PHOENIX – Maricopa County Attorney Bill Montgomery issued the following statement in response to today’s published opinion in State v. Harris (Shilgevorkyan) by the Supreme Court of the State of Arizona:
The only way the Court could reach its holding was by creating ambiguity where it did not exist in order to engage in interpretive jujitsu and impede on a function specifically left to the legislature: changing a clearly worded statute to accommodate changes in circumstances if called for. A healthy respect for our tripartite system of state government sometimes means restraint by one branch of government where invited to act and resisting the temptation to do so. By acting as it has, our State Supreme Court contributes to citizen cynicism particularly when it involves the whys and wherefores of drafting and passing legislation. Why should citizens work through our republican form of government and petition their duly elected legislators for statutory change when they can take a shot at only having to persuade just three Justices? Instead, the Court should have directed relief to the appropriate branch of government: the legislature.