Former Pima County prosecutor Lourdes Lopez has lost her right to practice law.
Earlier this year, the Arizona Supreme Court’s disciplinary commission voted to disbar Lopez because of her indictment in September 2002 on federal drug charges.
Lopez’s attorneys appealed, asking the Supreme Court to review her case, but the Supreme Court announced today that it would not do so.
As a result, Lopez’s disbarment became automatic.
She has 30 days to wrap up things at her law firm, said Cari Gerchick, a Supreme Court spokeswoman.
In the appeal, Lopez's attorney Mark Harrison said other attorneys and judges have engaged in far worse misconduct but were punished far less severely.
Lopez was never convicted of a crime, since she successfully completed a diversion program in U.S. District Court, Harrison pointed out.
The State Bar of Arizona filed a complaint against Lopez in November 2005 saying she had engaged in criminal conduct.
The bar said that even after Lopez was indicted in September 2002 on prescription drug fraud charges along with Bradley Schwartz, she continued a relationship with Schwartz despite being ordered not to, and she lied about it.
Schwartz is serving a life sentence for conspiracy to commit murder in the October 2004 slaying of his former colleague Dr. David Brian Stidham.
In December, a hearing officer with the State Bar's disciplinary commission said Lopez should be suspended for a year. But in May, six of the nine disciplinary commission members voted with the State Bar's lawyers, who want Lopez disbarred. The six commission members wrote that Lopez demonstrated a "pattern of criminal conduct, deceit, dishonesty and deception."