Don Stapley Case: Andrew Thomas Wages Battle Through Media on Claim of Biased Judge

As noted in our recent blog post, Maricopa County Attorney Andrew Thomas' office was told recently to provide the Superior Court by Monday with evidence that a judge is too biased against Thomas to hear the case of criminally indicted County Supervisor Don Stapley.

Thomas couldn't wait till Monday. He put out a news release today to continue his pissing match with the judicial branch in the media, touting the statement of a court employee who claims the judge doesn't like Thomas.

You can read the news release here, and also link here to a transcript provided by Thomas' office of the court employees interview with a sheriff's deputy.

The evidence that retired Judge Kenneth Fields doesn't particularly like Andrew Thomas seems pretty clear. Whether that means he's too biased to try Stapley's case is another story.

Yet, surely the court could have assigned the case to some other judge. Are court officials trying to frustrate Thomas, or the Stapley case itself? On the other hand, maybe Thomas is just trying to sandbag his case against Stapley by making sure the judge is an avid Thomas supporter.

If a conviction for Stapley depends heavily on whether the judge hearing the case loves or hates Andrew Thomas, justice doesn't seem likely to prevail either way. -- 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.
Contact: Ray Stern