Maricopa County Craziness

Judge Donahoe Criminal Case Assigned to Pinal County Judge; Stapley and Wilcox Cases Assigned to Pima County Judge

The presiding judge of the Maricopa County Superior Court has assigned the criminal cases against Judge Gary Donahoe and County Supervisors Don Stapley and Mary Rose Wilcox to judges in other counties.

Presiding Judge Barbara Mundell, (left) who is herself a target of the broad -- and vague -- racketeering investigation of Sheriff Joe Arpaio and County Attorney Andrew Thomas, wrote in a minute entry that she was moving the Donahoe case to avoid the appearance of impropriety or a conflict of interest. But she was, in essence, forced to move the case by Thomas and Arpaio, who surely would have considered any other decision as more evidence of the supposed conspiracy.

Mundell moved the Donahoe case that was filed today to the state Supreme Court, which assigned it to Judge William O'Neil of the Pinal Superior Court. She moved the Stapley and Wilcox cases directly to Jan Kearney, the presiding judge of the Pima Superior Court.

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This should make the county lawmen happy -- until the rulings don't go their way. Then we'll hear all about the supposed bias of judges in Pinal and Pima counties. Maybe Kearney and O'Neil will even find their way into the federal racketeering lawsuit filed last week by Thomas and Arpiao.

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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.