Former Maricopa County Attorney Andrew Thomas, who can no longer practice law, announced his support Thursday for a ballot measure to change Arizona's judicial selection process.
Thomas, disbarred in April, said his backing of Proposition 115 is just the beginning of his fight to reform government.
At a news conference on the state Senate lawn, Thomas announced the formation of a campaign committee, Citizens for Clean Courts, to support the proposed constitutional amendment. Among other things, the measure would give the governor a larger role in selecting state and county judges.
Joining him were family members of elderly Arizonans whose estates have been depleted by probate and fiduciary fees under Maricopa County Probate Court.
Scottsdale resident Patti Gomes said court-appointed lawyers and fiduciaries drained her 90-year-old mother's $1.4 million estate. Gomes and others said their families have been victimized by judges, attorneys and administrators in the probate system.
Thomas said he's not a victim, though he has repeatedly claimed the Arizona judiciary conspired to end his career.
"That is because we got too close to the truth and the judiciary took us out," Thomas said of himself and two former prosecutors.
The Legislature last year placed the proposed constitutional amendment on the November ballot. It was a compromise between judges, the Arizona State Bar, the Governor's Office and those who supported eliminating merit selection in favor of direct election of judges. The measure passed the Senate on a party-line vote, but won a handful of Democratic votes in the House.
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Andrew Thomas Backs Judicial Selection Ballot Measure