Tombstone city attorney Paul Randall Bays, who pleaded guilty to two domestic violence charges, is under investigation by the state bar association, an official there confirmed Monday.
Alberto Rodriguez, a spokesman for the State Bar of Arizona said the organization’s Lawyer Regulation Division is handling the query.
“The State Bar of Arizona has received a charge on this matter and there is an ongoing investigation,” Rodriguez said of Bays in an email Monday.
The 61-year-old Bays, who also has a law firm in Sierra Vista, could face anything from disbarment to diversion, said his attorney, Joseph DiRoberto.
On Friday, Bays pleaded guilty to two undesignated Class 6 felonies in Pima County Superior Court before Judge James Marner. According to Arizona law, an undesignated Class 6 felony means the defendant could have the offense designated as a misdemeanor at some point.
DiRoberto said his client pleaded guilty to aggravated assault and unlawful imprisonment. Both offenses were the result of an incident that occurred on March 8, 2019.
In the first instance, Bays grabbed a woman’s cellphone from her hand as she attempted to record him with the device while sitting in the driver’s seat of her car. In the second instance, Bays drove his vehicle in front of the woman’s car, blocking her exit from her driveway.
The indictment initially lodged against Bay lists eight charges. The plea agreement offered by special prosecutor Elizabeth Ortiz of Maricopa County, pared it down to two. The agreement stipulates that Bays will be sentenced to three years’ probation for each offense, to be served concurrently, DiRoberto said. Bays also must spend between 30 and 90 days in jail as a condition of the probation. The jail time will be decided by the judge at Bays’ sentencing on March 30.
DiRoberto said Bays could face a variety of sanctions from the bar association.
“The State Bar of Arizona will investigate the matter based on his criminal convictions and determine what, if any, sanctions will be imposed,” DiRoberto said in his email. “The sanctions range from diversion, reprimand, censure, suspension, and disbarment being the ultimate penalty.”
Bays’ position with the City of Tombstone, meanwhile, is assured, unless the State Bar of Arizona decides he can no longer practice law, Mayor Dusty Escapule said last week.