Judge Won't Release County Jail Inmates Early; Says He was Just Trying to Get Attention of Sheriff's Office

The judge was just playin'.

Amazing at it sounds, Maricopa County Criminal Presiding Judge Gary Donahoe told the East Valley Tribune that his e-mailed threats to release jail inmates early should not be taken seriously by the Sheriff's Office. "I guess maybe it was frustration and maybe trying to get their attention," he told the Trib's Mark Flatten. "This was to engage, to try to get upper management's attention."

Whoa. That's quite a turnaround from the repeated threats made in his e-mails. And try to swallow this spin:

As to his criticism about using so many deputies on neighborhood saturation patrols, Donahoe said he was not trying to pass judgment on the operations or dictate how the sheriff should allocate his resources. Rather he was passing along concerns that had been raised to him by other judges, he said.

Here are the judge's statements in his e-mail again:

200 deputies and posse members for a crime sweep, but insufficient deputies to carry out the mandated function of transporting defendants to court -- something just isn't right here.

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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.