Today, both men have every reason to pretend that the events of last December never really happened — and, even if they did, they weren't that awful.

Do not be fooled. These things did happen, they were that awful, and county taxpayers will be paying the price for a very long time.

Last year, drunk on the conspiracy theory that all county officials were corrupt and that county judges were shielding them, Arpaio and Thomas went nuts. They charged Supervisors Don Stapley and Mary Rose Wilcox with cases so weak that a wiser prosecutor is on the record saying that she saw no evidence of a crime. They executed a grossly overreaching search warrant on developer Conley Wolfswinkel, rifling through his offices for 11 hours as television cameras recorded the event.

They tarred everybody — Stapley, Wilcox, county administrators, and county judges — with an "ineptly drafted rant" (to quote Michael Manning), purporting to be a racketeering lawsuit.

Most famously, they charged Donahoe with bribery, even though, they admit, he never took anything of value from anyone.

Now that Arpaio and Thomas' cases have been revealed as complete fabrication, all their targets are suing. In the past two months, Stapley, Wilcox, Wolfswinkel, Donahoe, and two superior court judges have filed notices of claim against the county.

You only have to read these notices of claim to realize that the injuries are real. Stapley's spent $1 million on lawyers. Wilcox has seen business drop at her restaurant, she's had loan applications denied, and at least one major award she was set to receive for public service has been rescinded. Wolfswinkel has suffered serious business setbacks; his attorney, Grant Woods, notes that the law provides treble damages for every deal Wolfswinkel lost thanks to the sheriff's slander.

None of them has anything on Donahoe.

When Thomas and Arpaio first announced criminal charges against the county's presiding judge, we all imagined they must have something: some witness who'd seen a cash-stuffed envelope, some evidence of a deal being cut.

Wrong.

They had nothing but their own nutty delusions, their insistence that the only reason someone would rule against them is if he'd been paid off.

After Thomas left the County Attorney's Office, New Times' Ray Stern asked his longtime flack, Barnett Lotstein, whether Thomas had more evidence in his case against Donahoe.

Lotstein sniffed that Thomas doesn't try cases in the media. It was the most disingenuous thing that's ever come out of Lotstein's perpetually disingenuous mouth.

When it came to defendants like Stapley, Wilcox, and Donahoe, Thomas only tried cases in the media. The point of the exercise wasn't to win convictions in court — God knows Thomas never managed to do that. The point was the press conference: the suggestion that they had a case, that these people were corrupt.

They couldn't prove it, of course. But they could make us wonder.

Three years ago, Arpaio and Thomas held a press conference to announce that they were investigating Attorney General Terry Goddard, questioning whether Goddard went lightly on a criminal defendant in exchange for a payment to his office's civil division.

No one ever alleged that Goddard personally profited one dime from the decision. No one has ever shown that Goddard was even personally involved.

But they could plant the seed. They could make us wonder.

Last week, Thomas finally admitted in an interview with the Arizona Republic's Michael Kiefer what reasonable people have known for years: They never had anything on Goddard. "I did not think it would be fair and appropriate for a cloud to be hanging over him, when to my knowledge there is no evidence implicating him," Kiefer quoted Thomas as saying.

Thomas, for once, is right: It would not be "fair" and "appropriate" for a cloud to be hanging over Goddard. But it's kind of ironic that Thomas feels that way today considering just how hard he and Arpaio worked to seed the cloud in question.

Barnett Lotstein can claim that they don't try their cases in the media. Ha ha ha. In Goddard's case, Arpaio and Thomas didn't just hold a press conference to announce they were investigating him. They actually gave reporters a recording of the key piece of evidence.

Then they kept the investigation "open" for three years. Three! Arpaio issued at least two press releases accusing Goddard of stonewalling —and held a press conference repeating the claim. Meanwhile, the pair subpoenaed more than 12 million pages of records. Goddard's lawyers managed to get that reduced to 70,000 or so, but still.

And now Thomas tells us there was no evidence implicating Goddard? How fair and appropriate of him.

Clearly, the investigation into Goddard was never really about getting to the bottom of what happened at the Attorney General's Office. It was about intimidating Goddard.

Likewise, the prosecution of Donahoe was never about Donahoe's accepting a bribe. (Since, of course, he didn't.) It was about intimidating Donahoe. Hence the press conference, the Social Security number leak, the angry process server.

The goal wasn't to get at the truth. The goal was to torture the judge who dared oppose Thomas and Arpaio — and scare others into submission, too.

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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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