Maricopa County Craziness

Peter Spaw, Negligent Prosecutor, has Law License Put on Probation in Andrew Thomas Flap

Peter Spaw, the negligent deputy county attorney who helped harass innocent officials with a merit-less racketeering lawsuit, will have his law license put on probation for two years, the state's Disciplinary Judge has ruled.

Spaw, who still has his high-level job as the Maricopa County Attorney's Office Asset Recovery Bureau manager, also agrees to keep his nose clean, take an ethics class and pay a $15,059.55 fine as part of his punishment for the Andrew Thomas-era violations.

See also: Bill Montgomery Wants Peter Spaw, a Disgraced, High-Ranking Deputy County Attorney Who Admits to Severe Violation of Legal Duties, to Get Off Easy

See also: Racketeering Lawsuit Against Maricopa County by Thomas and Arpaio is Weak Conspiracy Theory

His former subordinate, Rachel Alexander, paid a much higher price for working on the racketeering suit launched in 2009 by Thomas and Sheriff Joe Arpaio. Her law license was suspended for six months and a day, a punishment from which it's tough for any lawyer to recover. Thomas and his go-to gal, Lisa Aubuchon, were disbarred.

In his agreement with the state, Spaw admitted to conduct adverse to justice, incompetency, negligent supervising and filing a case that had no merit.

It looks like our zinger on the current county attorney, Bill Montgomery, is watered down by the approval of the Spaw deal by Disciplinary Judge Bill O'Neil. We'd previously mentioned that Montgomery's belief that two years' probation for Spaw was "appropriate" was tacit approval of Thomas' ethical lapses.

Although we're highly curious whether Montgomery believes that Thomas, Aubuchon, Alexander and Spaw got a raw deal, it's tough to ding him over something for which O'Neil approves.

Still, this Spaw agreement is the perfect chance for Montgomery to come out forcefully against the abuses committed by Thomas -- and, to a lesser extent, by Spaw.

If Montgomery cares, that is.

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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.