Thursday, March 25, 2010

Maricopa: Once More Into the Breach

It's been almost a week since we paid a visit to Maricopa County where things aren't looking up for Joe 'n' Andy.
The counter suits proliferate.
Last time, we learned that Don Stapley, the twice indicted County Supervisor is planning to sue Sheriff Joe and Andy Thomas (and also himself as one of the County Supervisors) but will settle for $5 million.  Now, the AP reports that he declared Joe 'n' Andy are "evil" and can cause harm.
Another of the dysfunctional duo's victims, Judge Gary Donahoe, has now indicated that he's planning to sue.  His preliminary act, the Arizona Republic reports, was to send a letter to Joe, Andy, and the county demanding that "all information, physical and electronic, relevant to or bearing on Judge Donahoe" and any investigation or prosecution or lawsuit against him be preserved.  That demand letter isn't as advanced as the Notice of Claim letter Stapely sent last week, but that will likely be following.  Donahoe hasn't yet said it will take to buy him off.  (Hint:  There'll be a lot of zeros before the decimal point.)
While Stapley and Donahoe have been huddling with their own lawyers in Maricopa, another target of Joe 'n' Andy hopped a bus to the nation's capital.  Dennis Gilman took this video of  County Supervisor Mary Rose Wilcox delivering a speech at the big immigration rally in D.C.

The highlights, as Stephen Lemons, the Feathered Bastard notes are all about Joe.  To boos at his name, Wilcox says that Joe "terrorizes our communities."

He goes out in sweeps, and he tries to silence all his critics. I know because I was one of them. We spoke out against immigration policies that were repressive, and the sheriff charged me and tried to put me in jail.
Then she led the crowd of some 250,000 in chants of "Indict Arpaio."
And the investigation of Andy Thomas is heating up.  Ray Stern, writing in Valley Fever, picked up on this Administrative Order from the Arizona Supreme Court appointing John Gleason, "Regulation Counsel" for the Colorado Office of Attorney Regulation as independent bar counsel to investigate Andy.  The court went outside the state to ensure that the person they charged with conducting the investigation would have no "perceived bias."  I'm not sure about hidden bias, but mine's not to quibble.  In any event, here's what Gleason is to do.
3. Independent Bar Counsel Gleason shall investigate and, as he determines appropriate, prosecute allegations of ethical misconduct stemming from the prosecution in State v. Wilcox.
4. Independent Bar Counsel Gleason shall investigate and, as he determines appropriate, prosecute any other allegations of misconduct filed against Maricopa County Attorney Andrew Thomas or lawyers in his employ, arising out of criminal investigations or prosecutions involving the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors and its staff, collectively or individually, or the judges of the Superior Court in Maricopa and their staff, collectively or individually.
5. Independent Bar Counsel Gleason shall investigate and, as appropriate, prosecute any other allegations of misconduct filed against Maricopa County Attorney Andrew Thomas, or lawyers in his employ, arising out of matters assigned by Special Master Ruth V. McGregor.
6. Independent Bar Counsel Gleason shall investigate and, as appropriate, prosecute any other allegations of misconduct that are substantially similar or related to the allegations arising out of the matters set forth in number 4 above.
Think Ken Starr and Bill Clinton but probably without cigars and semen stains.
Finally, and really it's maybe the most astounding thing, Joe seems to have cloned Adam Stoddard.
You remember Adam.  He's the one who went on camera and lifted the letter from attorney Joanne Cuccia's file, thereby focusing the attention of the blawgosphere on Maricopa.  It's happened again, though this time we don't have video.  We do, though, have a transcript.
Scene:  The courtroom of Maricopa County Superior Court Judge Connie Contes.
Dramatis Personae: 
Eric Crocker, public defender
Randall Marc Korelc, client facing charges of second degree murder
The Honorable Connie Contes, judge (preoccupied, paying no attention)
Moses Rodriguez, Sheriff's Deputy
Valley Fever's Paul Rubin is our narrator:
Crocker says Korelc, who was handcuffed, handed him a file that included a two-page letter from the defendant instructing the attorney on legal strategies.
"I saw the deputy looking at me kind of funny, so in the interest of keeping things running smoothly I asked him if he wanted to check the file for contraband," Crocker says (though the   notion of an inmate trying to sneak something to an outsider sounds dubious on its face).
At this point, Crocker was at the defense table in front of the judge, as was his client. The deputy, Moses Rodriguez, was standing next to the table, closer to Korelc than to Crocker.
Crocker says he gave the file to Deputy Rodriguez and then turned his attention to the judge, who was starting the hearing -- a pretrial management conference. Crocker says he was about to formally announce his presence to the judge when he heard a rustling of papers.
"I looked over and saw this deputy turning my client's legal letter to me around -- it was upside-down when he pulled it out of the file--and he was reading it," Crocker tells us. "He wasn't looking for contraband, believe me. He was scanning attorney-client documents."
According to a transcript of the proceedings, here's what happened next:
Crocker: "Hold on. Don't read my client's writings."
Rodriguez: "Hold on a second. I'm not going to read it."
At this point, Crocker says, he had stepped around and was standing very close to Deputy Rodriguez, worried about what was going to happen next.
Crocker: "Give it back. All you do is look for contraband. Judge, can you intervene? I want my client's letter back."
Rodriguez: "Okay. I'm giving it back to you, okay? You want me to put it back inside the sleeve?"
Crocker: "No, that's all right. Thank you. Sorry about that, Your Honor. Just trying to avoid another problem [referring to the Adam Stoddard fiasco]." 
Apparently it worked out so well the last time.

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