Tuesday, September 9, 2008

County Attorney Andrew Thomas Blasts Opponent for Record Amount of Contributions From Criminal Defense Lawyers

Thomas Says Dangerous Alliance is More Evidence that ACLU Attorney Nelson is Soft on Crime; Demands Full Accounting of Criminal Defense Contributions, Influence

So who are the lawyers of murderers, polluters, rapists, molesters and white collar criminals supporting for Maricopa County Attorney?

Tim Nelson.

A review of the ACLU lawyer's campaign contribution reports show a record amount of support -- and a shocking alliance with - lawyers representing Valley criminals (See below).

"The Democrat primary is over. And it's time to shed some light on who Tim Nelson really is. He's soft on crime. I am not. He's supportive of policies and people that will endanger our citizens and make neighborhoods unsafe. These contributors want to see me replaced with a County Attorney who will be friendlier to their cause. Mr. Nelson's dangerous alliance with lawyers representing Valley criminals should be a concern to every neighborhood and person in Maricopa County," Thomas said.

During the Democrat primary Nelson himself committed to rolling back Thomas' policies to reduce plea bargains. He acknowledged that lawyers for Valley criminals were giving large sums to his campaign because they disagree with Thomas' hard- line policies against plea bargaining, saying they are not "just." Thomas severely curtailed plea bargains and what he called sweetheart deals for crimes after taking office in 2005. For example, Thomas required that violent offenders plead guilty to the highest charge and accept the tough prison sentences that come with that or go to trial and risk getting sentenced longer. In the real world, this means a rapist who breaks into a house no longer can plead guilty just to burglary, but must plead guilty to sexual assault and get a severe prison sentence.

There may be other criminal defense attorney contributors not identified by Thomas. Furthermore, numerous criminal defense attorneys have hosted fundraisers or otherwise raised money for Nelson.

It is illegal for Arizona state legislators to accept campaign contributions from lobbyists during the legislative session. To accept so much money from lobbyists for criminals with active interests before the County Attorney's Office is even more alarming, Thomas said.

"We have not been able to find any candidate for County Attorney who has ever raised so much money from so many criminal defense lawyers. If someone can prove otherwise I will be happy to change our description of Nelson's support from record-setting to merely obscene. In the meantime, Nelson must release a full accounting of all that criminal defense attorneys have raised for his campaign so the public can have the most complete picture of their unprecedented support," Thomas said.

Nelson is now working at the law firm of Osborn Maledon, well-known for its criminal defense work, including those with cases now before the County Attorney's Office.

"Our policies, combined with those of Sheriff Arpaio and outstanding efforts by local law enforcement have reduced Valley crime over the past four years. Mr. Nelson wants to eviscerate these efforts and return to the days of soft sentences for criminal defense attorneys and their clients," Thomas said.

Thomas said the Arizona media and public do not yet have any idea how soft and how offensive Tim Nelson's entire criminal justice record has been.

Thomas said his campaign would be releasing additional information throughout the campaign, as well as defending his own successes during his first term and articulating why his re-election will mean a continued reduction in crime.

List of criminal defense attorneys and their spouses who contributed to Nelson (NOTE: $390 is the maximum contribution allowed by law)

Dale Baich -$390
Alan Baskin-$100
Melanie Beauchamp-$390
James Belanger-$390
Michael Black-$390
Antonio Bustamante-$250
Michael Buxton-$390
Zachary Cain-$100
Colin Campbell-$390
David Cantor-$390
Harla Davison-$100
Hector Diaz-$250
Stephen Dichter-$390
Timothy Eckstein-$300
Bruce Feder-$100
Carmen Fischer-$390
Tracy Friddle-$35
Stacey Gottlieb-$390
Benjamin Green-$100
Larry Hammond-$390
Leslie Hatfield-$390
Melissa Ho-$100
Bret Huggins-$200
David Kephart-$150
Michael Kimerer-$390
Jason Lamm-$390
Jess Lorona-$390
Norma Martens-$390
Daniel Maynard-$200
Craig Mehrens-$390
Jeffrey Mehrens-$390
Alicia Morrison-$100
Alex Navidad-$100
Phil Noland-$390
Ed Novak-$390
Frederick Petti-$390
John Phebus-$390
Rebecca Potter-$40
Christopher Rapp-$390
Jon Sands -$390
John Sandweg-$390
Gary Scales-$390
Douglas Schwab-$200
Margarita Silva-$50
Lee Stein-$390
E.Sharon Storrs-$200
James Tinker-$200
Peter Wand-$200
Robert Weeks-$200
Alan Zimmerman-$100
Their spouses
Joo Cantor -$390
Frances Hammond-$390
Jennifer Lorona-$390
Timothy Martens-$200
Heather Novak-$285
Total: $15,560.00

Attorneys in the above list have represented such people as Sammy "The Bull" Gravano, convicted child murderer Don Beaty, murderer-rapist Robert Comer and convicted child murderer Kevin Roscoe, among many others.

This list is based on information found in the public domain including the Arizona State Bar website. This list doesn't include attorneys who handle criminal cases as only part of their practice.

For more information or to arrange interviews with Mr. Thomas please call Jason Rose or Jim Sharpe at 480.423.1414.

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