Exhibit A: Don Stapley. Yvonne Wingett gives the history in today's Arizona Republic.
In November 2008, a grand jury indicted Stapley on 118 counts related to his yearly personal financial-disclosure forms. In August 2009, a judge dismissed many of the counts, and prosecutors dismissed the rest in mid-September.
Stapley thought his legal battles were over.
But just three days later, sheriff's deputies took Stapley into custody in the county parking garage on charges of fraud and theft related to his campaign for a leadership position with the National Association of Counties.
"They put me in a patrol car," Stapley told The Republic last month. "(They) took me to the First Avenue Jail, booked me in, took photos, fingerprinting, the whole thing a second time, and put me in an isolation cell."
The case was set aside when no prosecutor filed charges.
Then, last December, a grand jury indicted Stapley on 22 felony charges including theft, fraud, perjury and forgery, all largely related to his fundraising efforts for the national organization.
Last month, a judge threw out an unrelated case against fellow Supervisor Mary Rose Wilcox. Hours later, Thomas filed a motion to dismiss the Stapley indictment because of similar underlying legal problems.The answer, it seems is 3.
And Stapley's had enough. Thursday, he sent a Notice of Claim to the County Board of Supervisors (of which he's a member), Sheriff Joe, Joe's puppet Andy Thomas, and Joe's chief deputy Dave Hendershott.
0319stapley Claim Letter
The Notice, apparently a prerequisite to a lawsuit under Arizona law, lays out the history of those arrests and prosecutions, details a pattern of abuse, sets out the extensive stress and reputational damage Stapley and his wife have endured, and indicates forthcoming legal claims
for negligence, gross negligence, false or wrongful arrest, malicious prosecution, abuse of process, defamation, false light invasion of privacy, intentional infliction of emotional distress, violations of their Constitutional rights, and law enforcement retaliation and vindictive and/or selective prosecution.And, the letter says, there will be more. But not to worry. Stapley will settle right now for a quick $5 million. He says that's fair, and besides, he's already shelled out $1.25 million defending himself.
Note to readers in legal trouble with very large wallets: I'd have moved to Arizona and represented Stapley for little more than half of that.
The most interesting question, of course, is how Stapley will vote when the County Supervisors have to vote on whether to settle with him. But it's Maricopa. What's a little conflict of interest among friends?