In his report, Detective Graham wrote: "Ray Stern disturbed several employees in a normally quiet business by unnecessarily raising his voice to a level which caused concern for the safety of another employee."

But when interviewed about his report and his recollection of how the women in the law firm described the Stern incident, Detective Graham cannot pinpoint anyone who was actually terrorized.

The primary witness, Carrie Shehorn?

Captain Jim Miller (left) and Sheriff's Office spokesman Paul Chagolla on the occasion of Ray Stern's second run-in over public records, this time at City Hall.
Ray Stern
Captain Jim Miller (left) and Sheriff's Office spokesman Paul Chagolla on the occasion of Ray Stern's second run-in over public records, this time at City Hall.
Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio (left) and County Attorney Andrew Thomas.
Social Eye Media
Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio (left) and County Attorney Andrew Thomas.

"Well, I don't know if I would actually consider her, what she told me, as being scared. Iafrate told me she was 'rattled,'" recalled Detective Graham.

"Was Courtney [Coleman] scared?"

"I don't believe she was, no," said Detective Graham.

"Rebecca?"

"I don't believe she was scared, no. She was concerned," recalled Detective Graham.

In his report, Detective Graham identified one witness, Beverly, who was so agitated that she considered calling for help.

"Beverly told me she didn't know if she should stay in the basement or come upstairs to see what was going on," wrote Detective Graham about the Stern commotion. "Beverly told me she contemplated calling 911 because she wasn't sure what was going on."

Based upon this, Detective Graham concluded Beverly was scared, though he also admits she never used the word scared.

In reality, Beverly was concerned.

But she was not frightened by Ray Stern.

Beverly was frightened by her boss, Michele Iafrate.

We know this because, in an unsolicited e-mail, Beverly contacted New Times.

"I witnessed the alleged 'disorderly conduct' incident on or about 10/18/08," Beverly Goodman wrote in a letter. "Moreover, I have information that some Iafrate employees were coerced into making less-than-truthful statements to an MCSO law enforcement officer who was summoned."

According to Goodman, the other women in the office, the paralegals and secretaries, took their cues from attorney Michele Iafrate.

Goodman once made the mistake of returning to the law firm with a copy of New Times and was reprimanded — not by Iafrate, but by one of the other women more experienced in the office culture — for reading the paper.

Goodman said the tone at the office came from the top.

"I was told by Michele's assistant that we don't like the New Times," said Goodman. "We don't read the New Times. At first, I thought she was joking. I mean, I like reading the New Times. But it was very clear to me that Michele didn't like New Times, so we weren't supposed to read New Times."

Moreover, everyone at the law firm knew Stern was with New Times and that he was coming to Iafrate's office to review potentially embarrassing documents of the sheriff's.

"I knew someone from the New Times was coming. And there was a big hullabaloo," testified Goodman.

She explained that the staff was geared up for "some sort of confrontation."

What is a legal office without a bit of drama? Why was Goodman convinced that Iafrate had steered the statements of witnesses? What happened as the deputy arrived?

"Carrie Shehorn came into our office," recalled Goodman. "And she told Jill, 'Oh, he's here. He's here' [referring to Detective Graham]."

These were not the first citizens to have ever become anxious at the arrival of a law enforcement officer. But Goodman felt Iafrate clearly signaled to her staff what she expected them to say.

Goodman's answers are both atmospheric and specific.

"They [the other women in the office] just really like Michele," said Goodman of the environment. "Everything Michele liked, they liked."

But there was more to this than just a vibe.

"It's difficult to answer if you don't know this culture," explained Goodman. "Michele recapped, while we were all standing there, what she believed happened . . . That this guy had come in. And from what she was saying, it sounded like she was saying that he had threatened them. And was refusing to leave, and he had been doing something wrong . . . she flat-out said that he had been refusing to leave."

One woman already had said that she did not witness anything.

"I believe it was Courtney," said Goodman.

Iafrate's comment, Goodman claimed, was that this staff person "still needed to give a statement."

"Courtney told me that she could hear yelling and went into the conference room to make sure that everything was all right," wrote Detective Graham in his report.

Well, now . . . Is this coercing witnesses, coaching employees, or simply the mark of an attorney with excellent leadership qualities?

From another perspective, let's cast a gimlet eye upon Ms. Goodman. She worked at the firm for only two months before losing her position.

But even if you characterize Ms. Goodman as that most peptic observer — a disgruntled former employee — her direct testimony, as opposed to her judgments upon office culture, is troubling.

In her deposition, she informed New Times that she never considered calling 911. She was never frightened by Stern's behavior; Stern was not abusive or loud. In fact, she could barely hear him. The only voices she'd heard were those of the women who worked for Iafrate, and Iafrate's.

"I don't recall saying, 'Call 911,'" said Goodman in her interview. "There was nothing that Ray Stern did that would have caused me to think about calling 911."

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33 comments
Jeff Turner
Jeff Turner

You guys are doing a great job reporting government corruption. Certainly (and unfortunately) there seems to be job security in that field. But who's job is it to police the police, or to prosecute the prosecutor. Whoever it is, they don't seem to be doing there job to well.

Emil Pulsifer
Emil Pulsifer

Thanks, "Native Arizonan since 1956". However, the items by me which were deleted consisted of some speculations about the identity, etc., of Equity & Friends, and as such were in fact off-topic; furthermore, once Equity's blather was deleted, my response referencing details of it would merely be confusing to anyone recently arrived on the scene. So, while I appreciate your kind words of support, in this instance I don't mind: I'm just glad to see the spam disappear.

E.T. Arnold Jr.
E.T. Arnold Jr.

I smell a movie in the making. What better time for a story based on government lies and abuse of the people? I was born and raised in Phoenix, Arizona (South Mountain area) and went to tempe schools (8 years at Kyrene)so, I know Maricopa county. As a teenager, 13 years old, freshman year at McKlintock, I ran away from home and was caught and held at the Durango juvenile detention center. I hid in the projection box in an attempt to escape. When they found me, I was repeatedly kicked by an officer wearing pointed cowboy boots. I understand from a brother that worked at a juvenile prison that the juveniles are still beaten and abused. Arizona must be proud. My problem at home was my stepdad was a full blown alcoholic. He was the sole survivor of a B-29 shot down over Tokyo in WWII. I saw him do things I can't relate here. I was a good kid, asked to address the graduation ceremonies at Kyrene a year earlier. I was abused at the hands of the staff of the Durango facility. It appears the county officials believe they can abuse people in perpetuity, now acting like Nazi SS thugs. If I show up with my camera, will I get jailed and beaten?

Native Arizonan since 1956
Native Arizonan since 1956

I appreciate the deletion of comments from Equity Court Services. Their comments are usually off-topic and self promotional in nature.However, the deletion of comments from Emil Pulsifer leave me puzzled. This is a contributor who is usually on target regarding the topic and often quite well reasoned, not to mention civil in nature, unlike some contributors.Please exercise great judiciousness before deleting comments. Thanks

Dan
Dan

Is this the same Ray Stern who was fired from The East Valley Tribune and couldn't get a job with anyone but the NewTimes?

Bye Bye Phil!
Bye Bye Phil!

This comment was deleted for being off topic.

Coz
Coz

Thank you !

>>This comment was deleted for being off topic.Comment by Equity Court Services from Phoenix on Aug 29th, 2008, 10:17 am

Emil Pulsifer
Emil Pulsifer

Would someone PLEASE inform the code-monkeys at Phoenix New Times that the title of the article, as shown on the home page, now reads: "Arpaio Can?t Justify Charging Ray Stern".

Note the substitution of a QUESTION MARK where an apostrophe should be.

Emil Pulsifer
Emil Pulsifer

This comment was deleted for being off topic.

Emil Pulsifer
Emil Pulsifer

This comment was deleted for being off topic.

Keith Hardy
Keith Hardy

Take these corrupt bastards down. Sherriff Joe is a complete scumbag and bully. Follow his money trail with his property in Fountain Hills and his involvement with the gaming. Expose this bastard and lets put him behind bars in pink underwear where he belongs.

Emil Pulsifer
Emil Pulsifer

Re: Comment nos. 11 and 14

Ahm taen out ma wee pen knife, Johnny...

E.T. Arnold Jr.
E.T. Arnold Jr.

Is there any doubt why the "Extra-terrestrials" that placed man on this earth (we are the offspring and siblings of the ET's) are currently on their way to this planet to eradicate the filth in human government? In fact, they are going to annhilate all human forms of government and their evil human cogs and establish a perfect government for mankind everywhere. First, after crushing the vermin ruining the earth and causing the suffering of it's inhabitants, the ET government will eradicate all forms of disese and sickness! The erath's weather will be brought under control and the mountains will overflow with an overabundance of healthful, healing produce. PEACE will be found everywhere while evildoers and their foul deeds will be not be found anywhere! Mankind will be put back on it's original path of learning and exploration as we devote all our energy to the benefit of our fellow man and our ET family. Juast as space has no bounds or end, so will the future of man be filled with wondrous things. We will enjoy these things to time indefinite as we enjoy one of the greatest benefits from the ET's, the end of the great enemy death. Yes, one of the lasting benefits the ET government will bestow upon us is eternal life...eternal life that we may see and rejoice in the good deeds of our own hand! Now, who in their right mind would not welcome the ETs when they arrive? Obviously, the vermin for which the ETs hold a death warrant! The ETs placed their law code in the physical make-up of the human race. We call it our conscience. It looks like the vermin that have broken the laws of the ETs are going to be rounded up shortly and put to the fire of destruction! Now that I have let the cat out of the bag, is the sheriff going to come and arrest me? I always got a kick out of the tough sheriff but, IF he is violating the constitution my father and uncles died to defend, then he is the enemy just like Hitler, PolPot, Joe Stalin, and all the vile murdering vermin we had to eradicate. You cannot swear to uphold the constitution in the executution of your duties for which you are taking taxpayor dollars for your livelihood then violate the constitution and your oath as it suits you. NO SIR! You dishonor all those that have fought and died for the very thing you now violate. If its all true, put him in his pink underwear, and feed him baloney and no coffee. Another example of how absolute power corrupts...IF its all true...and it sure looks like is! Of course, if Joe's laundry is prefectly clean, why not show it to the world just like the pink underwear he is so famous for? Why all the dirty tricks if you have nothing to hide Joe?

Emil Pulsifer
Emil Pulsifer

Great article, Mr. Lacey. First rate. Thanks especially for the revelation that Uncle Joe & Friends attempt to intimidate political and other opponents by (a) determining if they have any incarcerated friends or relatives, and (b) threatening to expose them to harm in Arpaio's gang-infested jails. MCSO doesn't, of course, have to make explicit threats: as in the example given, its agents can simply make pointed observations and let the imaginations of the victims do the rest. Let's hope that the past actions of these thugs and their mouthpieces catch up with them.

By the way, please delete the long, long spam posting (Comment #11 by Equity Court Services). Surely you understand that it's a non-starter? By the time the readers puzzle their way through it, they're exhausted and have forgotten about both the article and the comments actually germane to it. Please don't allow loons (whether genuine or simulated) to discourage reader feedback by turning the comment sections into a vast wasteland of irrelevant nonsense. Criticism or even abuse is one thing, provided it's on topic, but this is something else entirely. (The inclusion of a few random references to the article's contents is merely camouflage -- the Trojan Horse by which he hopes his irrelevant junk-bomb can be smuggled in without deletion.)

abogada987
abogada987

to Who Cares from Yuma: I know lots of good folks from Yuma who don't suffer from your indifference to responisve, accountable government.

Keep up the good work Stern and Lacey.

gizzard
gizzard

Another lawsuit heading your way Arpaio. Nice job on the Dowling case also, more tax dollars wasted and your stupidity still shines on!

Dan Farrell Davis
Dan Farrell Davis

Mr. Lacey -- Just as New Times was way ahead of criminal proceedings against Charles Keating, we look forward to the day that Sheriff Arpaio and this cronies will get their own charges, convictions and jail time.

Mr. Lacey, you are a true hero.

Steve
Steve

The bully and the perpetual victim are at it again. Big deal. This was a waste of column space.

Who Cares
Who Cares

I want the 15 minutes of my life back it took to read this stupid article. Both sides sound like children squabbling over nothing. One acts like a bully, the other a perpetual victim who whines all the time.

Coz
Coz

I'm looking forward to the day they all go to jail so they can suffer the same pain, torture and harassment they have so happily placed done onto others.

Native Arizonan since 1956
Native Arizonan since 1956

Arpaio and Thomas are digging their own graves (figuratively). Their careers will be remembered for their waste, their arrogance and their lack of any meaningful contribution to society. I look forward to the day that both are unemployed.

kathleen
kathleen

Isn't it time to have our actions speak louder than all of Thomas and Arpaio's rhetoric. VOTE them out. Saban and Richard for Sheriff and County Attorney. Their actions (Thomas and Arpaio)speak so loudly who can possibly hear what they have to say.

Coz
Coz

Amazing....When do these Assholes, Low life Dirtbags, Scum Buckets, Nim Rods....Arpaio, his Monkey's, Thomas and the rest of these Bigger Than Life Scumbags go to jail themselves ?

Concerned Citizen
Concerned Citizen

All I see is thousands of dollars of wasted taxpayers money and abuse of power by the sheriff's office. Once again, all this time, money and resources would be better spent on the violent criminals rather than used to retaliate against their perceived enemies -- the press. Thank you New Times for keeping the public informed of the facts and details, while the other media cover what's fed to them by the sheriff and county attorney's offices.

skepticguy
skepticguy

@Dan yep. the same ray stern who now works for his wife at a paper known for its fabrications.

 
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