State v. Honorable GoldinAnnotate this Case
In this matter concerning vicarious disqualification of a prosecutor's office, the Supreme Court held that a trial court has broad discretion to vicariously disqualify a prosecutor's office based on an appearance of impropriety.
Darren Goldin was indicted for first-degree murder. Goldin sought to disqualify the entire Tuscon branch of the Attorney General's office based on ethical violations committed by Richard Wintory, the assistant attorney general. Wintory was removed from the case. Goldin accepted a plea agreement, the plea was revoked, and charges were reinstated after Goldin prevailed on an ineffective assistance of counsel claim. Upon his return to the trial court, Golden again attempted to vicariously disqualify the Tuscon office. The superior court granted the motion based on the appearance of impropriety and the importance of Defendant's constitutional right to counsel. The court of appeals overturned the superior court's disqualification order. The Supreme Court vacated the court of appeals' opinion, holding that, where actual misconduct may have tainted the proceeding, the trial court did not abuse its discretion in disqualifying the Tucson office.