According to the sheriff, nobody tells his guys what to do except Sheriff Joe himself -- not even Maricopa County Superior Court judges.
This morning, a Maricopa County detention officer was found in contempt of court for taking documents out of defense attorney Joanne Cuccia's files as she was addressing the court at a sentencing hearing for her client, Antonio Lozano.
They even caught it on video -- check it out here.
The officer, Adam Stoddard, defended his actions by claiming that certain words on the papers were suspicious. Sheriff Joe himself went on the defensive by issuing a press release linking Cuccia with two local attorneys, who were recently arrested on suspicion of smuggling contraband into jails.
Cuccia told the judge that the sheriff's associating her with the lawyers suspected of smuggling contraband could damage her professional reputation.
In response, Superior Court Judge Gary Donahoe got creative He ordered that as punishment, Officer Adam Stoddard hold a press conference and apologize to Cuccia by November 30. If not, he is ordered to report to jail by December 1.
That's when Joe got all pissy over someone steppin' on his exalted toes.
"My officer was doing his job, and I will not stand by and allow him to be thrown to the wolves by the courts because they feel pressure from the media on this situation," Arpaio says in a press release. "I decide who holds press conferences and when they are held regarding this Sheriff's Office."
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Joe pawned off any media inquiries on the County Attorney's Office -- it has yet to return our phone calls.
A few things can happen at this point:
Option A) Officer Stoddard can hold a press conference, Joe can swallow his pride, and we all move on. B) Officer Stoddard can keep the boss happy, defy the court order, and report to jail on December 1. C) The judge can bend over for the sheriff and retract the order. D) Stoddard can hold a press conference, and Joe can put out a press release saying the press conference was his idea.
We're goin' with D.