Andrew Thomas: a (Not So) Fond Look Back at a Demagogue in the Making

Back in August 2005, with Andrew Peyton Thomas then on the cusp of election as Maricopa County Attorney, we profiled him in a not-so-kind piece entitled "Dangerous Mind."

The tag beneath the headline read, "Imagine Joe Arpaio as a dewy intellectual, and you've got County Attorney wanna-be Andy Thomas."

"In his cruel and unusual 1994 book Crime and the Sacking of America: The Roots of Chaos, Maricopa County Attorney hopeful Andrew Peyton Thomas wrote this:

"By publicly incarcerating drug dealers and other criminals, displaying them before their neighbors in large, open-air holding pens with their names and crimes prominently displayed, a modified stockade program could provide specific deterrence at marginal cost and general deterrence for the community."

In light of what was just announced at the Arizona Supreme Court (see Ray Stern's blogs for the big disbarment and suspension news), the stockades sound like a plan to us, Andy.

Just this one time, really. Then we'll demand that they be torn down--well, on second thought.

Hell, they could have stuck you and your sycophants, Lisa Aubuchon and Rachel Alexander, on the stage at aptly named Patriots Square Park across the street from the county courthouse, except that it was razed for retail and now is CityScape.

For the record, we are aware that you folks haven't been charged with anything criminal yet, and we're not holding our collective breath.

One of our favorite quotes in our ancient story came from Barnett Lotstein, the shameless shill for Thomas and for previous County Attorney Rick Romley before that.

"Andy has a clear understanding of the big issues in the criminal-justice system," Lotstein told us, apparently with a straight face. "Obviously, he has some definite views, but he listens to opposing points of view, and he can change his mind. He's really a moderate person."

Sure, in the "moderate" manner of, say, the late Serbian monster Slobodan Milosevic.

We also fondly recall a prescient quote from Mike Bailey, then a prosecutor at the Maricopa County Attorney's Office who made a late, ill-fated run against Thomas in the 2004 Republican primary. (Bailey, who now is in private practice, would have made a fine County Attorney, as would have another Thomas opponent, Andrew Pacheco.)

"Being `smart' and being a published writer does not make you qualified to be the Maricopa County Attorney," murder prosecutor Bailey told us in an interview at our dining room table. "And being so very sure of your points of view, no matter how far from reality they may be, does not make you an intellectually honest person.

"I do not think that Andrew Thomas should be in any position of power, period."

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Paul Rubin
Contact: Paul Rubin