Arpaio, Thomas sue county officials, judges - East Valley Tribune: News

Arpaio, Thomas sue county officials, judges

Print
Font Size:
Default font size
Larger font size

Posted: Tuesday, December 1, 2009 3:40 pm | Updated: 1:29 am, Sat Oct 8, 2011.

Maricopa County Attorney Andrew Thomas and Sheriff Joe Arpaio filed suit in federal court Tuesday against the Board of Supervisors, county managers, judges and a law firm, alleging that they conspired to hinder criminal prosecutions and investigations in exchange for funding a $345 million court building.

Arpaio walks when protesters disrupt forum

Maricopa County Attorney Andrew Thomas and Sheriff Joe Arpaio filed suit in federal court Tuesday against the Board of Supervisors, county managers, judges and a law firm, alleging that they conspired to hinder criminal prosecutions and investigations in exchange for funding a $345 million court building.

Arpaio walks when protesters disrupt forum

Thomas and Arpaio are asking the U.S. District Court in Phoenix to “enforce the criminal and civil laws of the State of Arizona without improper or corrupt hindrance by defendants.”

The lawsuit is the latest act in a power struggle between the board and Thomas and Arpaio, which began when Supervisor Don Stapley, a Mesa Republican, was indicted in December 2008 on allegations that he didn’t disclose financial information he was required to as an elected official. That indictment was dismissed several months ago.

“We’ve dealt with a solid year of retaliation and intimidation from these people,” Thomas said.

Cari Gerchick, a spokeswoman for the law office that represents the board, said much of what Thomas complains about in the lawsuit has already been decided in the board’s favor in court and could be easily resolved if he followed the law.

“This is just more of the same,” Gerchick said.

On Tuesday, Thomas lost another court case involving the court tower, but this time at the Arizona Supreme Court.

Thomas had appealed a ruling by Maricopa County Superior Court Judge Gary Donahoe in which he declared that Thomas had a conflict of interest and could not investigate the funding and construction of the court tower because his office had given the board legal advice on it.

The Supreme Court refused to hear the appeal on Donahoe’s decision Tuesday.

Donahoe is named in the lawsuit filed Tuesday.

“I wouldn’t be surprised to find this lawsuit is also without merit,” said Gerchick, referring the suit filed in federal court.

The lawsuit reads as a running tally of the yearlong power struggle.

Thomas contends that his relationship with the Superior Court actually began to deteriorate in October 2007, when he says a group of judges instigated a series of frivolous complaints with the State Bar of Arizona, the organization that regulates lawyers.

Thomas contends in the lawsuit that the complaints stemmed from a dispute he had with the court over enforcement of laws pertaining to illegal immigrants.

The judges “communicated and/or conspired outside the scope of their judicial offices for these illicit purposes and have continued with these actions, and with these illicit purposes, to the present,” the lawsuit reads.

Thomas alleges that a series of events that ended with the dismissal of the 118-count indictment against Stapley and the board’s refusal to approve special prosecutors for him are proof that the defendants are conspiring to avoid criminal prosecution.

“The facts speak for themselves,” Thomas said.

Arpaio arrested Stapley a few days after the dismissal of the indictment and claimed that he committed fraud and theft associated with his political campaigns.

Thomas sought special prosecutors from Washington D.C. to handle the newest investigation, but the board refused to approve their hiring, saying Thomas did not follow procurement codes.

  • Discuss

EVT Ice Bucket Challenge

The East Valley Tribune accepts the Ice Bucket Challenge.

Facebook

EastValleyTribune.com on Facebook

Twitter

EastValleyTribune.com on Twitter

Google+

EastValleyTribune.com on Google+

RSS

Subscribe to EastValleyTribune.com via RSS

RSS Feeds

Spacer4px
Your Az Jobs