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The Chandler Police Department recently released a notification of a sex offender who has moved to the city.
TUCSON, Ariz. (AP) — The cases before a Tucson judge on Wednesday seemed fairly routine: Two men charged with drug offenses asking him to grant them bail.
What stood out, however, was that the two men had a right to a bail hearing in the first place.
Last month, a federal appeals court threw out a 2006 Arizona law denying bail to immigrants in the country illegally.
That cleared the way for the proceedings in Tucson and elsewhere.
Miguel Angel Valenzuela and Juan Angel-Carmona Pineda were arrested on Nov. 13, the same day the Supreme Court let stand the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals' decision to halt enforcement of the law.
Pineda was accused of transporting more than 100 pounds of marijuana. Valenzuela faces charges relating to the alleged possession of a pound of pot.
The judge noted the new rules imposed by the courts as he granted the two men bail, even though he set it so high that they will likely be unable to come up with the money.
"Essentially we have the 9th Circuit decision still standing and the way I view it, it's binding on me," Judge José Luis Castillo said.
Castillo set Valenzuela's bail at $50,000, cash only, and Carmona Pineda's was set at $75,000, also cash only.
Defense attorneys and immigrant advocates who say the law is unconstitutional contend many immigrants who wound up in jail without bond had committed offenses such as using a fake identity to work or carrying small amounts of drugs.
Proposition 100 was passed amid a series of immigration crackdowns in Arizona. It denied bail to immigrants in the country illegally who have been charged with felonies such as shoplifting, aggravated identity theft, sexual assault and murder.
Maricopa County Attorney Bill Montgomery has said it protects the public from serious offenders who would not likely show up for court again if let loose.
His spokesman, Jerry Cobb, said the state will continue to defend the law and will file an appeal with the Supreme Court, asking justices to hear the case and make a ruling on the law.
"The nightmare scenario is that the drug cartel sends somebody into the U.S. to commit a hit on somebody and they murder somebody," Cobb said. "And the cartel comes and bails them out because that's nothing, that's chump change for a drug cartel."
Maricopa County Deputy Public Defender Mikel Steinfeld said it's hard to keep track of how many immigrants were held without bond since the law passed because there are several organizations that provide public defense and some immigrants hire private attorneys. He and a colleague estimated that as many as 300 prisoners, possibly more, were affected in Maricopa County.
"I think we're both optimistic that our clients who happen to be illegal immigrants will be treated on a more equitable level with the remainder of clients," Steinfeld said.
In Pima County, defense attorneys say local judges stopped enforcing the law when the appeals court put it on hold a month ago.
Lawyer Margo Cowan, who represented the two men in court in Tucson, has handled the bulk of no-bail cases and says in many instances, judges didn't enforce the rule in the first place because it was too difficult to prove that a defendant was actually residing in the country illegally.
"In Pima County, these judges tend to be very fair and unbiased and evaluate the case for what it is," Cowan said.
But there were exceptions. Judge Castillo noted that until recently, judges in Pima County Justice Court had not been on the same page about whether the no-bail rule was enforceable.
In Maricopa County, judges have been directed to stop enforcing the rule. Cobb estimates that upward of 450 defendants will now clog the courts calendar with hearings seeking bail.
TEMPE, Ariz. (AP) — A man accused of sexually assaulting a 91-year-old woman in Tempe last month is being held without bond, authorities said Wednesday.
Ekwunze Job Owen Jr., 24, was taken into custody early Wednesday near the Arizona State University campus, according to Tempe police. He didn't have a lawyer at his initial court appearance, and a public defender was being appointed to his case.
Owen allegedly entered a woman's home last Saturday and then fled when she began screaming for help, police said. It was after the incident that Owen was positively identified as a suspect through DNA, police said.
Tempe Police Cmdr. Kim Hale said Owen allegedly has admitted to some of the crimes, including the October sexual assault.
Owen also is accused of at least three incidents of indecent exposure in Mesa since February 2012.
Police said Owen allegedly left DNA at several crime scenes, and it was matched to the suspect in the sexual assault of the 91-year-old woman on Oct. 18.
Officers with Tempe police, Mesa police and the U.S. Marshals Service worked to track down Owen.
Mesa Police Chief Frank Milstead said at a news conference that during the course of the investigation, authorities realized there was an established pattern and that the suspect was a "serialized criminal" and had been preying upon vulnerable victims.
"This guy was an opportunist," Milstead said. "He knocked doors in the area asking people to use their phone. He tried to befriend people."
The series of incidents began in Mesa in January 2012, and investigators have compiled information about trespassing and indecent exposures since then.
Tempe police say they have arrested the suspect they believe has committed multiple sexual offenses in the Valley, including the assault of an elderly woman in Tempe.
Only about one in four sexual assaults committed in Arizona is ever solved by police. One attack that hasn’t been solved by police is the brazen and savage attack by an unknown assailant on a 91-year-old woman in one of Tempe’s better neighborhoods.
PHOENIX (AP) — A Phoenix man accused of killing and abusing his infant daughter has pleaded not guilty.
Maricopa County prosecutors say 39-year-old Duryea Dupri Bennett was arraigned Wednesday. His next court date is scheduled for Dec. 17.
Bennett was booked into jail on Oct. 9 on suspicion of first-degree murder and of child abuse.
Authorities received a 911 call the previous day that 1-month-old Natalyah Bennett wasn't breathing.
Phoenix police say paramedics noticed bruising on the baby and hospital personnel also found a skull fracture, broken ribs, bite marks and injuries consistent with a sexual assault.
They say the mother wasn't home and the father was alone with seven children ranging in age from 1 month old to 14 years old.
Police say none of the other children showed signs of abuse.
Authorities for asking for the public's help in identifying a man suspected of committing multiple sexual offenses in the Valley, including the sexual assault of an elderly woman in Tempe.
The Chandler Police Department has released information about a sex offender who recently moved to the city.
A suspected rapist in Gilbert whose conviction was reversed four years ago now is facing child pornography charges.
Tempe police say an elderly woman was sexually assaulted in her home Saturday night.
The Chandler Police Department has released information about a sex offender who has moved to the city.
PHOENIX (AP) — An Arizona prison teacher has blamed state officials over an attack in which she says she was stabbed and raped by a convicted sex offender she was left alone with in a penitentiary classroom.
Her attorneys filed a lawsuit Tuesday saying the Arizona Department of Corrections failed to provide adequate security and the prison's health care provider didn't properly evaluate the prisoner charged in the assault.
The January attack has raised questions about prison security after reports showed she was put into a room full of inmates with no guards nearby. Authorities say the 20-year-old blamed in the assault had lingered behind after others left the room, then repeatedly stabbed the victim with a pen before raping her.
Arizona's workplace safety agency launched an investigation of prison policy after The Associated Press reported the details in June. The review is ongoing, a Division of Occupational Safety and Health spokeswoman said.
Corrections Director Charles Ryan, who is named in the lawsuit, was not immediately available, but prison officials have said they cannot comment on the lawsuit.
Corrections spokesman Doug Nick has called the attack "a cowardly and despicable crime, for which the inmate is rightfully facing prosecution."
He says the safety of all staffers is the department's "paramount priority, and we have reached out to the victim to offer our full assistance and support."
The lawsuit filed in Pinal County Superior Court doesn't seek specific damages. In a precursor July legal claim, attorney Scott Zwillinger asked for $4 million and wrote that the state could lose $10 million if the case went to trial.
Nick has said previously that "the department vigorously disputes allegations made in the employee's claim against the state, and new allegations being made to the media."
The lawsuit says Corizon Health, the state prison system's health care provider, improperly assessed Harvey's mental health. The lawsuit said that led prison officials to classify him as a relatively low-risk offender, allowing him access to the classroom. A Corizon spokeswoman said she could not immediately comment Tuesday.
In an AP interview, the 34-year-old teacher said she mainly blames Ryan, who she says allowed lax training, staffing shortages and poor security at the Eyman prison in Florence, south of Phoenix. The AP does not identify those who say they are victims of sexual assault.
Jacob Harvey, 20, has pleaded not guilty to charges of sexual assault, kidnapping and aggravated assault in the case. His lawyer has declined comment on the case.
At the time of the attack, Harvey was being held in a unit that holds about 1,300 rapists, child molesters and other sex offenders.
He was in the first year of a 30-year sentence after being convicted of raping a Glendale woman in 2011. Prosecutors said Harvey, who was 17 at the time, knocked on a woman's door asked for a drink of water, then pushed his way in and repeatedly forced himself on the victim, whose 2-year-old child was in the apartment at the time.
The prison teacher also describes a violent attack and says the department left her vulnerable and unprepared for it.
"I remember trying to fight him off," she said. "The only thing I remembered from self-defense was to tuck my head so he would not choke me."
She said she also remembers getting stabbed, screaming and being unable to activate a panic button on her two-way radio.
She said she had received only four hours of self-defense training before being placed in classrooms, which guards did not regularly monitor, despite regulations calling for three checks each hour.
During the interview, she said radios were prone to battery problems and in short supply. If one wasn't available, she'd be pressured to hold class anyway, she said.
The teacher says she feels traumatized by the attack.
"There's times where I think I'm doing good," she said. "Then I just come crashing down. I haven't been sleeping well."
Two women who said they were raped by the same person at two different hotels in Mesa are suing the hotels that hired the person, alleging they did not conduct a background check on a known sex offender.
Recently someone asked me on my thoughts about the NFL players accused of physical abuse to their wives, children and, in one case, a fiancé that has been reported by every major news outlet around the world. I shared, “One who abuses another in any way, is a coward, period.”
While Chandler has received recognition as one of the safest municipalities of its size in the country, officials admit it can do more about the fight against domestic violence.
An Arizona State University student claims she was sexually assaulted on campus Tuesday night and ASU police are now asking for help.
As the fall semester at ASU is underway, there is new emphasis on campus about preventing sexual assault.
BULLHEAD CITY, Ariz. (AP) — An 8-year-old girl reported missing from her Arizona home was strangled to death, authorities said Friday as they continued to investigate the case.
The Mohave County medical examiner released the manner of death for Isabella "Bella" Grogan-Cannella on Friday. The cause of death was asphyxiation.
Police found Isabella's body in a shallow grave near her Bullhead City home Wednesday, a day after her family reported her missing.
Isabella was discovered wearing the same green, ruffled, sparkly tank top she had on when she was last seen. However, authorities said she didn't have any clothing on her lower half and they are looking into whether she was the victim of sexual assault.
Justin Rector, a 26-year-old Bullhead City man with a lengthy criminal history, was charged with kidnapping and first-degree murder in her death. Authorities described him as a family friend who was staying at Isabella's home at the time she disappeared. He is being held without bond.
Meanwhile, teachers and administrators at the schools Isabella attended remembered her as friendly, loving, obedient, beautiful and inquisitive.
Diamondback Elementary School Principal Martin Muecke told the Mohave Daily News that Isabella paid close attention to detail when crafting sentences. Her second-grade teacher, Kaycee Larson, said Isabella's favorite subjects were English, language arts and writing.
Desert Valley Elementary School Principal Cynthia Cochran said it's unfortunate others won't get to know Isabella.
"I think anyone who has children or who works with children is devastated by this tragedy," Cochran told the newspaper in Bullhead City, which is on the Arizona-Nevada border about 100 miles southeast of Las Vegas.
Police said they aren't ruling out additional charges or arrests in their investigation into Isabella's disappearance and death.
According to court records, Isabella's mother was not home at the time her daughter went missing. She and others went to Wal-Mart, and she told Isabella and her 10-year-old sister to lie down in bed and watch a movie. The mother of her boyfriend was home with the children, court records state.
Bullhead City Police Chief Brian Williamson said Thursday that the state Department of Child Safety is involved but did not elaborate.
A Mesa doctor is under arrest for allegedly committing to incidents of sexual abuse with patients.
Authorities are asking for the public's help identifying a man who sexually assaulted a woman in the parking lot of Chandler Fashion Square mall.
A Mesa police officer accused of sexually assaulting female suspects while they were in custody has pleaded not guilty in the case.
A Mesa police officer faces charges after he allegedly engaged in sexual contact with two female victims and molested a child under the age of 15.
“Well, the school board has the override placed on the ballot … so the teachers can vote it in! Live in your budget!”