Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Statement of Maricopa County Attorney’s Office regarding ruling today in Stapley criminal case

We appreciate the hard work of the Yavapai County Attorney’s Office in this case, and we urge them to appeal this ruling.

It’s unjust and improper for this criminal defendant to be able to claim that, as a member of the board of supervisors, he failed to properly pass or amend the very laws he’s accused of violating. For him to be able to take advantage of improper performance of his own public duties is wrong by any measure. It’s equally wrong that the people of Maricopa County have just been told they’re the only citizens of Arizona whose elected county officials don’t have to disclose their private business dealings to the voters.

The ruling today also reinforces our office’s concerns about the impartiality of Judge Fields. He was handpicked for this case in violation of the rules of court, despite his having filed a bar complaint against the Maricopa County Attorney (which was dismissed) and having campaigned for Mr. Thomas’ opponent in last year’s election. Four esteemed experts in judicial ethics have stated that Judge Fields was ethically required to recuse himself from this case.

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