Lawyer: Petersen To Appeal Suspension From Assessor's Office

Published: Tuesday, November 5, 2019 - 12:53pm
Updated: Wednesday, November 6, 2019 - 11:36am
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Maricopa County Sheriff's Office
Paul Petersen

Paul Petersen pleaded not guilty to more than 30 felonies in Maricopa County Superior Court on Tuesday morning.

Next up for the elected official accused of running an illegal adoption ring is a deadline to appeal his unpaid suspension from the Maricopa County Assessor's Office. Before Friday, Petersen will ask for a hearing to reconsider his four-month suspension from a job that pays about $77,000 a year.

“The hearing is going to be a farce though,” said attorney Kory Langhofer, managing partner at Statecraft, a law firm focused on political and constitutional issues. 

The Maricopa County Board of Supervisors has already shown that it aims to keep Petersen out of the Assessor’s Office, Langhofer said. If the appeal gets denied, “then we’re going to court. Of course we’re going to sue over this. They don’t have the authority to take his job,” he said.

There are constitutional ways to remove an elected official, Langhofer said.

“You can impeach them. You can recall them. But you can’t just have one of their equals, though, declare the office vacant, and appoint one of their friends to it. It doesn’t work that way,” he said.

The Board of Supervisors recently tapped a former county director to fill in for Petersen while he’s suspended. 

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