A Maricopa County detention officer made a choice last night to defy a judge, and now he faces jail time for contempt of court. The officer, Adam Stoddard, held a news conference Monday but did not apologize for taking papers from a defense attorney's file, as Superior Court Judge Gary Donahoe had ordered him to do.
Donahoe's ruling on the contempt issue requires Stoddard to either apologize or report to jail on Tuesday.
Maricopa County Sheriff's Office spokeswoman Lisa Allen says if Stoddard shows up to the 4th Avenue jail in Phoenix as required, the Sheriff's Office -- which operates the jail -- won't pull any tricks.
"If there's an order for confinement, he'll be confined," Allen says. Somehow, we get the feeling he'll be eating better than the other inmates. Maybe Arpaio will also outfit Stoddard's cell with a real mattress, like he did for Glen Campbell.
Tom Liddy, a deputy county attorney representing Stoddard, told reporters yesterday that Stoddard had written his non-apologetic statement and that he wasn't a stooge for Sheriff Joe Arpaio.
Still, the showdown appeared to put Stoddard in the position of a pawn in a greater battle between the populist Arpaio and Donahoe, who expressed his displeasure with Arpaio's law-enforcement priorities in an April e-mail to the Sheriff's Office.
The sheriff, perhaps counting on his supporters to put pressure on the judiciary, all but ordered Stoddard not to apologize. So it looks like it'll be jail for the young D.O.
Donahoe's ruling says:
IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that unless timely purged as set forth below, DO Stoddard shall on December 1, 2009, report to the Maricopa County Jail and be incarcerated therein until such time as proof is presented to this Court that he has purged the finding of contempt. Failure to comply will result in the issuance of a warrant for the arrest and incarceration of DO Stoddard.
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Stoddard has until midnight to turn himself in, court officials say.
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