Criminal Justice

The Continuing Drama of the Document-Swiping Deputy

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When last we left the standoff in Maricopa County, Arizona, Superior Court Judge Gary Donahoe had given Dep. Adam Stoddard a deadline by which to apologize for swiping documents from a defense attorney's file in open court last month. Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio vowed that Stoddard would not apologize. Stoddard then called a press conference Monday night in which he essentially thumbed his nose at Donahoe and continued to defend his breach of attorney-client privilege.

And since then? Yes, it's gotten even crazier.

  • The Maricopa County Sheriff's Office announced on Tuesday that Stoddard would surrender to jail ahead of his midnight deadline to aplogize. But when Stoddard showed up, the jail refused to book him, citing a "clerical error." Stoddard insisted on spending the night in jail anyway.
  • Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio announced he has filed a federal lawsuit against the county and its judges, alleging a "widespread conspiracy" against Arpaio and his officers. Arpaio remarkably and apparently with no self-awareness whatsoever called the county a "good ole boys network," and commented that he had "never seen these kinds of things occur in the justice system." Arpaio also called Donahoe's contempt finding against Stoddard a "vendetta," and said, "For political reasons, [Stoddard's] been thrown to the wolves."
  • Yesterday, the day after Stoddard spent a night in jail, 19 sheriff's deputies scheduled to work security at the courthouse called in sick, throwing the day's court proceedings into disarray. The building also had to be evacuated after a phone-in bomb threat.
  • As crowds returned after the bomb threat was cleared, the law enforcement unions commenced with a conveniently-timed rally in front of the courthouse, calling Stoddard a "victim" and demanding that he be released from jail.

Once again, here's video of the "victimized" deputy's actions that caused all of this:

MORE:   Via the comments, Stoddard's fellow officers will be holding nightly candlelight vigils for their comrade—who, by the way, is being paid while he's in jail. Actually, as the linked New Times article explains, it's not even a certainty that Stoddard is actually in jail. No one is saying where he's being held, and there's apparently no record of him being booked.