Maricopa County Craziness

Mary Rose Wilcox Gets More Good News: Boxer Luis "Yori Boy" Campas and Trainer Joe Diaz's Lawsuit Tossed

This has been a week of good news for Mary Rose Wilcox.

She's either received a settlement award of $1 million from Maricopa County, for which she serves as one of five County Supervisors, or she's close to a settlement. The county's not saying which just yet. The rumors of a settlement came a day after a U.S. District Judge Neil Wake made a favorable ruling in a lawsuit filed by Wilcox and other victims of Sheriff Joe Arpaio and former County Attorney Andrew Thomas.

Thomas, of course, achieved infamy in Arizona yesterday by getting himself disbarred. His problems came in part from his failed criminal prosecution of Mary Rose Wilcox. Wilcox had committed no crime.

Today, a federal judge dismissed a lawsuit by a champion boxer Luis "Yori Boy" Campas and his Valley trainer, Joe Diaz, that had alleged a wide-ranging conspiracy that focused on Mary Rose Wilcox.

The alleged conspiracy overlapped with the alleged corruption imagined by Thomas and Arpaio -- Lisa Aubuchon, who was disbarred yesterday along with Thomas, worked on the case as another angle with which to try and bust Wilcox.

Our post in the link above fleshes out the complex case. But in a nutshell, Campas and Diaz alleged that Wilcox was central part of a plot in 2005 to protect Peter McKinn, the man who screwed Campas out of $5,000. The supposed conspiracy also claimed that Wilcox, her husband, Earl, boxing officials and promoters and former County Attorney Rick Romley had retaliated against Diaz and Campas for complaining about McKinn.

McKinn was sentenced in April of 2011 on charges of theft and forgery.

For years, Diaz and Campas have cried loudly about what they see as corruption, filing a lawsuit in 2006 that also failed.

Today, U.S. District Judge Frederick Martone ruled that, for most of their claims, Campas and Diaz were just too late. The statute of limitations barred their claims, which included theft, fraud, negligence, defamation. Some claims were dismissed for other reasons: For instance, the allegations against Romley, who merely transferred the case to Gila County in 2010 while acting as interim Maricopa County Attorney, were dismissed because Romley had legal immunity for his actions as a prosecutor.

Read the entire ruling by Judge Martone by clicking here.

Conservative writer Linda Bentley has been a cheerleader for Diaz and Campas in the case, holding it up as an example that Arpaio and Thomas are being unfairly targeted in their efforts to fight "corrupt public officials for criminal acts."

In fact, despite the conviction of McKinn, evidence of any larger conspiracy by Wilcox has never been knock-out material. Naturally, that didn't stop Thomas and Arpaio from promoting the anti-Wilcox tale.

Martone's ruling is also a loss for Montana lawyer Ed Moriarity, who's become something of a laughingstock in the local legal community not only because he's acted as defender for Andrew Thomas, Lisa Aubuchon, Dave Hendershott and Joel Fox, but because of his chaotic, combative style.

The only thing that could make this week better for Wilcox would be to cash a $1 million settlement check from county taxpayers.

One last factoid of note: Campas, 40, may have lost in the courtroom, but on March 30, the light-middleweight champion boxer won his 100th professional fight. Wilcox might want to use some of her settlement to keep her lawyers on retainer: Neither Campas nor Diaz, a recovering heart-attack victim, like to throw in the towel.

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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.
Contact: Ray Stern