Don Stapley Sues Maricopa County, Sheriff Joe Arpaio, and County Attorney Andrew Thomas
Maricopa County Supervisor Don Stapley filed a precursor to a lawsuit today against the county and various elected officials -- including himself -- for alleged malicious prosecution and other grievances.
He wants $5 million for his troubles.
The notice of claim was filed with the Board of Supervisors, of which he is chairman, Sheriff Joe Arpaio, Chief Deputy David Hendershott, and County Attorney Andrew Thomas, and follows recent legal defeats for the lawmen in their fight for political domination.
Stapley, whose own ethics can certainly be questioned, naturally paints himself as the victim of horrendous wrongs. The claim tells how Stapley and his family, still upbeat after the Supervisor's first criminal case got dismissed, saw squad cars outside their home three days later.
(For more details on the Stapley saga, read our November 26, 2009 article, Serving Up Stapley).
The second criminal case against Stapley, which resulted in his unorthodox arrest by the out-of-control Sheriff's Office, was dismissed after a Pima County judge -- in the criminal case against Supervisor Mary Rose Wilcox -- ruled that Thomas and Arpaio had abused their power and had major conflicts of interest.
The natural question here is, how can Stapley sue himself?
We asked the county's spokeswoman, Cari Gerchick, who couldn't really provide an answer.
"This is unprecedented," she said. "We'll have to figure out a process for that. We have a risk management department -- they'll obviously have to figure out a way to maintain neutrality."
"The fact that Mr. Stapley is chairman of the board is obviously significant," she added. "We'll work through it to make sure everything is handled neutrally, to make sure there's no favoritism."
We'll be watching this process like a hawk.
Scroll down for the PDF of the notice of claim:
Get the Weekly Newsletter
Our weekly feature stories, movie reviews, calendar picks and more - minus the newsprint and sent directly to your inbox.