State Legislative Leaders Weigh in on Abe Hamadeh’s Election Challenge with Friend of the Court Brief

The Arizona State Senate and House leaders, State Senator Warren Petersen (R-Mesa) and State Representative Ben Toma (R-Peoria), filed an amici curiae brief, known as a “friend of the court brief,” weighing in on Republican Abe Hamadeh’s request for a new trial in his election challenge.

“Our system of government depends on the accurate tabulation of every legal vote. This imperative does not lapse on Inauguration Day; it imparts to the courts an enduring obligation to guarantee a full and fair adjudication of every bona fide dispute that may be material to the determination of an election,” according to the brief.

As reported by The Arizona Sun Times, Hamadeh filed his motion for a new trial in early January after the recount in the attorney general’s race closed the gap between himself and Attorney General Kris Mayes to 280 votes. The disparity came from Pinal County, likely due to a human error. However, Hamadeh was unaware this discrepancy existed until after the court had dismissed his election challenge. Hamadeh’s team argued that this new evidence is grounds for a new trial and an inspection of all the voted ballots to ensure the count was correct.

However, at the same time, Mayes filed for sanctions against Hamadeh, alleging he never had the evidence needed to overturn the election and acted in bad faith by going to trial anyway.

Additionally, Mayes’s legal team responded to the request for a new trial, stating Hamadeh is not entitled to one because the request came too late and Mays is already in office.

In the new brief from the lawmakers, they express their purpose is not to argue on who got the most votes but to ensure that Hamadeh had the fullest and fairest chance to present his case.

Under Arizona Revised Statutes (ARS) § 16-677, parties involved in an election contest may inspect voted ballots before a trial. The party must apply for the inspection in the court and certify that they cannot “properly prepare for trial” without the inspection. The lawmakers argue that because of Pinal County, the court should, at the very least, allow the contestants to “fully vindicate their statutory right to a plenary inspection of ballots.”

Moreover, the lawmakers assert that Hamadeh cannot be prevented from pursuing “viable claims and unresolved evidentiary questions” just because Mayes has taken office, based on the precedent set by Prutch v. Town of Quartzsite.

Furthermore, the legislators argued that not only should Hamadeh have his second trial, but Mayes should not be able to impose sanctions on him. They argue that just because Hamadeh could not prove his claims in court does not mean they were frivolous or improper. Part of the Defendant’s request for sanctions was that Hamadeh went to trial without having identified enough miscounted or excluded ballots. However, the legislators argue Hamadeh “could not have known” the full extent of uncounted ballots because the recount was under seal until after the contest went to trial.

“Win or lose, it would be unjust to punish the Contestants solely for raising and pursuing questions of enduring public importance to the voters of this State and the integrity of its elections,” according to the brief.

Toma and Petersen conclude by asking the court to consider granting a new trial and denying the sanctions.

Moreover, Hamadeh and his team have until February 6th to submit a response to the Defendant’s opposition to a new trial.

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Neil Jones is a reporter for The Arizona Sun Times and The Star News Network. Follow Neil on Twitter. Email tips to [email protected].
Photo “Warren Petersen” by Gage Skidmore. CC BY-SA 2.0. Photo “Ben Toma” by Ben Toma. Photo “Abraham Hamadeh” by Gage Skidmore. CC BY-SA 2.0. Background Photo “Courtroom” by Karen Neoh. CC BY 2.0.


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One Thought to “State Legislative Leaders Weigh in on Abe Hamadeh’s Election Challenge with Friend of the Court Brief”

  1. Shorley

    Thus whole 2022 election should be redone we all know tbete was .assume cheating going on & once again Demicrst judges refuse to give the Republicans a fair trial. Time to get a recall going for Mayers Everyone of these dsmn Democrats need to be removed. This is still a red state & we do not want to be turned into another California state. I’d love to see the Lord wipe everyone of them off the face of the earth.