Criminal Justice

The Drama Builds in Marikafka County

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As I wrote in a previous post, yesterday was the deadline by which Maricopa County Superior Court Judge Gary Donahoe gave Dep. Adam Stoddard to apologize for swiping documents from a defense attorney's file in open court last month. In response, Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio vowed that Stoddard will not apologize.

Sure enough, last night Stoddard called a press conference to announce that he wouldn't be apologizing to anyone. Here's the video:

Freelance journalist Nick Martin was there:

Before Stoddard walked off in defiance of his court-ordered deadline, Craig Mehrens, a veteran Phoenix attorney who has agreed to represent Cuccia in the case, called out to him through the crowd: "See you in jail."

Stoddard's lawyer, deputy county attorney Tom Liddy, stepped in to try to answer reporters' questions. But the heckling by Mehrens continued.

Mehrens insisted several times that the detention officer had not written the prepared statement himself, implying that Stoddard was little more than a yes man for his boss, Sheriff Joe Arpaio.

I still think Donahoe was wrong (and possibly exceeded his authority) to order Stoddard to apologize. He should have just held him in contempt from the get-go. Now the county may be on the verge of a constitutional crisis. That's bad for Donahoe, whose court now faces a crisis of legitimacy if he can't find a police agency to carry out his order. But it's entertaining as hell for the rest of us.