Courtroom of the Absurd

Mayoral candidate Marshall Home makes odd legal arguments as Democrats move to knock him off the ballot

The mayoral campaign trail is taking a detour through the courtroom.

Superior Court judges will hear arguments on Thursday, June 16, in separate lawsuits that seek to knock Democrats Jonathan Rothschild and Marshall Home off the Aug. 30 primary ballot.

Luke Knipe, an activist with the Pima County Democratic Party, filed a lawsuit on Friday, June 10, to keep Home's name off the ballot.

Knipe, who is represented by attorney William Walker, alleges that Home is ineligible to run for mayor because he did not live in the city limits for three years prior to launching his campaign. Home was registered to vote outside of the city last year and cast a ballot from that address.

The lawsuit also cites the fact that Home was convicted of a felony in 2002 for assaulting a federal marshal, and as a result, "has lost his right to be a qualified elector and right to run for public office for the mayor of the city of Tucson."

Jeff Rogers, chairman of the Pima County Democratic Party, says that his team is still researching whether Home is ineligible because of the 2002 incident.

Home maintains that the assault charge came after federal marshals assaulted him during a court hearing.

"I was jumped on by three federal marshals after court was dismissed," Home says.

It was a defense that evidently had little sway with the court, as Home ended up being convicted of the assault charge and served 10 months in federal prison.

Home says the entire thing was such a miscarriage of justice that he has filed a claim of $6.8 million against the federal court.

"I haven't moved to collect it yet," says Home, who has filed so many lawsuits and claims that he was designated a "vexatious litigant" in federal bankruptcy court last month. "I don't want the money. I've got billions of dollars. What the hell do I need more money for?"

Home has declined to discuss the source of his multi-billion-dollar fortune, because "it's private," but two months ago, he filed a document in federal bankruptcy court claiming that he was too poor to pay certain filing fees and asserted that the country's currency should not be considered legal tender.

"We owe our poverty to the fact and law that the Arizona state Legislature has failed to provide all free inhabitants of Arizona with a statutory inland Legal Tender declaring what 'thing' shall be for At Law discharge, payment and extinguishment of debts, damages, fines, court cost/fees inter alia," Home wrote in his affidavit to the court. "That we are American Freeman, free inhabitants of the Arizona state, and we find it impossible to obtain State declared Legal Tender at Law."

Home says his conviction in federal court made him a "defender of people's rights."

"I know what a crooked mess these superior courts are," says Home. "All lawyers are thieves, and what they do is pathetic. We don't have a judge—not one judge—in all of courts today."

Home maintains that there haven't been any judges in the United States "since the federal bankruptcy in 1933. In 1937, Roosevelt called in everybody, and they passed some kind of ruling. There is not one judge on the bench. They are all administrative officers. Yes, I have a hard-on against lawyers. No doubt about it."

Home dislikes lawyers so much that he has become convinced that they are ineligible to serve in the executive or legislative branches of government—a dubious legal claim that forms the basis of the lawsuit he filed last week to knock Rothschild off the ballot.

"I don't want to see lawyers anywhere in our government," Home says. "I don't even want to see them in the judiciary. ... My slogan is: Avoid skunks and lawyers."

Since he filed his suit before Knipe sued to have him knocked off the ballot, Home said Knipe's lawsuit "is going to look like revenge."

Last week, Rothschild said that Home's claim that lawyers can't serve in public office "would be a novel legal argument. I guess a judge will have to decide that."

Home backs up his argument with a brief excerpt from a 1955 opinion written by then-Arizona Attorney General Robert Morrison.

"All lawyers are licensed and are in judiciary," Home argues. "Well, if they are in the judiciary, they cannot be in the Legislature or the mayor's office."

Home is aware that many lawyers have served on the Tucson City Council and in the Arizona Legislature, "but that doesn't make it right."

He imagines his lawsuit will "absolutely" set a groundbreaking precedent.

"No one has ever brought it up," Home says. "I'm bringing it up."

Home also says the executive committee of Democratic Party has "completely ignored the rules of the election department" by voting to endorse Rothschild "in a hidden caucus."

"That violates the Constitution in a number of ways," Home says.

While the Pima County Executive Committee endorsed the Democratic incumbents on the council, the party leaders did not endorse Rothschild—until Home filed his lawsuit. The vote was unanimous, with two members abstaining, according to Adam Kinsey, executive director of the Pima County Democratic Party.

"We probably wouldn't have (endorsed Rothschild) had the lawsuit not happened," says Kinsey, who expects that Knipe's lawsuit will result in Home being kicked off the ballot.

"We don't really acknowledge Marshall Home's status as a candidate," Kinsey says.

One reason for that: As a "remedy" to the damages that Home is seeking in his lawsuit, he wants the Pima County Democratic Party decertified—and $1 million in damages.

While he's upset that party officials have given Rothschild an endorsement, Home concedes that he does not have deep roots in the party.

He was a registered Republican from 1993 until 2010, when he became an independent at an address outside of the city limits. It wasn't until March 21 of this year—three days after he filed paperwork to run as a Democrat for mayor, because, as Home points out, Democrats have a significant voter-registration advantage—that he registered as a member of the Democratic Party.

"I'm not a Democrat. I'm not a Republican. I'm an American," Home says. "I don't care about those things."