by Jim Nintzel
Former state lawmaker Daniel Patterson, who resigned from the Arizona Legislature last year after a messy domestic situation capped a rocky legislative career, has filed a federal lawsuit against Tucson and Pima County officials, claiming that they violated his legislative immunity from civil law enforcement while the Legislature is in session.
Tim Hull of Courthouse News Service has the details:
Patterson has sued the Pima County Sheriff's Office, Sheriff Clarence Dupnik, the City of Tucson and Tucson City Attorney Michael Rankin, in Federal Court.
He claims they violated his civil rights and deprived him of his right to legislative immunity guaranteed by the Arizona Constitution.
Patterson claims the negative press coverage of the incident and his subsequent legal troubles have left him in financial ruin and "unable to find employment in the area of politics or public policy."
Another detail from Hull's report:
Patterson claims he should not have been served or charged, because the Legislature was still in session.
"Article 4 Part 2 Section 6 of the Arizona Constitution states that members of the Legislature shall not be subject to any civil process during the session of the Legislature," Patterson says in his lawsuit.
Patterson claims that deputies ignored his claims for legislative immunity and served him anyway, and even "used their vehicles to block plaintiff's vehicle and in order to prevent him from backing out of his driveway."
He claims that the misdemeanor charges, of which he was later acquitted, also violated his right to legislative immunity.