Sheila Polk "Shocked" by Arrest of Don Stapley; Yavapai County Attorney Also Says She Felt No Evidence of Crime Existed in Mary Rose Wilcox Case


Yavapai County Attorney Sheila Polk said in court today that she was "shocked" last September by the arrest of Maricopa County Supervisor Don Stapley.

She had personally told Sheriff Joe Arpaio and his chief deputy, Dave Hendershott, the Friday before the Monday arrest that the second criminal case against Stapley wasn't ready to file, Polk testified before Pima County Judge John Leonardo.

The high-profile testimony comes after motions filed by Wilcox's lawyer, Colin Campbelll, a former Maricopa County Superior court presiding judge. Wilcox was indicted in December with 36 felony counts -- then re-indicted last month on 42 felony counts -- related to her alleged conflict of interest, and failure to disclose various loans taken out by the lending arm of Chicanos por la Causa.

Polk testified (according to New Times writer Sarah Fenske, who's down at the hearing), that on September 18, she told sheriff's officers, "I did not feel there was evidence of a crime" in the Mary Rose Wilcox case. After that, the Sheriff's Office began pushing to take away the case from her office, she said.

Maricopa County Attorney Andrew Thomas handed over the cases concerning Supervisor Stapley, Supervisor Wilcox, and the building of a new court tower to Yavapai County last April. At the time, he claimed the move was an "olive branch" to county leaders, who had accused him of a conflict of interest in the first Stapley prosecution.

Thomas is scheduled to take the stand soon.


UPDATE: Click here to see the response to Polk's statements by the sheriff's office.


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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.