Detention Officer Will Report to Jail in Contempt Case, Says Sheriff Arpaio; UPDATE -- Officer Reportedly in Jail

The detention officer who swiped papers from a defense attorney's file during an October sentencing hearing will report to jail today, Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio said.

"My officer will surrender," Arpaio said during a news conference, adding that he wouldn't say exactly where officer Adam Stoddard will be, because of security concerns. 

Superior Court Judge Gary Donahoe found Stoddard in contempt of court last month for taking the papers, despite Stoddard's claim that something in the papers made him believe a security risk existed. The judge ordered Stoddard to apologize to the defense attorney, Joanne Cuccia. But in a news conference last night, Stoddard said he wouldn't apologize because he felt he'd done nothing wrong.

Arpaio claims Donahoe has a "vendetta" against him and will soon release information about the judge that proves it. "For political reasons, [Stoddard's] been thrown to the wolves," Arpaio said.

As we reported previously, the judge criticized Arpaio's crime sweeps in an April e-mail. And Donahoe is named in the new federal racketeering lawsuit against county leaders that was the main subject of today's news conference.

Yet Stoddard's videotaped offense did seem to beg for some kind of punishment, so it's hard to give too much weight to the "vendetta" theory. Cuccia's documents weren't capable of much violence beyond the possible paper cut.

The more time Stoddard spends behind bars, however, the greater chance he'll become a martyr, despite his stupid mistake. The judge's order is open-ended: It appears Stoddard will have to apologize before he can be released.

Tom Liddy, the deputy county attorney representing Stoddard, told the news media he will appeal Donahoe's decision.

UPDATE: Stoddard turned himself in, but the jail turned him back out. Liddy told that Donahoe "screwed up the order of confinement." The problem should be cleared up tomorrow morning, Liddy said. A likely story.

NEWER UPDATE: Now Heat City is reporting that Stoddard is in jail tonight, despite the supposed clerical error. Liddy says Stoddard is in jail "voluntarily," according to Heat City's Nick Martin, a former reporter for the East Valley Tribune.


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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.