A Tucson group filed suit Tuesday challenging a legislative referendum that would eliminate methamphetamine users from Arizona’s threestrikes drug law.
Joe St. Louis, a criminal defense attorney leading the charge, said there is misleading language in the secretary of state’s publicity pamphlet and in an analysis for the pamphlet prepared by the Arizona Legislative Council.
“The problem is, when you add all this up it doesn’t inform the voters correctly of what the change in the law is going to do,” St. Louis said.
The group, which includes St. Louis and the two plaintiffs, is asking Maricopa County Superior Court to restrain the state from printing the pamphlets and ballots until after a hearing.
The secretary of state is under contract to get a camera-ready copy to the printer by Thursday, so the challenge might be too late, said Mike Braun, executive director of the Arizona Legislative Council.
Braun said there is no deadline or rule of law that says when a challenge must be filed, but judges have ruled against groups that made late challenges in previous cases.
“You just get to the reality of the ballot and the pamphlet being printed at a certain point,” Braun said.
Arizona voters approved the three-strikes law known as Proposition 200 in 1996.
Under the law, a person convicted of using or possessing drugs in amounts for personal use is sentenced to probation and mandatory drug treatment.
A judge can sentence the person to jail if the defendant fails to participate in the treatment, rejects probation or is convicted a third time.