County Attorney Andrew Thomas Fooled Us Twice With So-Called "Independent" Prosecutors — Shouldn't That Be Enough?

There are people in town horrified by Maricopa County Attorney Andrew Thomas' demagoguery, by his ambition, and by his blind alliance with Sheriff Joe Arpaio.

I see all that, of course. But what really gets me about Thomas is his chutzpah. This guy never loses fair and square; in his mind, someone has always bribed the referee to ensure his defeat. And even when he's bleeding to death, he's still angrily trying to dictate the terms of his surrender.

Consider the events of the past few weeks. Thomas, it's fair to say, has been getting killed.

Fresh off a series of major losses, Andrew Thomas is trying to pick another fight with the board of supervisors.
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Fresh off a series of major losses, Andrew Thomas is trying to pick another fight with the board of supervisors.

First was the coolly devastating testimony of Yavapai County Attorney Sheila Polk. Like Thomas, Polk is a Republican. At one point, the two had a cordial relationship. Yet Polk testified in a hearing February 16 at the behest of defense attorneys representing Supervisor Mary Rose Wilcox. And her testimony was damning.

As Polk explained under oath, Thomas had recused himself from cases involving county officials, appointing her to serve as "independent" prosecutor in his stead.

But Sheriff Arpaio's men started complaining. Polk, apparently, wasn't the pushover that Arpaio's accustomed to. She thought grand juries were not to be used for fishing expeditions. She thought Arpaio overstepped by arresting Supervisor Don Stapley long before any prosecutor was willing to charge him. She also thought there was no merit to the case against Wilcox.

Horrified at the prospect of a county attorney who actually insisted that his goons build a solid case, Arpaio almost immediately began bitching to his buddy Thomas. Polk described how the sheriff's men pleaded with Thomas to kick Polk off the cases: "Take them back! Take them back!"

Thomas dithered — but ultimately he did fire his supposedly independent prosecutor, and then he took the cases back.

Naturally, Thomas did everything that Polk had resisted doing. He charged Wilcox despite a dearth of evidence, charged Stapley despite a weakly formed case, and even charged the county's presiding criminal court judge with bribery, despite being unable to explain exactly what "bribe" the judge had taken.

Amazing.

Polk's testimony made Thomas look weak — and highly unethical. And Thomas hardly corrected that impression when he followed her on the stand. He didn't seem familiar with his office's own racketeering lawsuit against county officials. He couldn't remember dates or times or who first discussed employing such litigation. He couldn't seem to give a straight answer.

Worst of all, he couldn't see why anyone would object to the sheriff's techniques.

As both Polk and Thomas testified, in September 2009, Arpaio arrested Stapley even though the prosecutor ostensibly handling the case, Polk, had insisted it wasn't ready. An angry Polk called a meeting and told Arpaio the arrest had been inappropriate — that it looked like retaliation against Stapley for beating the rap on a previous indictment.

"At one point," Thomas recalled on the stand, "she was saying they shouldn't be involved in the case. That struck me as odd."

So the sheriff had defied the special prosecutor to arrest a political enemy, without as much as a warrant. And Thomas found the special prosecutor's objections odd?

And if the four hours of testimony from Polk and Thomas were truly revealing, the judge's ruling in response was brutal.

One week after hearing Polk testify, Pima County Superior Court Judge John Leonardo found that Thomas had a giant conflict of interest in prosecuting Supervisor Wilcox. He kicked him off the prosecution of the case and dismissed the entire indictment.

At that point, the writing was the on wall: Thomas was forced to dismiss the criminal cases against Supervisor Stapley and Judge Gary Donahoe, too.

It wasn't just a loss. It was a rout.

For most of us, such a giant defeat would lead to serious soul searching.

Thomas had once handpicked Sheila Polk to be his special prosecutor. Yet she concluded that he was abusing his power. And Thomas' office had praised the appointment of the special master who personally selected Judge Leonardo. (His top aide was on record saying that all Thomas wanted was an out-of-county judge, like Leonardo.) Yet Leonardo found that Thomas had serious conflicts of interest, booted him off the case, and dismissed all charges. That had to hurt.

But here's how twisted Thomas is.

It didn't seem to register at all. On the very day of Leonardo's ruling, his flacks returned to their mad spinning. (Leonardo is a leftist! This is really a victory for Thomas! Everyone, everywhere is part of an invisible machine working against him!)

And Thomas — the guy who ought to be reeling from his losses — immediately picked another fight. The county supervisors, Thomas decreed, needed to schedule a meeting that very Friday to appoint another special prosecutor.

Thomas could hand these cases off to any county attorney, anywhere in the state. He could also, presumably, give them to the state attorney general or local U.S. Attorney.

He would not need the board of supervisors to sign off on any one of those options.

But Thomas didn't do that.

He'd lost, and he didn't want a prosecutor so much as he wanted the moral high ground. So he immediately tried to make this about the supervisors.

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17 comments
No more Thomas
No more Thomas

Moral high ground for Thomas would be some marsh land. FBI,State Bar, Attorney General, and alot of falsely accused citizens who know they have been scammed. Add two half baked assisitants, a controlling sheriff and you have a recipe for disaster. Some one left the cake out in the rain...and Thomas will never have the recipe again. Game over. I over heard two elected officials talking to each other at a fund raiser last week. One asked do you think he will run and the other answered if he was sinking to the bottom of the ocean with a ten pound weight he would not let go. Let's hope Thomas runs for Attorney General admist all the investigations hanging tightly to his beliefs that he has actually done something worthy in the county. Reality will clearly set in come election day.

Concerned Citizen
Concerned Citizen

note a correction to Dan Horne's book title: "Accidental Felons" a must-read for everyone in Arizona -- Thomas, Arpaio, Tent City life and where the true criminals are -- on the "outside" abusing the people.

Chad Snow, a local hero!
Chad Snow, a local hero!

Chad, Your honest comment is greatly appreciated as we struggle to find true "leadership" and a voice not afraid to speak out on the corruption of these offices and elected officials. Your comment needs to go on all the campaign hand-outs starting NOW!

Chad Snow
Chad Snow

Debbie from Mesa: I'm a lifelong Republican, conservative, Mormon, used to subscribe to the Limbaugh Letter, etc. You need to really educate yourself about what's going on in County government. Read the Goldwater Institute report "Mission Unaccomplished" (the Goldwater Institute is not a bastion of liberalism like you think New Times is); read the East Valley Tribune Pulitzer Prize winning "Reasonable Doubt" series. Read the factually based New Times "Target Practice" series. It will change your mind. If you still aren't convinced, call me.

Arpaio and Thomas have fooled a slim majority of voters in Maricopa County into thinking that they are only humble crime fighters battling the illegal invasion and government corruption. The facts, however, don't lie. MCSO is horrible at law enforcement, including illegal immigration enforcement. Joe Arpaio and Dave Hendershott have looted MCSO, JEF, and RICO funds for their own personal gain. They waste tens of millions of dollars a year of our money. And they abuse the power of their office to silence dissent. Those are the facts.

Right winger from Mesa
Right winger from Mesa

Debbie from Mesa. I am a conservative Christian from Mesa. There is not a damn liberal thing about me. Not my seven children. Not my views on Obama. My support for our troops. Andrew Thomas has insulted the intelligent, hardworking people of Maricopa County. Let me issue a warning...when major employers start to leave the state in droves due to the circus stunts of this County Attorney and we lose more jobs and new businesses refuse to come here, because of the bad business environment Thomas's actions have created. While you and your husband are clipping coupons you may want to arm yourself with the facts. Thomas is a blight on the common people of Maricopa County and the state of Arizona. Oh yeah and I am against Illegal immigration before you shoot back with that.

Debbie
Debbie

Thanks! I picked up a couple of your trash papers today, as usual, for the coupons. My husband happened to be with me and gave me a questioning glance, as he's familiar with the trash/liberal/biased content (your papers were removed from his place of employment a long time ago because of so many complaints). I explained why I picked them up, and mentioned that I would thumb through the paper while on the treadmill at the gym, looking for coupons, and that all you did week after week was print your biased liberal slanted opinions against our sheriff and Andrew Thomas. I flipped through the first couple of articles and, sure enough, there it was!! HA!

fed up
fed up

Like the back cover of the book UNCONVENTIONAL FELONS by Daniel Horne says A. Thomas is the most dangerous man in AZ. {and he is gloating in it , like a evil person would }

harold
harold

yes the lawyers laughed at him now they are just down right disgusted. He brings law and the constitution down to such a low level. What a disgrace and to think we paying him for this clown show. WHERE are the members of the bar and the board ? Have they all been scared off by the treatment of Mary Wilcox and others who cross him ?

Former Conservative Republican
Former Conservative Republican

correction: "NOW who is going to step up and restore the individual's rights in Arizona and get rid the the Tin-Pot Dictators? Where is the leadership in Arizona? Those who remain silent are complicit -- a real American tragedy -- loss of freedom and rights, as Arizona has become a totalitarian state.

This is NOT about illegal immigration, nor Family values and certainly not a Christian agenda? The hypocrites inflaming the gullible and ignorant public are doing a disservice to society. They have fomented a fight and a war in the name of Christ? I wonder what Jesus would be saying about those destroying so many families, children and innocent people?

Arizona a State in decay
Arizona a State in decay

We'll be giving the max to Tom Horne. This Republican is ashamed to be part of a party that supported Andrew Thomas, Arpaio and Sen. Russell Pearce - condoning abuse of power and disregard for the Constitution and Bill of Rights. They play to an ignorant public. Why else would they cut Education budgets? Keep the public ignorant and take over the state, which they have done. None who is going to step up and restore the individual's rights in Arizona and get rid the the Tin-Pot Dictators? The "invisible network" of the Troika is determined to further erode the state.

Thomas (Lottstein, Sally Wells, Lisa Aubuchoun, Rachel Alexander, Paul Kittredge, Gerald Grant, Noel Levy, among others), Pearce (JD Hayworth), Arpaio, Hendershott, Romley = abuse of power. These elected and appointed officials are Bad for Arizona, Bad for Business, Bad for Tourism and most of all Bad for Families, children, education and a fair justice system.

Chutzpah or chump or chimp
Chutzpah or chump or chimp

Thomas needs to be removed from his post. The supervisors telling him to go to hell is polite. He has so blurred the lines between what is appropriate and what is ethical in order to get into bed with Sheriff Joe. Joe was his commrade in celebrity. More press to launch the next post. Joe wanted to be Governor and Thomas Attorney General.Unfortunately power crazed Barnett and Lisa Aubuchoun give bad counsel. Hendershott is the puppet master behind the puppets. Thomas's inability to take responsibility for his own behavior and thus his response the creation of an invisible network.We should all question his sanity. As a victim of Ms. Aubuchoun and Mr. Thomas's abuse of their current roles, nothing brings more joy then watching the fall of this egotistical, narcisistic bastard. I just sent the max to Tom Horne. Screw you Andrew Thomas and your bimbos.

Tom Hamlyn
Tom Hamlyn

The root cause of the current shenanigans within Maricopa County does not rest on the shoulders of Candy Thomas and Nickel Bag Joe. Wake up people; it is YOU who consistently vote for these clowns who have created this mess. Frankly, the politics within Maricopa County make those in Louisiana appear clean by comparison!

As you are obviously incapable of cleaning up the mess that YOU have created, the only hope for the citizens of Maricopa County is that a federal grand jury will return an indictment against Joe and Co. There being no honor amongst theves, it would be safe to assume that Joe will try to bring down Candy in an attempt to save himself.

Coz
Coz

Great job Sarah...

It's amazing this BS can go on anywhere in the first place let along go on for so long.

Chad Snow
Chad Snow

Andy Thomas has a problem with sending the cases to another County Attorney in Arizona. Problem is that of the 15 county attorneys, 10 are Democrats, leaving 4 Republicans other than Thomas. One of those is Sheila Polk, leaving 3 - all of whom purportedly can't stand Andrew Thomas.

His real argument should be that he has made such a joke of himself in the legal community in this state, he would have a hard time finding someone truly "independent". He needs to go 3,000 miles away to find someone who doesn't know what a buffoon he is.

Great story, Sarah.

FormerRepublican
FormerRepublican

To the Arizona State Bar:This poor pathetic excuse for a lawyer needs to be sanctioned by the State Bar.We understand that there are current complaints about him resting in your office. We also understand after reading these articles the extent of the abuses and unethical behavior that Andrew Thomas has participated in.

Andrew Thomas is a menace to the legal communityAndrew Thomas has lied and repeatedly lied under oath - changing his stories when he feels it fits the scenarioAndrew Thomas has misused RICO funds as well as failed to protect the public Andrew Thomas has selectively and maliciously prosecuted others while offering protection to Joe Arpaio - and the number of instances where he has "looked the other way" and "failed to act" are numerous and documented.Andrew Thomas has failed to act in the best interest of the office to which he was elected - and has thwarted justice time and time again.

Please act and act now.

Former Republican
Former Republican

...by the way, PNT, Thomas photo with the mustache is a more fitting portrayal of who he resembles. The above photo does show how seriously he takes the justice system and the Constitution.

Unfortunately, Arizona and Maricopa County's situation are no laughing matter -- as the state spirals into further decline.

Former Republican
Former Republican

Sarah, another great article in the ongoing corruption of the Maricopa County Attorney's office and those who have abused their power. None of them have any credibility and cannot be trusted. They have paralyzed the courts and the justice system. It's time for the Arizona Bar to take action and disbar Thomas and his enablers.

 
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