Feedback from the Issue of Thursday, November 6, 2008
Incompetence galore in Maricopa County: Wow! Great article! You got it straight ("Nursing Injustice," Stephen Lemons, October 30). The police officer, the defense attorney, the judge, and the County Attorney's Office should all take a lesson from you. What a load of incompetence in Maricopa County.
Lee Little, Phoenix
Free Courtney now: This story is outrageous! Ultimate injustice! My advice to all the good old boys in Arizona would be to get Courtney Bisbee out of jail with a huge apology as soon as possible before this explodes! Three words: book, Oprah, movie!
Ashley Newman, Grass Valley
Come on, Judge, it's up to you: Courtney, you will be vindicated. We know you are innocent. You will get to tell the rest of the story. We all know who is behind these fabrications. You will prevail.
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We know you have been set up, made an example of. All those who know the truth will not be silenced. This was a custody/divorce case gone terribly wrong. One just needs to follow the money.
You have been buried alive in plain view. We will work to free you and to restore you to your family. You remain in our hearts and prayers.
Judge Granville, do the right thing and grant this woman an opportunity to present the facts. Andrew Thomas' legacy is that he has hurt many innocent people in Maricopa County for the numbers. This case should have been investigated a long time ago.
Kathleen Winn, Mesa
Andrew Thomas is guilty as sin: Thank you for all the hard work on the excellent article on the Courtney Bisbee case! This report, as well as other investigative reporting provided by your newspaper, is needed if we are to maintain our democracy in the U.S. Our justice system is corrupt; and prosecutors like Andrew Thomas are guilty as sin for adding to the corruption!
Roma Thomas, Sun City West
What a waste of our money: My husband Jim and I would like to know how much money has been wasted by the incarceration of this innocent woman for three years?
We feel sorry for this family, but as taxpayers, this is the kind of waste of dollars that needs to be eliminated. It looks like County Attorney Thomas could have avoided this waste of taxpayer dollars by just doing his job.
We work hard for our money, and it is our dollars that he has wasted.
Sarah Carter, via the Internet
Call now: It's shocking that this can happen to a citizen in the U.S. I urge everyone to [contact] the County Attorney's Office to correct this situation by phone (602-506-3411) or fax (602-506-8102). Reach out to Governor Janet Napolitano by fax (602-542-381). Let her know this is not acceptable in the state of Arizona.
Robbie Hopf, via the Internet
Danger to us all: Michael Lacey's article on the "unholy union" of Sheriff Joe Arpaio and County Attorney Andrew Thomas was right on the money (("Basta," October 30). These two enable each other in the worst ways. Somehow, some way, they must be stopped, or we're all doomed!
What you say is true: These guys aren't just perilous to Mexicans, they're perilous to anybody perceived as disagreeing with them, much less being an enemy. I wouldn't be surprised to see one them trump up some charge on anybody in the future, even New Times.
As you note, they've tried it before. Many times. That they didn't succeed against New Times last year was one of the few times I've seen them not get away with tyranny.
Becky Brown, Phoenix
Continued exposure can lead to change: Most Thursdays, on my break at work, I sit down and peruse New Times. Generally, I will read the cover story and check out what bands are coming to town. To be honest, I find the greater percentage of the "journalism" in this rag to be poor, to the point of abhorrence. But not all of it.
Once in a while, I will read something that is well written and intelligent. I commend you for your continuing work in regard to Arpaio and Thomas. We live in a backward state, and it's only through continued exposure to the truth that we can see any hope of change.
Sadly, I think anyone who supports Arpaio would simply scoff at the covers of New Times depicting [him], but it's a good thing that you keep trying instead of giving up and realizing that you love Big Brother.
Jeff Owens, Phoenix
They know nothing: Great job, Mike Lacey! Thanks for standing up for honesty, integrity, and morality — things Thomas and Arpaio know nothing about.
Jim Cozzolino, Peoria
Where's the MCSO audit?: I cannot fathom why there has never been an audit of the Sheriff's Office. Any business worth anything audits its operations at least yearly. Why has the Sheriff's Office avoided this type of procedure?
I believe that Sheriff Arpaio and his friend Andrew Thomas are the most dangerous people to our freedoms in the country. Something must be done to stop these people.
Jim Helmick, Cave Creek
You can't stop Joe: Surely, you know that an intoxicated illegal alien hitting Phoenix police Officer Shane Figueroa's vehicle and causing his death personifies to the public what illegals do that drives law enforcement crazy.
I lived on the west side for 20 years in an area that was 90 percent Mexican, and I witnessed people being shot in gang wars, fighting for their turf. I witnessed a whole lot of public intoxication. I knew Mexicans who had been deported and, I don't know how many times, walked back. A gang used to carry its machine guns up the stairs next to my apartment and was involved in a shooting at a party; they shot five people, and two of them died. Police stopped the leader, and he shot himself.
Illegals were always involved in some kind of shooting because it was so hard for law enforcement to track them down when they could run back and forth to Mexico, or to California, and come back without any fear when the furor died down.
Law enforcement, especially with how hard the bad economy has hit Arizona, is really going to have it tough enforcing tougher immigration policies. Are you going to allow yourself to be driven completely insane by your anger at Sheriff Joe Arpaio? The best way you are going to beat Arpaio is to return to good journalism, writing on other subjects besides this man. You have exhausted this subject. You can't stop him.
Things happen in jails. But we should be able to make our highways safer from all the violations by illegals of the traffic laws resulting in death and mayhem. Illegals are poor, bound to drive cars and get drunk, even if they have no registration, license, or anything else. And one bad accident later, they may or may not be taken off the streets.
Gerry King Hitt, Phoenix
Mexicans and the tsunami? A ridiculous analogy: Of one thing we can be certain: Joe Arpaio and Andrew Thomas are gi-normous a-holes. But we can also be certain that the one thing they actually get right is their tough stance on immigration.
The blight of these illegal immigrants is horrific and undeniable. They severely tax the integrity of our economy and community. Fuck them. Arpaio is doing the right thing in this case.
The big picture is that if word spreads (and it will) that Phoenix is a hostile environment for illegals — and it in any way stems the tide of Mexicans flooding our country like the '04 tsunami flooded Phuket — then all the efforts and money spent funding them were worth it.
Andy, are you reading this letter?: It's a fact of life that every prosecutor who depends upon election or popular support for office needs that bottom-line "conviction rate" to reflect positively upon their performance ("A Real Dog of a Case," Sarah Fenske, October 16). And the Rules of Professional Conduct promulgated by the Arizona Supreme Court don't address this issue. Hence, all prosecutors are obsessed with maintaining an impressive rate for personal and political reasons.
With respect to pursuing conviction, however, the Supreme Court recognizes the destructive potential of prosecution and the danger presented by the overzealous exercise of that power.
Therefore, the rules impose special responsibilities on the public prosecutor. Ethical Rule 3.8(a) specifically prohibits prosecutors from pursuing a charge that's not supported by probable cause. This is premised on the concept that a prosecutor isn't just another advocate but a minister of justice and the trial is a search for the truth, not a means of punishment in and of itself.
How far a prosecutor must go to refrain from punishment prosecution is apparently a matter of opinion in the jurisdiction. However, it's well settled that ethical considerations prohibit criminal prosecution where there's "no reasonable likelihood of conviction," keeping in mind the high burden of proof required.
The defense bar and the bench routinely see under-investigated and over-charged cases brought to trial. However, it's clearly professional misconduct and an abuse of office to use public resources to destroy or even punish a party through the costly trail process. The law must be practiced honorably.
Michael L. Scanlan, Phoenix
Jack Rose scared the hell out of me: I can't believe this article about Jack Rose ("Fool Me Twice," Sarah Fenske, October 9). I met with him in Buckeye after getting a handful of calls from him. He wanted me to invest in several of his companies, all the while telling me about how he represents all the wealthy farmer/land owners of the Buckeye/Goodyear [area].
This man was so arrogant and smug that he scared the hell out of me. I feel sorry for the poor Wood family and everyone else whom he talked into entrusting their wealth to him. He is bad news. Remember what your parents told you: If it sounds too good to be true, it is.
A.J. Rierson, Buckeye
Watch out for hucksters like Jack: Considering this is Arizona, it's not that amazing that Jack Rose could have his much-ballyhooed problem with the Arizona Corporation Commission and then start over in the West Valley. People around here have a short attention span, especially when it comes to a smooth talker like Jack.
I truly hope that somebody stops him now. What has happened to the Wood family is so sad. They trusted the man, and then (from what you have written) he screwed them over. I hope he isn't allowed to pick up and move to another area and start preying on somebody new.
Betsy Madrid, Phoenix
Favoritism is how we roll here: When I read Sarah Fenske's column about Doug Lingner, I was outraged (("Home Boy," September 25).
I guess it should amaze me that the powers that be pick the inexperienced but well-connected Lingner over a real professional, but it really doesn't in this county.
There's so much favoritism around here that another example of it hardly gets on anybody's radar screen — especially concerning an agency that nobody in power cares about because it services poor people.
Mary Schneider, Phoenix
Lingner knows whose bell to ring: Where does Sarah Fenske get off claiming Doug Lingner is "totally unqualified" for the public housing job? How does she know who's qualified and who's not?
Doug was a Phoenix city councilman who was a strong advocate for affordable housing. Who else would be better for the job than somebody who's politically connected? When things go wrong at the Housing Authority, he will know whose bell to ring.
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