I began this blog in May 2009 following the death of Marcia Powell at Perryville State Prison in Goodyear, Arizona. It is not intended to prescribe the path that leads to freedom from the prison industrial complex.

Rather, these are just my observations in arguably the most racist, fascist, militaristic state in the nation at a critical time in history for a number of intersecting liberation movements. From Indigenous resistance to genocidal practices, to the fight over laws like SB1070 and the ban on Ethnic Studies, Arizona is at the center of many battles for human rights, and thus the struggle for prison abolition as well - for none are free until all are. I retired the blog in APRIL 2013.

Visit me now at Arizona Prison Watch or Survivors of Prison Violence-AZ

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Arpaio and the County Board of Supervisors: Stapley

I'm a little behind with this stuff on Sheriff Joe investigating the Supervisors because there's just so much of it - he's really after Wilcox, the only one who's ever stood up to him. And the Feds and progressives are all after him; it goes on and on...


Judge tosses 51 charges in Stapley case

Judge: County not compliant with disclosure

A Maricopa County Superior Court judge on Monday tossed 51 of 117 criminal charges against County Supervisor Don Stapley when it was discovered that the county never brought its financial-disclosure laws into compliance with state statutes.

All of the dismissed charges were misdemeanor counts of filing an incomplete and/or false financial-disclosure form.

Retired Judge Kenneth Fields dropped them because the "defendant may not be held criminally liable for violations of financial-disclosure standards never properly adopted."

In an Aug. 7 hearing, defense attorney Paul Charlton asked Fields to drop all but four charges against Stapley. Charlton pointed out that in 1984 and 1994, county supervisors discussed state statutes regarding financial-disclosure forms public officials are required to fill out to ensure they have no conflicts of interest between their offices and their sources of income.
State law required the supervisors to adapt the law for county officers by "ordinance, rule, resolution or regulation." Instead, the supervisors held voice votes, saying that they would adopt the rules, which does not comply with the state law. An official regulation was required.

Fields agreed with Charlton that the board "failed to comply with its statutory mandate and adopt standards for financial disclosure."

Mel Bowers, the special prosecutor appointed to the case by the Yavapai County Attorney's Office, called the ruling "ironic."

"One of the responsibilities of the Board of Supervisors is to enact those statutes," he said. "They didn't, and you're able to escape through that hole."

But Fields refused to throw out any felony counts against Stapley on the same grounds.

Bowers said the felonies grew out of sworn statements that may have been false, even if the documents in which they appeared turned out not to be required by law. Charlton, however, stressed the apparent contradiction in that logic, saying that the only way to find Stapley guilty is "in the board requiring supervisors to file financial-disclosure forms."

County spokesman Richard de Uriarte said the County Clerk's Office has consulted with the County Attorney's Office regarding the oversight.

"The board should be able to fix this problem at an upcoming meeting," de Uriarte said.

A statement from the Maricopa County Attorney's Office called the ruling "unjust and improper." 
"For (Stapley) to be able to take advantage of improper performance of his own public duties is wrong by any measure," the statement said. "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."

Stapley had not yet been elected to the board when the disputed votes were taken.

In November, a grand jury indicted Stapley on 118 counts - 65 felonies and 53 misdemeanors - that stemmed from forensic analysis of 14 years of Stapley's financial-disclosure forms, beginning in 1994. Most of the alleged violations concern two parcels of property and a 2003 land deal that supposedly were not reported.
Stapley was charged with multiple offenses for each omission: perjury, forgery and false swearing, all felonies; and filing an incomplete and/or false financial-disclosure form, a misdemeanor.

One of the misdemeanor counts, regarding an investment account that Bowers decided was "not worth pursuing," was dismissed in May.

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