Joe Arpaio, Andrew Thomas and the Hunt for Judge Gary Donahoe

There are 1,084 process servers licensed in Arizona, and only one of them has ever been prosecuted for threatening the county's longtime presiding criminal court judge with bodily harm.

Yet in December, when Sheriff Joe Arpaio and Maricopa County Attorney Andrew Thomas — angered by a series of adverse rulings — decided to take on Judge Gary Donahoe, it apparently wasn't enough to file a racketeering lawsuit against him, alleging that he was part of a criminal enterprise.

It wasn't enough, either, to file three felony charges against Donahoe, despite a complete lack of evidence.

And to deliver the legal papers to Donahoe, they couldn't simply use sheriff's deputies. They had to hire Jack Cox — surely the only licensed process server in the entire country who once told his probation officer that his life's goal was to destroy Donahoe.

Old-timers may remember Cox as the owner of the Great Alaskan Bush Company, a notorious Grand Avenue nudie bar. They may remember that Cox was charged with possessing narcotics — newspaper accounts at the time say that Cox tasked the bar's employees with purchasing coke on his behalf. They may also recall a cover story that my colleague Paul Rubin wrote in 1997, which detailed how a probate court-appointed fiduciary was arrested for stealing tens of thousands of dollars from her clients, including Jack Cox's mother.

But they probably don't know that, a decade before he became a process server, Cox was charged with five misdemeanors — for threatening violence against Donahoe.

At that time, Donahoe was the probate court commissioner in charge of Cox's case, and despite all evidence to the contrary, Cox became convinced that Donahoe was in cahoots with the fiduciary and looting his mother's estate.

In March 1997, Cox left a flurry of nasty messages on Donahoe's answering machine. The Sheriff's Office concluded that at least four of them used "obscene, loud, or profane language" and another threatened violence.

Even after being charged in connection with the phone calls, Cox was defiant. He told his probation officer that Donahoe was a "corrupt, evil slime" and "a disgrace to the judicial system." He announced that his life's goal was to "acquire great wealth and buy a judge to have Gary Donahoe declared insane and incompetent" and to "take all of his dignity, assets, and freedom."

Cox's probation officer concluded, "He has little or no remorse for his actions and virtually no respect for the court system."

Donahoe declined to ask the judge on the case for jail time after Cox pleaded guilty to one of the counts — but he did note, for the record, that Cox was "delusional." You think?

But times change. Being delusional and having no respect for the court system might've netted you a misdemeanor charge in 1997. Last winter, it was far more likely to put you in cahoots with the county attorney.

Donahoe's lawyer, Michael Manning, tells me that Donahoe was walking into the courthouse December 2 when he brushed past the man who'd threatened him.

"I just served you with a lawsuit," Jack Cox told him.

Cox says all this is one giant coincidence. The sheriff surely had no idea who he was or his history with Donahoe, he says. (Anyway, he insists, he has no hard feelings toward Donahoe; he now respects the court and understands that Donahoe was duped by the stealing fiduciary just as badly as he was.)

Finally, Cox notes that his company was hired — not Cox specifically.

But the company is registered in Cox's name. And, interestingly, Cox won't say who hired him or where he was given the papers.

"You might want to talk to them about them," he says of Arpaio and Thomas. (A sheriff's spokeswoman did not respond to requests for comment.)

To Michael Manning, Cox's presence cannot be a coincidence. And neither, he says, was the sheriff's decision to make Donahoe's personal information public, right down to his Social Security number.

When New Times published Sheriff Arpaio's home address online, Arpaio demanded that the newspaper be prosecuted for causing a threat to his security — and Thomas appointed a bulldog special prosecutor to do just that.

But when Arpaio and Thomas targeted Donahoe last December, "security" didn't even merit lip service. Never mind that Donahoe has sent hundreds, if not thousands, of violent criminals to prison during his decade on the bench. When Arpaio and Thomas charged Donahoe with three felonies for essentially ruling against them in court, they gleefully splashed his home address all over their Web sites — and, for would-be ID thieves, they helpfully included his Social Security number, too.

It's wildly hypocritical, over-the-top malicious — and classic Arpaio and Thomas.

"These people," Manning says, "miss no way to intimidate."


It's been six months since Andrew Thomas filed bogus criminal charges against Donahoe.

Today, things are fairly quiet in Maricopa County. Thomas is running for Arizona attorney general — and is eager to talk about illegal immigration, not his disastrous six years as county attorney. Meanwhile, now that he no longer has a friend in the County Attorney's Office, Sheriff Arpaio is playing defense, trying desperately to stop the Board of Supervisors from accessing his office's financial records.

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36 comments
XSoldier
XSoldier

If Candy Ass Thomas thinks for one second that he was justified in bringing all these charges, I think his association with the Flaccid Fool is MUCH deeper than any of us imagined.

I read the charges that the crybaby brought against the judge. Entertaining to say the least. I seriously doubt Crybaby Candy graduated from Harvard Law if he cannot make a case.

I read in the June 5 edition of The Arizona Republic that the MCSO shurf and Crybaby Candy think that all the people suing (there are 7 currently) are simply looking for paydays.

Barnett Lotstein thinks that their "friends in high places" are going to pay the aggrieved parties. No Mr. Lotstein, the taxpayers are footing the bill for this stinky pile of BS.

The MCSO shurf actually tainted the Stapley/Wilcox/Donahoe "cases" by claiming that THEY were keeping the "investigations" open! Just goes to show you how we have a mentally ill old man heading the Sheriff's Office

I can't wait to see Crybaby at his perp-walk/indictment/trial. Same with the Flaccid Fool & Co.

Sarah, great investigative rep
Sarah, great investigative rep

What is done to the people in Maricopa County by law enforcement and the MCAO is hostile. Thanks for reporting what's happening to the people who have to foot the bill for all this as well as have their lives destroyed in the process.

Fenske not a sound-byte
Fenske not a sound-byte

The power of great investigative reporting is the story never ends and only gets bigger, unlike the major media sound-bytes the public is fed with. Your detractors win with sound bytes which mislead the people and keep them uninformed.

Abuse of power rings loud and
Abuse of power rings loud and

Sarah, The truth speaks out in your writing. Unfortunately, for your detractors, the truth reads loud and strong. You can't make up this stuff. Maricopa County is run as a one-sided law enforcement abuse of power against the people. Would you call that biased?

Brandi
Brandi

Wow Sarah,you sure made it know what side of the aisle you lean to.Kind of bias.Guess your opinion should be viewed as hostile.Can't you just report the news?We can then make our own decisions at election time.

Michael Yarnell
Michael Yarnell

Interested voters should remember that athough Arizona Primary elections are by recognized party (Republican - Democrate - etc.], any person registered as 'independant" or "no party affiliation" may reguest, and will receive, a primary election ballot of the party of their choice, including Republican. Registration may be changed on line. Early ballots may be requested on line.

chad dixon
chad dixon

Joe Arpaio and Andrew Thomas are stupid crooks. Point blank, without any doubt, worthless crooks.

In a few years hopefully the senior citizens supporting these two idiots will die off. Maybe then we can have justice here in Arizona.

thomas and arpaio=blight on th
thomas and arpaio=blight on th

Thomas and Arpaio have trashed the justice system in Maricopa County, illegals or no-illegals. They are using "illegals" to redirect people away from the corruption they have perpetrated upon the people, the community, the county, the state and what America stands for. For the zero tolerance they expect of the people, they have immunity and abuse their power endlessly. Thomas wants to stomp out criminals, all he needs to do is look in the mirror and go after it. It's odd how narcissists fail to see themselves.

Sound bytes designed to deceiv
Sound bytes designed to deceiv

Mike IH - You hit the nail on the head. When will people wake up and study the facts rather than jump on sound bytes?

Mike IH
Mike IH

It's funny, Thomas and Arpaio will end up costing this county more than the "illegals" will.

joe
joe

Andrew Thomas and Joseph Arpaio need to be prosecuted for their actions. They have completely disregarded and stomped on our justice system. We must not allow criminal minds to run our justice system.

Joe
Joe

Andrew Thomas and Joseph Arpaio need to be prosecuted for their actions. They have completely disregarded and stomped on our justice system. We must now allow criminal minds to run our justice system.

David Speranza
David Speranza

Sheriff Arpaio is known and respected through out the United States, myself included, as a though law enforcer. If he likes and respects Mr Thomas he will get my vote. As for giving the address and ssn of the judge I say "what goes around comes around". I only wish the press ( i will refrain from name calling"liberal") would get onboard and get some backbone. We need to stem the illeagl aliens and violent crimes and sheriff Joe's policies should be adopted by the press and all the other law agencys in state and out.

clos
clos

These clown break laws and abuse their power in order to attack others that see right through them and those that stand in their way. They abuse the legal system to create conflicts of interest knowing that someone with conflict of interest can't investigate/prosecute them or rule against them because of the premeditated false conflict of interest. Excellent strategy but not an ethical/moral/legal/American strategy. This is strategy that the mob, the cartels, 3rd world countries and the low lifes in power would implement. Arpaio and Thomas are just like dicKtators NORIEGA, CHAVEZ, HITLER, SADDAM HUSSEIN and CASTRO. Thomas and Arpaio sure behave like modern communist because that is what they are COMMUNIST.

Steve Tracy
Steve Tracy

I was always told that not even judges were above the law. Judge Donahoe shows us that not even he is below the law... according to Joe. A fat old racist cop and his red-headed step child side kick couldn't drag the judicial system any lower. Two of Nature's truly great mistakes. The only two people these morons haven't tried to sue is each other. The Joe and Andy Show would have been more at home in the Senate of the Roman Empire, feeding the Christians to the lions. A six pack of "Brew 102", a quart of cheap whiskey and some home-grown weed. Joe and Andy's parents remembered everything for their beach parties way back when; everthing but the condoms... Damn it !!!

DecideForYourself
DecideForYourself

I have read the comments here about the Debate last night. Why take someone elses word for it, watch the entire for yourself on youtube. Search for "Debate Tom Horne". I posted the entire debate broken up by question. So watch the whole thing or choose the questions that most interest you and make up your own minds. Stay informed Phoenix.

Disastrous is kind
Disastrous is kind

What Thomas did during his 6 years in office will take the next 10 years to undo. We MUST STOP HIM NOW.He honestly believes that his abuse of power was justified and has stated so every time he speaks in an open forum. Thomas is reckless, self-serving and dangerous. He has refused to debate Tom Horne further. He is unstable and cannot mention his own achievements with out invoking the Sheriff Joe. Lawyers, judges, all those who have adversely effected by Thomas vote this moron out. State Bar if ever there was time to step to the plate this would be that time.

Alison Hicks
Alison Hicks

Great Article and read the entire 12 page legal document by Michael Manning. Very sad and corrupt continuous control and power Sheriff Joe Arpaio & Andrew Thomas have in 2nd largest County in the United States(Maricopa County). Exposing/Exploiting them is necessary to stop further wrongful inhumane tactics which leads severe damages and even DEATH. Let's stand up for what is right and get rid of Arpaio & Thomas once and for all.

http://bit.ly/aH87Gc Link to Michael Mannings Video

http://bit.ly/c8teKz Photos of Tent City 3rd World-Like War Jails Inhumane Sheriff Joe Arpaio's Corruption

Alison Hicksupdated website with link to Michael Mannings Videowww.backspinmymovie.com

Incarceration or Education
Incarceration or Education

Andrew Thomas as trashed the justice system and has conveniently used illegal immigration to divert peoples' attention away from his abuse of power that will cost taxpayers wasted millions for years. Money that could be spent on education instead of incarceration. Thomas having been former chief legal counsel for Arizona Department of Corrections raises questions about his true motives.

Andrew Thomas=Incarceration BILLION dollar budget and growing

Thomas Horne=Education and a better future for Arizona

At The Debate
At The Debate

Tonight Andrew Thomas claimed he was justified in his charges against Judge Donahoe that because the case was pending that he could not speak about it. He said his name and Sheriff Joe's more than 50 times and everytime Tom Horne spoke Thomas supporters yelled out liberal and made snide remarks. Thomas again reitereated that Rick Romley is destroying all his hard work. He said he was justified in suing Stapley and Wilcox. Apparently he cannot talk about this except when he wants to ...he is simply pathelogical. He also said that the charges against Goddard have been dropped...as a political ploy the Sheriff and Thomas tainted Terry Goddard. Goddard has been a chickenshit but the charges against Goddard are a reaccurring behavior pattern and when is the state bar going to stop the trauma. The only thing good Thomas said was he would support Horne if he wins the primary. Hopefully we will get to see if Thomas is a man of his word. Thomas is scary and we the voters must end his career. Thomas believes that these actions against the supervisors and the judges were justified and the cases had merit and he has appealed the decision of judges that have disagreed with him. Thomas running the States legal office should terrify the legal community and ordinary citizens who have been damaged by MR.Thomas. Thomas is a pathetic liar who needs to be stopped. He claimed to be the main author of SB1070 and he said he wrote all the illegal immigration laws in this state. He trashed the Az Republic,Romley the judges and the supervisors and of course his opponent Tom Horne. Horne made the valid point that if you threaten the judiciary and charge them when they disagree with you, that we as ordinary citizens will live in fear,as the judges will not be able to be the independent body they are supposed to be. Goddard and Donahoe can attest to this. Thomas has crippled the system. The pricetag is simply unaffordable.

azjudyann
azjudyann

I, too, want to see the judge win, BUT remember that if he wins, that money is going to come out of OUR taxes. Joe will just go toddling along spewing his venom, encouraging neo-Nazis and other haters to vote for him, while we taxpayers are left once again to mop up after him with our hard-earned money. This man needs to get out of office NOW.

ByteRider
ByteRider

Sarah,

Great story!

Now, if we can just get YOU to cover the 1070 law and not the moronic, probably-illegal-themselves writing staff the editor has drudged up from the bottom of some koolaid jug.

Mark Lane
Mark Lane

Here's how I think the claims will play out. The BOS will deny the notice of claim and the cases will be filed in court. Once in court, then all records in regards to the "investigation of coruption" will have to be requested. Then it will be up to MCSO and MCAO to show proof. No proof, I bet summary judgement to those filing suit. The BOS has the thought to be deleted emails, and with the flood of claims, I am going to bet there is something in those emails that implicate Arpiao, Hendershot, Thomas and Abuchan is some form or another.

Show Me The Money
Show Me The Money

The RICO funds... the political contributions and the business that followed.Let's hope ot is a foot race between the Department of Justice and the State Bar actually ahs a winner in the next few weeks. Either way Arizona will win when Thomas goes to jail or can not practice law.Tom Horne has actually won cases at the Federal Supreme Court to benefit the State of Arizona. Debate tonight between Horne and Thomas. As one of the ordinary people impacted by the reign of terror...bring it Mr. Thomas because the supervisors will there watching and waiting for you to open your mouth and catch you in more lies!

leonard clark
leonard clark

Excellent job Mr. Lemmons and excellent job Phoenix New Times! Your continued reporting on subjects that other Main Stream Media won't touch give hope that not all good journalism is dead in the United States of America.Leonard ClarkThe Damn Liberal

Abuse of Power and tunnel visi
Abuse of Power and tunnel visi

Loyalty to One's Convictions: The Prosecutor and Tunnel Vision

Susan A. Bandes DePaul University - College of Law

Howard Law Journal, Vol. 49, No. 2, 2006

Abstract: This essay, written as part of a symposium on loyalty, examines the dynamics leading to the disturbing phenomenon of prosecutorial tunnel vision. Specifically, it asks why prosecutors become loyal to a particular version of events - the guilt of a particular suspect - even when that version of events has been discredited. The essay begins with an examination of the concept of loyalty and the ambiguities inherent in that concept. It next discusses the relevance of these ambiguities to the divided loyalties of the prosecutor within the complex group dynamics of the prosecutor's office. It then considers the prosecutor's divided loyalties as one aspect of the larger issue of divided loyalties within the adversary system. Finally, it draws on psychological insights, particularly from the field of cognitive neuroscience, to place these conflicts in the broader context of loyalty to one's beliefs. It concludes by suggesting that reforms are more likely to succeed when they recognize and attempt to ameliorate our ingrained and tenacious loyalty to pre-existing beliefs.

Keywords: Criminal law, psychology, prosecutors, wrongful conviction

Reginald Van Gleason
Reginald Van Gleason

These officials may deserve money, but why do the taxpayers of Maricopa County have to pay? Get it directly and personally from Arpaio and Thomas. Lien their houses, take their personal cars. Horne is a occasional liar, but if Thomas gets one vote in the Republican primary, that is obscene.

Reading between the lines
Reading between the lines

Sarah, Outstanding investigative reporting. You really put the jigsaw pieces all together. You show great courage taking on these tin pot dictators. How anyone can even think Thomas is worthy of Attorney General is incredible, after the damage he and arpaio and their enablers have done to those in Maricopa County.

Tommy Collins
Tommy Collins

Sarah, the Cox twist is intriguing, to say the least. Likely much more than a mere coincidence. I wonder if any of you fine folks have done any research on the J.P. who signed all the search and arrest warrants? If memory serves me correctly I believe the guy is a former cop without a law degree. Perhaps without any degree or formal education to speak of. Orr, I think is his name. I wonder if the state or federal grand jury has been shown a connection between MCSO and Orr? I wonder if one of the RICO funded cars has been assigned to him as a take home car? What kind of funding has he received from Jail Enhancement Funds?

vguerrero
vguerrero

i have a question how do get a contact one of your writers to see if my ctuation is news worthy for your paper.

AZ Reign of Terror-no end in s
AZ Reign of Terror-no end in s

Lives shattered and taxpayers left holding the bag to pay millions upon millions for the damage done in the last six years in Maricopa County under the thomas/arpaio reign of terror on the justice system and their political enemies.

No one is writing about the thousands of ordinary people whose lives have been destroyed and impacted forever, that's the real hidden tragedy. They are warehoused in Arizona's Abu Ghraib prisons silenced for decades under mandatory minimum sentencing, while the MCSO and MCAO "move-on" and up to even more power and the nations tax dollars. A warning to those in other states --- it's coming your way!

 
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