Tuesday, December 8, 2009


It's cold and windy and snowing. Makes one yearn for the news from the southwest.

Here are the headlines.
  • Donahoe rules.
  • Arpaio lies.
  • Flores recuses.
  • Someone indicts.
  • World watches.
  • Mainstream media ignores.
Donahoe rules

You'll recall that Stoddard (through his lawyers) asked Judge Donahoe to unseal the letter Stoddard filched from defense attorney Joanne Cuccia's file so that he can use it in his defense. In making the request, Stoddard didn't explain how unsealing the letter now would help witht he defense which occurred last month (and was unsuccessful). Of course, this is Maricopa County where perhaps even the laws of the space-time don't apply. In any event, Nick over at Heat City reports that Donahoe ruled.

The judge's order is terse, direct, and wholly without explanation.
The Court has considered “Maricopa County Sheriff’s Officer Stoddard’s Motion to
Unseal Record.”

IT IS HEREBY ORDERED denying “Maricopa County Sheriff’s Officer Stoddard’s
Motion to Unseal Record.”
Doesn't get much plainer than that.

Arpaio lies

OK, maybe he didn't lie. Maybe he just said a bunch of stuff that happens to be false. But he did say it in a press release.
An examination of Maricopa County Superior Court Judge Gary Donahoe’s record over the past 18 months shows that defendants who have committed crimes such as child abuse, drug possession, and aggravated assault, often walk away without serving any jail time. Yet, this week, when a young Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office detention officer who acted in good faith attempting to maintain the safety and security of courtroom staff and the public, was ordered to serve jail time by Judge Donahoe as a way to fire a political shot and to send a message to the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office.
Those are the sort of generic claims that don't lend themselves to ready verification. Maybe Donahoe didn't lock up some bad guys while he put America's finest Detention Officer behind bars. Well, except that Arpaio followed the generic claim with details.

And, well, it ain't so, Joe.

The press release gives names and facts of six bad guys Donahoe let off. But, see, when you have a reputation for, er, stretchers, someone's likely to check your homework. In this case, that someone was Ray Stern, with an acknowledged assist from Superior Court staff (and thanks to Scott for pointing it out). What Ray found was that . . . . Well, here's his headline.
Arpaio's Office Blows Its Smear of Judge Gary Donahoe; Analysis of Sentencings Flawed
And here's the summary.
[I]n five of the six examples, Donahoe either included prison time in his sentencing or was following the recommendations of the County Attorney's Office.
Really, what did you expect?

Arpaio's first defense was that
Donahoe approved all those plea bargains recommended by Sheriff Joe's good bud the County Attorney. Hmmm. That's not much of a claim, when you have to smear the judge by saying the prosecutor wasn't tough enough.

Arpaio's second defense was that the information in his press release came from the office of the County Attorney. In other words, his good bud the County Attorney lied to him, and the ever-trusting, hard investigating Sheriff Joe was snookered. Hmmm. That's not so good either.

Unfortunately, he has no third defense.

Flores recuses

Thanks to Ray and Nick, again, fo
r reporting that Judge Lisa Flores, the one who watched and ignored while Stoddard rifled through Cuccia's files, has recused herself from sentencing Antonio Lozano, the defendant Cuccia was representing and whose file Stoddard invaded. The problem is that Stoddard can no longer escort alleged bad guys like Lozano to her courtroom because he's in custody somewhere (though nowhere bad, of course). And it seems nobody else can, either.

So here's an interesting dilemma. Apparently Sheriff Joe can't assign anyone to cover for his locked-up-with-pay-and-altogether-noble-and-innocent-of-even-a-hint-of-wrongdoing Detention Officer Stoddard. The defendants in his jail who are waiting for hearings and whatnot before Flores must just wait. That'll teach 'em.

Flores explained in her recusal order.

The above-named Defendant is scheduled for sentencing in this Division on December 14, 2009 at 8:30 am. Although this Court has prepared to sentence the Defendant in this matter as scheduled and expected to go forward that day, the Maricopa County Sheriff's Office has elected not to assign a deputy or detention officer to this Division to bring in-custody defendants for hearings. No in-custody defendants were transported to this courtroom on December 2, 2009 at 8:30 am for the morning calendar. On December 3 and December 4, 2009 in-custody defendants were transported at approximately 9:45 each morning for the 8:30 calendar, after some matters had already been reset because the MCSO refused to confirm a time that the defendants would be transported and some attorneys were unable to wait. On December 7, 2009, no in-custody defendants were transported to the courtroom. (MCSO Deputy Gonzales called at 11:52, more than three hours after the 8:30 am calendar start time.) On December 8, 2009, no in-custody defendants were transported to the courtroom. As of 10:35 am, when this ruling was being completed, no MCSO personnel had communicated with the Court's staff about transportation of the in-custody defendants for that day.

This Court is unable to rely on the MCSO to transport the Defendant to this Division for the sentencing proceeding set December 14, 2009. This Court finds it necessary to recuse itself from the matter and have the case assigned to another judicial officer not because of any bias or conflict on its part, but only for the purpose of assuring that the Defendant is sentenced as scheduled, within time limits prescribed by Rule 26.3.

IT IS ORDERED referring this matter to Judge Donahoe for reassignment.
Let's focus for a moment. The Sheriff is responsible for transporting prisoners. He's not doing his job. The judge could insist, could even order him to do his job and hold him in contempt (we've heard of that) if he doesn't. Or she could say,
All right. I'm sorry, Joe. I know I screwed up by not immediately praising Stoddard when he violated Lozano and Cuccia's constitutional rights, Lozano's privilege, and Arizona criminal law. If I'd just been more forceful in his defense, none of this would have happened. I'll take my punishment. But Lozano will need to go before another judge and get sentenced. You do understand.
Yeah. She could.

Someone indicts

Scott Greenfield, again, glommed onto this news from the Arizona Republic.

The plot is complicated (hey, it's Maricopa), but two of the three County Supervisors (Don Stapley and Mary Rose Wilcox) were just indicted, separately, on various counts of misconduct. The indictments were brought by County Attorney Andrew Thomas, who in his role as County Attorney is also their lawyer. The indictments come just days after Thomas and Sheriff Joe filed a civil action against the two Supervisors and bunches of other government officials.

Stapley's been down this road before, having been the subject of a 118 count indictment last year. Those charges were all dismissed, many by the judge, the rest by the prosecutor.

Of course, the investigations leading to the indictments were performed by Sheriff Joe, who works closely with Thomas when he isn't blaming him for providing false information.

World watches
Mainstream media ignores

One of the most remarkable things about the Maricopa Macarena is that the mainstream press around the country has pretty much totally ignored it. Coverage on CNN? Nope. NY Times? Nope. Washington Post? Nope.

On the other hand,
the blogosphere, at least, has noticed. A quick Google blogsearch for "adam stoddard" turned up 8,720 hits. And the YouTube video of sticky-finger Stoddard has been viewed over 112,000 times.

Who knows what who's not telling?

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