Feathered Bastard

Bill Montgomery's Lawyer Stephen Tully Chokes, Trying to Defend Monty's Move to Silence Mary Rose Wilcox

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What about training of MCSO deputies? That could be an issue in both cases, Tully suggested. Or "abuse of power," or Wilcox's claim of a "broad conspiracy."

Or there's the fact that Melendres deals with the harm done to Hispanics, and, um, well, Wilcox is Hispanic.

Indeed, in Tully's motion to dismiss, he mentions that Melendres is a class action lawsuit, the class being all Latinos stopped or detained by the MCSO from 2007 on.

"As a self-described Mexican-American," Tully writes, "Ms. Wilcox is arguably in that class."

Which, if that argument were to hold, would mean that, potentially, every Latino politician in Maricopa County would have a conflict of interest regarding Melendres.

The judge wasn't buying.

"I don't see how the Melendres case can really help her," Fink said of Wilcox. "Except in the court of public opinion."

And that doesn't count when it comes to the law.

Arizona's conflict of interest statute states that a public officer must refrain from participating in any matter where the officer or his or her family has a "substantial interest," which the statute defines as "any pecuniary or proprietary interest."

In other words, a substantial interest is a financial benefit of some kind. And that, the supervisor does not have in Melendres.

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Stephen is a former staff writer and columnist at Phoenix New Times.
Contact: Stephen Lemons