The AG would then have to declare a conflict of interest and farm the case out to another prosecutor.
The MCAO argued that the obvious conflict and a new statute allowed Bennett to go directly to Monty. But Rea wasn't buying.
"Going through the seemingly formalized dance of the Secretary referring the matter to the Attorney General and the Attorney General recusing himself and the matter going to another agency is not senseless or meaningless," wrote Rea.
"The fact that observance of the express statutory procedure would require a few extra steps in these circumstances does not justify simply abandoning it...Ignoring a clear statute for the sake of expediency means that we are no longer under a rule of law but the rule of some official or court's notion of convenience and practicality."
In other words, Monty has to do what the law says, even if it is not expedient.
Monty told the Arizona Republic that he would not appeal the ruling, as it only would mean more delay.
"In my judgment, it is more important for the issues in this case to be fully and fairly addressed and resolved as soon as possible so that the people of Arizona can determine whether or not a statewide law enforcement official violated the law," stated Monty.
Translation: Yeah, I effed up. So sue me.
Montgomery is sending the case back to Bennett's office. SOS spokesman Matt Roberts stated that the SOS "will comply with the judge's order."
Which means Horne will be able to toss the ball to his own hand-picked prosecutor.
The sound you hear is the broom sweeping this travesty under the carpet.
When I caught up with Winn, she was pleased with the decision, though she conceded that she and Horne may just have won the latest round in an ongoing battle.
"I'm okay with it going on, because I'm more than happy to present the facts," she told me. "The best thing that happened is that we agreed that the law should be followed. And the law also applies to county attorneys. And if they don't follow the law, or they make it up, they get disbarred."