DEAD and GONE

DEAD is what Angela Maher is -- struck down in her prime by accused drunken driver Gloria Schulze. GONE is what Gloria Schulze is-- allowed to escape by a judicial system that might as well have booked her flight.

"She stated that Gloria has all of her personal belongings in the house. There is no indication that Gloria has packed and left town for any reason whatsoever," the report says.

However, Carolyn Schulze didn't sound too concerned about her daughter's welfare when reached at her California home last week. She declined an interview, per Kazan's advice.

But when asked pointblank if she's heard from Gloria, she pauses, then says, "Now, if I had heard from her, do you think I'd tell you?"

Kazan says he hasn't heard from his client. To his knowledge, he says, all of the threats to Gloria Schulze were secondhand; Rose Marie Maher never spoke to Schulze on the phone or in person.

However, Kazan says, Gloria Schulze knew of the threats. He says, "I know she was on pins and needles about it."

Dan Maynard calls the threats "garbage."
"I've said it to the governor and I've said it to the police and I've said it to everyone else--ifshe'd [Maher] ever wanted to do anything, she lived within a mile of this woman," he says. "She never went over to this woman's house. She never called her. She never contacted her. She just vented at times. That's all."

The Mahers and their attorneys believe Schulze fled not because of any alleged threats, but because she was unhappy with a plea bargain offered late that summer. Curran says that under the proposed plea agreement, Schulze would have had to plead guilty to the manslaughter charge and serve a prison term of 14 to 16 years.

Rose Marie Maher says, "The day of that plea offer is the day she started planning to leave."

Gloria Schulze had a running start in her escape, thanks in part to Maricopa County's Pretrial Services Agency.

Schulze missed five drug-testing appointments in a row--between September 1 and 13--but no one at Pretrial Services informed the prosecutor or the court. Perry Mitchell, the administrator of Pretrial Services, says there is no formal policy that dictates when his agency should alert the court of missed appointments or failed drug tests. It is unusual, he says, for someone to miss five appointments before notice is given.

Mitch Rand says, "It's rare. I really haven't run into that before."
Usually, he says, he hears about failed drug tests or missed appointments after two or three.

Once a defendant has missed appointments or has failed drug tests, the prosecution can ask the court to alter or revoke the defendant's release status. In this case, Schulze's failure to appear would have alerted the authorities that she might have taken off, and might have made it easier to locate her.

Instead, the first written notification that Schulze had missed her appointments is dated September 15, the day Schulze failed to appear in court.

Mitchell says it is difficult to track appearances for drug tests because the testing is done by an independent, off-site contractor, the Treatment Assessment Screening Center. TASC does not look out for missed appointments; it only produces results and turns them over to Pretrial Services. The results can take a day and a half to come back, and Pretrial Services only collects the results three times a week. Thus, it can be many days before a missed test is discovered.

Mitchell says he is working to rectify that problem by getting computer equipment that can transfer the information more quickly.

He admits that the pretrial officer responsible for Gloria Schulze should have notified the court of the missed appointments prior to the court hearing.

He says, "Pretrial services under my authority should have reacted earlier in this case."

County officials are now reviewing the method by which Pretrial Services notifies the court and prosecutor of missed and failed appointments. They insist the review is a coincidence--nothing to do with Schulze.

Judge Ronald Reinstein says, "From what I understand, they were going to be talking about it anyway. This case is just an example of what can happen."

For a while, it appeared that the Mahers and their attorneys were the only ones who cared whether Gloria Schulze ever stands trial. A bench warrant was issued September 15, but that was about it.

The Maricopa County Sheriff's Office is the repository for all warrants in the county. In 1995, Sergeant John Kleinheinz says, the office received almost 40,000 warrants--a daunting figure, considering that the warrant detail is staffed by only seven deputies.

That may be why the warrant detail cleared only 1,025 cases. (Additional warrants were cleared by other law enforcement agencies.)

Kleinheinz admits it's difficult to launch a full-scale search for every fugitive. Instead, police figure the fugitive will one day forget to register a car or get pulled over for speeding--and then she'll be caught.

Maynard scoffs: "That's how they look for fugitives. They don't look."
Because the accident occurred in Scottsdale, the Scottsdale Police Department is also involved.

Maynard asked the Scottsdale police and Rand to search Schulze's Scottsdale home. They refused, he says, stating they needed permission from Schulze's parents, who owned the house. Maynard says he believed there was sufficient probable cause to get a search warrant.

He says, "I'm thinking, 'Jeez, don't you guys watch TV?'"
September turned into October--with no word on Schulze's whereabouts. Rose Marie Maher grew more anxious. She started making appointments.

« Previous Page
 |
 
1
 
2
 
3
 
4
 
5
 
All
 
Next Page »
 
My Voice Nation Help
0 comments
 
Loading...