PHOENIX - A law firm that represents Jodi Arias has filed ethics complaints against lawyer Juan Martinez and Maricopa County Attorney Bill Montgomery.
Documents related to the ethical complaints were released Tuesday afternoon. The complaints against Martinez stem from a book on the Arias trial that he wrote. The book, titled "Conviction: The Untold Story of Putting Jodi Arias Behind Bars", was published in 2016, and Martinez is accused of going on a speaking circuit, making money and gaining fame off his role as the case's prosecutor while the case is still pending.
"In publishing his book, Martinez created a conflict of interest between his own financial interests and his duty as a prosecutor to seek justice," read a portion of the complaint.
According to a February 2016 report by FOX 10, Martinez detailed how he went after Arias for the murder of her ex-boyfriend, Travis Alexander, and revealed his personal thoughts about the killer in the book.
"Arias always struck me as the 'bad waitress' type. She would probably be looking down at customers, smiling at them with a fake happy look and giving them bad service," Martinez wrote. "In a bad waitress-type, they bring the food cold, but it isn't their fault, but the coffee isn't right, but she didn't make it. That's sort of how I saw her."
At the time, Arias declined requests for comments on Martinez's book, but her former attorney, Jennifer Wilmott, did release a statement on Martinez when his book was released.
"I am concerned that prosecutors are allowed to personally profit from their own cases. It makes you question the fairness and motives a prosecutor has when his own personal financial profit is at stake. Maricopa County has specific rules to prevent this from happening," Wilmott said at the time.
Martinez was facing a disciplinary hearing over allegations of lying about leaking information to a blogger he was having an affair with, communicating with a dismissed juror, leaking information on the identity of a jury who was the lone holdout against giving Arias the death penalty, and sexually harassing several female co-workers.
In late August, Presiding Disciplinary Judge William O’Neil tossed allegations that Martinez made sexually inappropriate comments to female law clerks in his office, and had inappropriate contact with a woman who had been dismissed from Arias’ jury and later texted nude photos of herself to Martinez. Other allegations within the complaint remain against Martinez.
In the allegations against County Attorney Bill Montgomery, he is accused of failing to exercise his ethical duty to prevent ethical misconduct by others at MCAO, and violating his duties by authorizing Martinez to publish the book.
Lawyers are asking for the misconduct investigation against Montgomery be assigned to an independent bar counsel because Montgomery is on a short-list for nomination to the state Supreme Court.
Meanwhile, Montgomery has issued a statement in response to the ethics complaints.
Political agendas and special interests should not be allowed to have a place when it comes to the ethical responsibilities of a prosecutor. I await a full and timely review of these inaccurate claims that have been previously reviewed and found to be without merit.
Arias is serving a life sentence after her first-degree murder conviction in the death of Alexander at his home in Mesa. The case turned into a media circus as salacious and violent details about Arias and Alexander were broadcast live around the world. Prosecutors originally sought the death penalty, but jurors deadlocked on whether Arias should be executed for Alexander's murder.