Not long after taking office, Maricopa County Attorney Bill Montgomery formed a special panel of prosecutors to review cases of claimed self-defense.
The Republican politician stated in a news release at the time that the panel was designed to ensure people claiming self-defense would not have their Second Amendment rights violated by unfair prosecutions.
Yet statistics show that more than half of the cases reviewed by the panel ended up being prosecuted.
And Montgomery doesn't want to tell the public which people he's prosecuted after they claimed self-defense.
As mentioned in New Times' October 31 cover story about Arizona self-defense laws, the self-defense review panel had up to that point declined to prosecute only 24 of 61 cases in which someone claimed self-defense.
The panel's made up of senior prosecutors, possibly including -- at times -- Montgomery himself.
New Times has been trying for months to obtain the names of the people whose cases were reviewed by the panel. After our initial efforts were rebuffed, New Times put in a records request in November for any records that contain names, numbers, or any identifying information whatsoever that would allow us to look up the court records of the self-defense claimants Montgomery has prosecuted.
On Friday, after reminding Montgomery's press handler, Jerry Cobb, that the request was still outstanding, we received the following e-mail from a clerk:
In response to your November 11, 2014, Public Records Request . . . we have nothing to provide.
The specific matters that come before the Citizens Self-Defense Review Committee are selected by internal decision-making that constitutes privileged attorney work product and are not subject to disclosure under public records law.
This Public Records Request is closed.
Is Montgomery really protecting the public's self-defense rights?
You'll just have to trust him.
Got a tip? Send it to: Ray Stern.
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