OCTOBER 30, 2013

Quiet court case with resounding implications

Are small businesses protected under the Arizona Victims’ Bill of Rights?

PHOENIX – A quiet little case awaiting action in an Arizona appellate court has drawn no notice to date, but a decision on it will send a resounding roar to every small-business owner in the state on whether entrepreneurs have the same victims’ rights protections as everyone else.

The Small Business Legal Center of the National Federation of Independent Business, along with the National Crime Victim Law Institute, Arizona Voice for Crime Victims, the Arizona Chamber of Commerce and Industry, and the Arizona Restaurant Association, have joined in filing a friend-of-the-court brief in State of Arizona v. Granville/Rose. The amicus filing encourages an Arizona Court of Appeal to over-turn a lower court ruling denying business owners equal protections under the Arizona State Constitution.

Several years ago Arizona voters amended the State Constitution to give crime victims special protections. But the Legislature has since sought to limit those protections, carving an exception for business owners. NFIB’s Legal Center argues that the Legislature has no power to so limit Arizona's constitutional protections. Center attorney Luke Wake explains, "It is important to recognize that business owners are entitled to the same rights as other citizens. One should not be expected to waive constitutional protections simply to exercise the basic right to earn a living.”

Added Farrell Quinlan, Arizona state director for NFIB: “Quite simply, we’re asking the appellate court to reaffirm the truth that a victim is a victim whether he or she is an individual or a collection of individuals organized as a business. And should it rule in our favor, the court will be ruling in favor of the voters’ clear determination to protect the rights of crime victims against their perpetrators, as well as interference from politicians.”

Quinlan praised Maricopa County Attorney Bill Montgomery for leading the fight to restore the fundamental constitutional rights of small-business owners. More about this case can be read on the NFIB/Arizona web page, where the full brief can also be viewed.

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