Arizona High Court Rejects Mecham Plea
The Arizona Supreme Court refused Friday to consider an appeal of former Gov. Evan Mecham’s impeachment and removal from office and his claims for more than $600,000 in attorneys’ fees and expenses stemming from a controversial 15 months in office.
In a unanimous decision, the court said the impeachment proceedings against Mecham were conducted in accordance with the Arizona Constitution and that the court had no jurisdiction to review proceedings in the Legislature.
Mecham and his attorney, Donald MacPherson, could not be reached for comment. Mecham has said in the past that he intends to carry his appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court, if necessary.
Mecham had contended that the actions for which he was impeached were based on laws that were unconstitutional or improperly applied and that he should be reinstated as governor.
He has also contended that he was entitled to $243,378 for attorneys’ fees stemming from his impeachment and a subsequent criminal trial at which he was acquitted of perjury and fraud charges, $282,996 in campaign expenses for a recall election that was canceled and $92,000 from his so-called “protocol fund,” which was money collected at his inaugural.
The Supreme Court said there is no constitutional provision for the attorneys’ fees and that recall expense provisions of the constitution are dependent on legislative action. It noted that the question of the protocol fund is pending in a lower court.
Mecham, 63, was removed from office on April 4, 1988, when the Senate convicted him of obstructing an investigation into an aide’s alleged death threat against a former aide and of illegally lending money from the protocol fund to his auto dealership.