Sounds like forgery is rampant in Tempe. Will Bill Montgomery respond?
Are all truly equal before the law? When it comes to forgery in Maricopa County, the answer is a decided, "Hell, no."
Yesterday, the Tempe Police Department issued statistics showing that last year they had confiscated "1,761 fictitiously used identifications" presented by underage individuals attempting to imbibe alcohol. That's down from 2,138 seized IDs in 2011.
See also: -Bill Montgomery Is No Immigration Moderate -Bill Montgomery Fails to Convict an Innocent Man Tempe PD spokesman Mike Pooley explained that that Tempe police work with the city's clubs to help bouncers and other staff to spot the false identification.
"Just about every one of those IDs...were the ones taken by bar staff, not so much by [the Tempe] PD," he told me.
Still, it's an eyebrow-raising statistic, especially considering that Tempe PD issued 224 citations in 2012 for misdemeanors related to presenting fake ID or someone else's ID to get booze. That's a mere 12.7 percent of IDs seized.
It's also eyebrow-raising because, at least hypothetically, the stacks of fake IDs the Tempe PD showed off to Channel 12 in the report above could equal 1,761 felonies, if the authorities wanted to pursue them as such.
Arizona law, specifically ARS 13-2002 states that, "a person commits forgery if, with intent to defraud, the person: 1. Falsely makes, completes or alters a written instrument; or 2. Knowingly possesses a forged instrument; or 3. Offers or presents, whether accepted or not, a forged instrument or one that contains false information."
So how is a college freshman attempting to gain access to a club to drink beer with a fake ID any different than an undocumented immigrant using a false ID or Social Security Number to obtain employment?
One party just wants to get ripped, while another party wants to earn enough money to feed his or her family. The latter sounds far nobler to me.
When I asked Maricopa County Attorney Bill Montgomery about this issue for my recent cover story, "Same as the Old Boss," he agreed that a college kid using a fake ID to purchase liquor could be prosecuted for a felony.
So why doesn't he do this? He claims it's because no law enforcement agency submits those cases to him.
I find this very disingenuous. Montgomery works with law enforcement agencies all of the time regarding their investigations. Hand in glove. These agencies are his law enforcement partners.
Given that forgery is apparently rampant in Tempe, why wouldn't Montgomery want to crack down on it? Montgomery regularly hits undocumented immigrants with class four felonies for using false IDs to obtain employment.
So why are the underage college kids from ASU (mostly non-Hispanic whites, according to ASU's own stats) treated differently than the undocumented workers (mostly Latinos)?
The evidence I presented in my cover story proves that the undocumented workers are being treated differently because the MCAO wants to hold these people nonbondable under Prop 100 as a means of coercing a plea to a felony charge that will in turn make them deportable.
Montgomery's office denies this, of course. But this policy is a holdover from the administration of his disbarred predecessor Andy Thomas, who was bald-faced in his anti-immigrant intent.
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Montgomery's spokesperson Jerry Cobb argues that it would be difficult to obtain a conviction of the college kid under the forgery statute, and that two other forgery-related statutes on the books have exceptions specifically for those using fake IDs to score booze.
That is true, but ARS 13-2002 has no such exception, and undocumented workers are hit with charges under ARS 13-2002 as well as charges under the other statutes. .
For those who just want undocumented folks kicked out of the country and don't care how it is achieved, I say, thanks, you're making my case for me.
See, Montgomery contends he is only battling ID theft and fraud, not illegal immigration. If he's sincere, perhaps he should give the Tempe PD a call, and look into those 1,761 forgery cases.