Friday, April 9, 2010 at 8:41 a.m.
Big changes were afoot at the Maricopa County Attorney's Office yesterday, and we're all over it via a memo sent to us by several sources.
By far the most stunning move:
The demotion of Lisa Aubuchon, the deputy county attorney who headed the office's charging bureau and was the point woman on several of her then-boss Andy Thomas' more infamous cases
Hell, Thomas' proverbial corpse (by which we mean his departure a few days ago as County Attorney) isn't even cold yet, and a replacement is going to be appointed in a week or so.
But acting County Attorney Phil MacDonnell (chief deputy under Thomas, blathering in the photo about the nexus of evil that surrounds us) signed off on the demotion, which was one of dozens of otherwise routine staffing changes announced in the memo.
What's most surprising is where Aubuchon has been reassigned -- the flippin' homicide unit, of all places -- which is where the office's most seasoned and successful prosecutors are supposed to toil.
Aubuchon is neither.
Most observers at the beleaguered office suspect that the yes-woman's new assignment will last about as long as it takes for the new County Attorney to report for duty.
Speaking of which, one of Aubuchon's offices (she has had two, one at the County Attorney's Office and one with her buddies over at Sheriff Joe Arpaio's offices in the Wells Fargo Building) has been right down the hall from her former boss, Thomas.
It's located inside a double-locked area on the eighth floor of the County Administration building in downtown Phoenix known to clever insiders as the "Insane Sanctum."
Only the office's big shots (and a few others) have had direct access to the sanctum.
Anyway, if Aubuchon does last in Homicide (we seriously doubt it -- see our recent prediction of her immediate future here
), citizens can rest assured that she will try to indict (in the words of a colleague) "a half-eaten ham sandwich" if she gets half a chance.
Fortunately for all, those who run the Homicide bureau don't often engage in down-and-dirty politics as Andy Thomas and his sycophants did as a matter of course (see our postmortem on the stupid and costly civil RICO lawsuit here
Murder prosecutors like to win convictions, not just to charge someone because the boss has got their backs,
We're not sure yet about the inside dynamic of yesterday's slap-in-the-face demotion of one of Andy Thomas' top aides.
To wit, why didn't MacDonnell and company just wait it out a few days, and leave the dirty work to Andy Thomas' successor?
That answer may soon reveal itself.