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Lawyer likens Thomas to late Sen. McCarthy

The lawyer for an embroiled Phoenix-area politician on Dec. 15 accused Maricopa County Attorney Andrew Thomas of investigating his client for political and personal motives. Colin Campbell, who represents Maricopa County Supervisor Mary Rose Wilcox, is questioning why Thomas's office filed 36 charges against Wilcox, and said "there are elementary mistakes of fact in the allegations that suggest carelessness, rush to judgment, and improper motives."

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AG opinion says SRP must comply with public records law (access required)

Salt River Project has filed documents in Maricopa County Superior Court arguing that it is exempt from the state's public record laws because it is not technically a public body. SRP is one of the largest utility companies in the state and is considered a quasi-governmental agency because it operates as both a private, for-profit company and a political subdivision of the state.

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Harper looks to protect teachers against punitive-damage awards (access required)

State lawmakers are setting their sights on tort reform measures aimed at protecting educators and capping civil litigation awards arising from cases of death and injury. The two referendums, SCR 1001 and SCR 1003, have been introduced by Surprise Republican Sen. Jack Harper, who said he is seeking to guard educators, businesses and public entities from overzealous litigation.

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AZ Supreme Court hears case of drug-sniffing canine (access required)

About four years ago, police led a drug-sniffing dog to the garage of Jose Salvador Guillen, asked his wife for permission to enter the garage and then detected an odor of marijuana. Police, who were acting on a tip they had received eight months prior, obtained a search warrant and discovered bales of marijuana inside freezers in the garage. Guillen was later arrested and charged with possession of four pounds of the illegal narcotic.

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Stricter regs needed for medical pot

Supporters of an effort to legalize medical marijuana in Arizona have taken steps to avoid some of the problems that have riddled California since voters there passed Proposition 215 in 1996. Californians approved a seven-paragraph initiative that protects physicians, caregivers and medical marijuana patients from prosecution. But it led to a massive outgrowth of doctors who prescribe the drug for just about any malady.

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