4
| News |

Don Stapley's New Criminal Defense Attorney Used to Do What Andy Thomas Never Did -- Prosecute Major Crimes

^
Keep New Times Free
I Support
  • Local
  • Community
  • Journalism
  • logo

Support the independent voice of Phoenix and help keep the future of New Times free.

Supervisor Don Stapley, one of two Maricopa County supes under criminal indictment, has hired a new defense attorney to defend him against the latest set of charges he faces from County Attorney Andrew Thomas.

​His name is Kurt Altman (pictured), and he earned his stripes as a feisty and successful major-felony prosecutor for about 14 years before switching to criminal-defense work a few years ago as a sole practitioner.

Altman is perhaps best known for winning a murder conviction (with co-counsel Bill Clayton) in the highly publicized trial of Ahwatukee resident Brian Eftenoff, who is now serving what, in effect, is a life sentence for killing his wife.

Here is our story on the Eftenoff trial that delved into Altman's trial techniques.

 

Altman moved over to the U.S. Attorney's Office after working for Maricopa County for several years.

While working for then-U.S. Attorney Paul Charlton, he secured the only death penalty imposed in the District of Arizona in recent years, against a Native-American man who stabbed to death a woman and her 9-year-old granddaughter during a carjacking.

Known as a particularly effective cross-examiner, Altman's presence in the Stapley case comes as somewhat of a surprise, as the pol already has two top-notch attorneys on board.

But these attorneys, Tom Henze and Paul Charlton (yes, the former U.S. Attorney) from the blueblood firm of Gallagher and Kennedy, aren't known for discounting their legal costs, and this may have something to do with the turn of events (not that Altman necessarily comes cheap, either).

Henze and Charlton remain on the first Stapley criminal case, which our colleague Ray Stern ably dissected in a recent cover story. The whole thing needs a flow chart to explain, and Altman should brace himself for a wild ride.

Having often seen the dude in action, we can say this for sure: Kurt Altman can work a case like a champ, whatever side he's on, and Andy Thomas -- who wouldn't know how to sell a closing argument to a jury if his own life depended on it -- should beware. 

 

 

Keep Phoenix New Times Free... Since we started Phoenix New Times, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Phoenix, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Phoenix with no paywalls.

We use cookies to collect and analyze information on site performance and usage, and to enhance and customize content and advertisements. By clicking 'X' or continuing to use the site, you agree to allow cookies to be placed. To find out more, visit our cookies policy and our privacy policy.

 

Join the New Times community and help support independent local journalism in Phoenix.

 

Join the New Times community and help support independent local journalism in Phoenix.