Sunday, July 4, 2010
The Arizona Supreme Court has announced significant changes in its attorney discipline system. The court's announcement highlights the new regime:
- Utilization of a paid full-time hearing officer, the Presiding Disciplinary Judge, to preside over all formal cases;
- Establishment of an independent probable cause committee, appointed by the Supreme Court, with representation by attorneys and members of the public;
- A streamlined process for formal cases that encourages resolution of cases before the Presiding Disciplinary Judge and provides the judge with the authority to impose all sanctions, including disbarment;
- Elimination of the Disciplinary Commission review and recommendation process; replacing it with a direct appeal to the Supreme Court;
- Appointment of counsel by the Presiding Disciplinary Judge for investigation of conflict cases and;
- Establish an Advisory Committee on Attorney Regulation to monitor the implementation of the new process and to periodically review the entire attorney admission and discipline system.