An assistant Maricopa County attorney who gained national attention with a high-profile trial has been placed on probation for misconduct.
In a ruling handed down September 28 from the Attorney Discipline Probable Cause Committee, the panel determined there is cause for claims Juan Martinez engaged in unprofessional conduct, used means without substantial purpose other than to embarrass another person, and engaged in conduct prejudicial to the administration of justice.
The committee, which is part of the Arizona Supreme Court, admonished Martinez and placed him on probation for a year. As part of the probation, he will be required to complete additional legal education hours but will not be barred from practicing law.
A statement from the state bar association said the probation is punishment for "inappropriate statements made by Mr. Martinez during various trials or legal proceedings. In some instances, these statements were found to be unprofessional or otherwise improper by the Arizona Supreme Court but did not require a reversal of the underlying criminal cases."
The order did not mention any particular cases of misconduct by Martinez, but the initial complaint filed by Arizona Attorneys for Criminal Justice mentions a total of eleven proceedings, including four brought before the Arizona Supreme Court and the high-profile trial of Jodi Arias.
"Martinez committed instances of highly publicized misconduct too numerous" during that trial to be fully recounted, the organization wrote to the state bar. That said, the group does go on to accuse Martinez of being slow to produce evidence that could help the defense, misrepresenting expert testimony, acting unprofessionally toward the defense counsel and outing the identity of a juror during proceedings against Arias.
Martinez has ten days to appeal the order before the presiding disciplinary judge, according to the probable cause finding.
A spokesman for the bar association said the admonishment currently stands as an informal sanction because it did not require a formal proceeding. However, it could still be used as an aggravating factor in any future discipline cases against Martinez, depending on the circumstances.