with even more vigor than they've gone after Democrats and Independents who don't drink the Kool-Aid tea.

The mess had gained national notice when the recently-reelected chair of the LD20 Republican Committee, Anthony Miller, resigned, citing fears for the safety of his family and himself.  The Tea Party types were incensed over his support of the Republican nominee for U.S. Senate, John McCain.

Then last week one of the District officers who resigned along with Miller, Sophia Johnson, asked for an order of protection (the "injunction"), citing harassing emails from one of the Tea Party types, Sandra Miller (no relation to Anthony Miller).

In the Tuesday morning hearing held in the courtroom of the Kyrene Justice Court, Judge Elizabeth Rogers** heard both sides of the issue, examined the evidence presented to her (printed copies of the emails in question) and ruled that while the emails were certainly rude and "intemperate," they didn't rise to the legal threshold to be considered harassment.

Judge Rogers admonished Ms. Miller, advising her that sometimes people need to take a moment before to think about what they are going to say, especially in a subject area like politics that tends to excite emotions.

Personally, I don't think she got the message, but we'll see.

* – The new chair of the Arizona Republican Party, Tom Morrissey, is a Tea Party type from LD20.

** – Full disclosure time:  Judge Rogers is a friend of mine, and I helped with her 2010 reelection campaign.

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