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Chandler State Senator John Huppenthal Charged With Theft in Campaign Sign Flap

The Maricopa County Attorney's office has charged Arizona State Senator John Huppenthal with misdemeanor theft and altering or destroying political signs.

As New Times pointed out when it covered this case last month, Huppenthal claims he had permission from a property owner to remove a political sign critical of him. But no one at the apartment complex where the sign was displayed appears willing to back Huppenthal up.

Huppenthal faces six months in jail if he's convicted, but the senator would clearly be unlikely to serve any time since it would be his first offense. And the longtime Republican lawmaker just won his election against Democrat Ted Maish, so this legal spat probably won't weigh him down too much politically, either.

The charge seems to be little more than a loose end from the election season. But if Huppenthal can't show he had a legal right to take down someone else's campaign sign, he needs to pay his dues to society like any other scofflaw. -- Ray Stern

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Ray Stern has worked as a newspaper reporter in Arizona for more than two decades. He's won numerous awards for his reporting, including the Arizona Press Club's Don Bolles Award for Investigative Journalism.