An ex-state trooper who was fired in 2009 after a rocky affair with the state Department of Public Safety director's daughter is running for Maricopa County Justice of the Peace.
Candidate Geoffrey Jacobs is seeking the position in the northwest Valley's Hassayampa district court, one of 26 county Justice Courts. But he has some serious obstacles to overcome: He's a Democrat running in a Republican-leaning district. He's running against two competitors for the November 4 election, a Republican and a Libertarian.
And he's got baggage -- lots of it.
Ironically, as a former motorcycle cop, patrolman and DPS pilot, Jacobs is in some ways more qualified for the JP job than either of his two opponents.
But his qualifications, unfortunately for him, aren't necessarily the most interesting -- or the most important -- things for voters to know about Jacobs as a political candidate.
As covered in a 2010 New Times feature article, "The Hot Mess at the DPS," Jacobs was at the center of an infamous scandal that included tales -- made public after Jacobs sued the DPS in federal court -- of rough sex, allegations of rape, and wild cop parties. An investigation into the allegations against Jacobs, though of questionable origin and scope, confirmed at least one instance of Jacobs being dishonest.
Jacobs dated Ami Halliday in late 2008, about three months before her father, Robert, would be named the DPS director by Governor Jan Brewer. When his daughter came home with bruises on her arm and leg one day, Bobby Halliday, (then still retired after serving 35 years with the agency), began his own investigation, taking pictures of the marks and complaining to the internal affairs department of his former workplace rather than calling Glendale police.
Ami Halliday later told investigators that she and Jacobs had an unusually rough physical relationship. He would sometimes hurt her while they had sex, but in a way that kept her coming back to him. They "would always play and just smack each other," a report stated. She accused him of videotaping their sex acts without her consent, posting nude pictures of her online, and also said Jacobs' roommate had once pointed a gun at her. After their bitter breakup, stories began swirling around DPS about bizarre, sexually charged behavior related to Jacobs. In one incident, for example, a passed-out woman at Jacobs' home was allegedly sexually assaulted by Jacobs' stud bulldog. In other gossip, Jacobs reportedly used a DPS airplane to locate and circle around the home of an ex-girlfriend, who was a fellow DPS officer.
None of the criminal allegations tied to Jacobs directly or indirectly were supported by enough evidence to warrant prosecution, Glendale police found. Then DPS looked into Jacobs' computer hard drives -- illegally, he maintains -- and found other concerns.
Among other things, investigators discovered that Jacobs had submitted a bogus obituary to Hawaiian Airlines about his DPS ex-girlfriend so he could transfer her nonrefundable airline ticket to a new girlfriend.
Jacobs sued in federal court over the atypically intense investigation of him, which he claimed violated his rights. He alleged the probe had been conducted with a heavy hand because Halliday, who became DPS director in January of 2009, had taken sides in a complex, adult relationship.
The sordid details unveiled in the investigation of the allegations against Jacobs were made public due to the lawsuit, resulting in articles in this newspaper, the Arizona Republic and elsewhere.
In March of 2011, a judge dismissed the suit, saying Jacobs had never proved or even alleged that Halliday -- a private person when he launched the complaint against Jacobs -- had held a meeting with other DPS officials with the intent of targeting the trooper.
Jacobs admits he shouldn't have tried to obtain the airline ticket that way, but says he did it only upon the advice of an airline representative who was trying to help him.
"I'm human, just like anyone else," Jacobs says in an interview this week. "The punishment I went through was ridiculous. (DPS) violated my civil rights in investigating me."
The scandal hurt Jacobs' reputation at DPS and with potential employers, he says. He was unemployed for more than three years. He hasn't been able to land another job as a pilot. But he's found a strong source of good in his life at this point: This year he got married to a woman with a young son he's helping to raise, and they own a limo business together.
Being a justice of the peace is "not super rocket-science," Jacobs says, insisting he's well-qualified for the position. Under state law, JPs don't need a law degree -- they just need to reside in their district, be a registered voter and understand English.
Jacobs claims he can be impartial with DPS cases that will come before him if he's elected.
With his history, though, it's clear that would be another challenge for him as an elected judge.
If you like this story, consider signing up for our email newsletters.
SHOW ME HOW
You have successfully signed up for your selected newsletter(s) - please keep an eye on your mailbox, we're movin' in!
Jacobs is running against Republican Miles Keegan, the current elected constable in the Hassayampa district (and son of retired JP John Keegan), and Fred Scotty, a Libertarian who's studying criminal justice at Phoenix College. Scotty's using Jacobs' past in his campaign, revealing that he was fired from DPS and raising questions about Jacobs' trustworthiness. (Jacobs' campaign website, interestingly, says nothing about why he left DPS.)
Got a tip? Send it to: Ray Stern.