The former Pima County Superior Court judge nominated by President Obama to be Arizona U.S. Attorney once wrote in a ruling that Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio "misused the power of his office."
It should be interesting to see if John Leonardo acts on his beliefs, if he's confirmed by the U.S. Senate.
Federal prosecutors have had a running an investigation into allegations that Arpaio abused his power for -- well, let's check the running clock on our Web site -- 1,193 days now. They're also believed to be probing potential crimes like the campaign-finance scam known as the Sheriff's Command Association.
Leonardo, who retired last month, has examined first-hand some of the evidence against Arpaio. He was the judge who dismissed the criminal case against County Supervisor Mary Rose Wilcox in February of 2010. His ruling was a crushing blow to efforts by former County Attorney Andrew Thomas and Arpaio to take down Wilcox, a Democrat and political opponent of the lawmen. Leonardo's ruling was a major step leading to the State Bar disciplinary action against Thomas expected to be announced in the next few days.
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In his bombshell ruling, Leonardo tossed the indictment of Wilcox and barred Thomas from appointing his favored special prosecutors to go after his enemies in county leadership, based on Thomas' blatant conflicts of interest in the matters. Leonardo reserved a few damning words for the sheriff, who was a partner in Thomas' unethical behavior. One reason that Thomas had a conflict of interest was apparent because of Thomas':
"...political alliance with the Maricopa County Sheriff who misused the power of his office to target members of the (Board of Supervisors) for criminal investigation..."
Perhaps this choice of nominee is Obama's way of getting Arpaio back for the sheriff's farcical "birther" investigation.