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Attorney who plagiarized U.S. justices withdraws application for state court

U.S. Supreme Court Justice Neil Gorsuch during his confirmation hearing in 2017. (Wikimedia Commons)

U.S. Supreme Court Justice Neil Gorsuch during his confirmation hearing in 2017. (Wikimedia Commons)

The attorney who plagiarized passages from U.S. Supreme Court justices in her application for the Arizona Court of Appeals has withdrawn her name from consideration.

Kristina Reeves sent a one-sentence email to the Commission on Appellate Court Appointments on Friday morning asking for them to remove her application days after it was found she directly lifted passages from the Senate confirmation hearings of Justices Neil Gorsuch and Samuel Alito.

“Good morning, Please inform the members of the commission that I am withdrawing my application. Thank you,” Reeves wrote in her email.

On Tuesday, the same day Arizona Capitol Times’ breaking story was released, Reeves exchanged emails with Blanca Moreno, the Judicial Nominating Commission administrator, discussing amending her application because of the similarities. The first email from Moreno informed Reeves of the plagiarism, saying the lawyer quoted “verbatim from Justice Neil Gorsuch’s 2017 opening statement to the Senate Judiciary Committee.”

Reeves was one of eleven applicants vying for a vacancy on the Court of Appeals – Division One.

The ten remaining applicants are made up of eight Republicans and two Democrats.

Highground’s Doug Cole previously told Capitol Times this was the first time he had ever seen something of this nature. Cole spent 15 years vetting judicial appointments for both the appellate commission and the trial court in Maricopa County.

Cole said he didn’t think it would be likely for Reeves to advance to the first round of interviews, and said others have withdrawn applications for less.

He also said if she was Democrat things would be drastically different given the commission’s Constitutional obligation to submit at a minimum three names to the governor, no more than two of which can represent the same political party. If more than three names are submitted, no more than 60 percent may come from the same party.

Even though she is no longer in consideration for the position, things may not be done with Reeves.

Mark Harrison, an attorney whose practice includes defending attorneys at the State Bar, said it’s not certain if this type of offense would warrant a Bar charge, but he thinks it is definitely warranted.

“She did something most of us would consider dishonest,” he said.  “The only issue is who will file it? People responsible for application process might. Anybody can file it, really. The Bar can file one itself.”

Harrison said while he doesn’t think Reeves will be disbarred, it’s still possible she could receive admonition for the Bar.

The Commission on Appellate Court Appointment is scheduled to meet on June 25 where it will discuss the pool of applicants and narrow its list to be interviewed on July 17.

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