John Leonardo, Arizona's New U.S. Attorney, is No Fan of Sheriff Arpaio
The new Arizona U.S. Attorney, John Leonardo, will inherit a number of cases when he takes office, likely sometime next week.
One of those cases will be the ongoing investigation into whether Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arapio abused the power of his office.
And Leonardo, judging from a past opinion, believes the answer to the question is "yes."
In 2010, the former Pima County Superior Court judge reviewed the facts in the attempted prosecutions of Maricopa Supervisors Mary Rose Wilcox and Don Stapley and decided that Arpaio and former County Attorney Andrew Thomas were railroading the officials.
He tossed the indictment against Mary Rose Wilcox and agreed with her lawyers that Thomas had severe conflicts of interest in the cases.
Thomas had forged a "...political alliance with the Maricopa County Sheriff who misused the power of his office to target members of the (Board of Supervisors) for criminal investigation," Leonardo wrote in his order.
Thomas, of course, was disbarred by the state Supreme Court after evidence during hearings proved that he had created an "unholy collaboration" with Arpaio to abuse their power while going after the Supervisors, lawyers and other county officials.
Leonardo still must have his confirmation signed by President Obama and be sworn in, but officials at the U.S. Attorney's Office in Phoenix expect to see him at work by next week.
If anyone is going to do something with this well-evidenced, but highly political case against Arpaio, it just might be Leonardo.
Get the This Week's Top Stories Newsletter
Every week we collect the latest news, music and arts stories — along with film and food reviews and the best things to do this week — so that you'll never miss Phoenix New Times' biggest stories.