Maricopa County v. Gottsponer
In Maricopa County v. Gottsponer, 150 Ariz. 367, 372, 723 P.2d 716, 721 (App. 1986), a nurse was demoted after being discovered in a situation with a physician that had the appearance of violating the county's code of ethics.
She appealed to the Merit System Commission, which substituted a two-day suspension for the demotion; the superior court affirmed the commission's order. 150 Ariz. at 370, 723 P.2d at 719.
On appeal, the Gottsponer court noted that "where the finding of guilt is confirmed and punishment has been imposed, the test is whether such punishment is 'so disproportionate to the offense, in the light of all the circumstances, as to be shocking to one's sense of fairness.'" Id. at 372, 723 P.2d at 721.
Applying that principle, the Gottsponer court concluded that "where the Commission found discipline was warranted and demotion was within the range of permissible disciplinary acts, it could not modify the penalty imposed without determining it was so disproportionate to Gottsponer's offense as to be shocking to a sense of fairness." Id.