Power Play

County law enforcement's attack on the judiciary didn't work, but the war's far from over

"Under the State's theory, Mr. Bearup's act of cutting off [the victim's] ring finger, while cruel and heinous, was not a cause of the death," Granville wrote.

Granville told the Arizona Supreme Court that he believed Bearup correctly was convicted of murder, even if he hadn't pulled the trigger. But he concluded that the death sentence ordered by the jury wasn't justified because of the deals tendered to, and taken by, two of the other three defendants.

Granville noted, "It is the County Attorney's motto that 'Let justice be done.' This, of course, coincides with a prosecutor's unique ethical responsibility. This Court finds that justice was not done for Mr. Bearup."

Judge Warren Granville is the subject of repeated official complaints by the county attorney.
Judge Warren Granville is the subject of repeated official complaints by the county attorney.

Again, the judge was referring to the death sentence, not the conviction. The fourth defendant in the case, the alleged shooter, still is awaiting trial.

Granville declined to confirm whether the County Attorney's Office has filed another judicial complaint against him.

But his colleagues at the courthouse claim Granville is facing new charges filed by Andrew Thomas' aides with the Judicial Commission, which, by law, keeps complaints secret until decisions are rendered.

Two days after Dennis Wilenchik told Judge Ryan to his face that he was a threat to public safety, Thomas held a press conference and angrily blasted Judge Granville for dismissing child-abuse charges against a Phoenix woman, allegedly so that they could never be re-filed.

The reason for the dismissal was that court personnel couldn't find an interpreter who spoke the defendant's native language, a rare African dialect.

But there's just no way the conservative Granville would toss out a case for keeps on that basis. The court file suggests that neither the prosecutor nor the defense attorney considered it more than a temporary dismissal. Once a translator was found, the charge could be re-filed.

In part because of the timing of Thomas' press conference, which came on the heels of Wilenchik's performance in Judge Ryan's courtroom, insiders who heard about the latest attack on Granville were convinced that the County Attorney was grabbing at anything — whether accurate or not — to condemn the judge.

But most of the media dutifully reported as fact what Thomas called the latest judicial outrage. Michael Kiefer, who covers the courts for the Republic, dug deeper and learned that Thomas' accusation had been based on a typographical mistake: The dismissal was temporary after all. (Why the case prosecutor didn't explain all this to someone at his office is uncertain.)

Kiefer explained the simple error to Thomas, but the county attorney wouldn't budge.

"I am pleased that Judge Granville reversed his decision based on my press conference," Thomas was quoted as saying in a news story.

Though his attempt at playing the public was transparent, the County Attorney was technically correct: The judge had said he would correct the clerical error.

It should have come as little surprise that Andrew Peyton Thomas unofficially declared war on the local judiciary soon after he took office in 2005.

Thomas has written extensively over the years about his vision of criminal justice.

A Harvard Law School graduate, Thomas soon adopted the persona of a vigilant, if colorless, soldier against bad guys, ever willing to do battle against criminals and the people he claims coddle them.

At the top of that list of coddlers are judges and defense attorneys.

About a decade ago, the future county attorney wrote in the conservative Weekly Standard about prosecutors who are "relatively young and inexperienced and of average ability." These simpletons are often overwhelmed, he claimed, by crafty defense attorneys.

Andrew Thomas is a bona fide inciter, not an insider.

His idea of communication with those from other facets of the criminal justice system — particularly judges — hasn't been to get on the phone and hash things out like most people in his position might do.

It's been to hire Dennis Wilenchik, long known to county judges as an attorney more than willing to viciously attack anyone who stands in his way in a legal proceeding.

Should anybody have been shocked by Thomas' choice of lawyers to represent him in his clash with the courts?

In December 1996, while working as an assistant Arizona attorney general, Thomas wrote, "The [U.S. Supreme] Court has grown incapable of overturning any of the landmark criminals' rights rulings, either from an overriding zeal for judicial power or from a broad-based judicial ideology that has grown comfortable with these rights and the social advances they supposedly represent."

He was referring not to the liberal Warren court that ushered in the Miranda warning and a host of other rulings favoring the rights of criminal defendants, but to its far more conservative successor, the Rehnquist court.

Thomas and his political ilk seem obsessed with the belief that judges cannot be trusted, period.

Rachel Alexander, one of his "special assistants" at the County Attorney's Office and cofounder of a Web site called intellectualconservative.com, has published many pieces concerning the state of the judiciary, none flattering.

Last year, right-wing Republican activist Carol Turoff wrote, "Once selected and robed, the system that put(s) [judges] on the bench takes on a glow that belies the stark political realities behind the scenes."

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Thomas Trottier
Thomas Trottier

Elizabeth Cottor is a Snake as you can tell by her evil scowl and Shark like facial features. My son was prosecuted by her and she would not so much as even let him speak. If only he could explain at 17 what he had done when he was 16. But since he was prosecuted as an adult, and at that age the court system seems very intimidating, but a fair trial would have saved him 2 years of his life. For an auto accident where a unlicensed drug-taking uninsured driver was actually at fault. Her ethics are indeed tainted by her association with Andrew Thomas and his bottom feeder ethics. I am glad that she will never see her dream of becoming a Judge come true, I prayed faithfully for God to stop her. Prayer works!

JA Moran
JA Moran

maricopa county, and the state of Arizona need political and justice officials that will seek to be "reasonable and fair" that is true justice. Don't use one's position to try and squash your political opponents. The Maricopa County Attorney and Sheriff use any opportunity to get their face infront of a camera and make their point. They should stick to doing their jobs, be "reasonable and be fair", not going after people who disagree with them. We are supposed to be a democracy and in a democratic society people should be free to voice their disagreements. Also you should be free to publish the truth as the facts support, not as some political officials want. Do I need to remind people what happened to the guy who played "Joe Arizona" in political ads and what another person named Joe did to him because he made this other "Joe" look bad ??


Leonard Clark
Leonard Clark

Please, if you feel that these two fascist thugs should be stopped legally, constitutionally and non-violently help us with the recall. We have filed official recall papers and even after the deadline is over for this recallif we are not successful the first time we are going to hound these two criminal and unconstitutional thugs with another legal and constitutional recall.

Please, help us and help Arizona, we are not associated with any politician or political group we are only associated with the U.S. Constitution.Leonard Clark623-206-2039 email: leonardclark385@hotmail.com arizonarecall.comChair of the Arizonans for the U.S. Constitution and recall of Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio and Andrew Thomas

TreasurerWilliam Crum602-300-8851

Annalisa Alvrus
Annalisa Alvrus

So, judges are NOT political? Judges NEVER make the wrong decisions? Judges NEVER make rulings based on political or personal biases? Judges ALWAYS make rulings pursuant to the law? Should we not expect all three branches of government to constantly check the other branches? Isn't that what our government is supposed to be doing? I usually really, really like Paul Rubin's articles, but I don't care for the pro-judiciary slant in this article. The judges are placed on the bench by the governor, and even though we "vote" to "retain" them, we get very little information about whether they really rule according to the law. And the judicial oversight commission mentioned in the article almost NEVER disciplines a superior court judge. Are all 95+ of them really such perfect employees of the citizenry? Seems awfully hard to believe.

Tony Dogs
Tony Dogs

They really need to disbar this clown. He's a disgrace.

Jim Cozzolino
Jim Cozzolino

Arpaio and Thomas, Reincarnated Hitler's.Scary.....


That's what many lawyers / judges do to deceive the public. Wolves in sheeps' clothing.


AA, Well said! Definitely agree with you. Look at the Bios of these judges on the Court roster -- wonder what the qualifications are to even be a judge, many of the resumes are slim to none.

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