Sheriff Computer Seizure: Sheriff's Lawyer Balks at Short Schedule; Judge Says Sheriff's Office "Took Control" Without Asking Court


4 p.m.

Kerry Martin, sheriff's office lawyer, says he can't put on his case in 20 minutes. It's a complex law-enforcement issue.

Judge Heilman says there's a simple issue in this case: what transpired on Wednesday and why it transpired. Says Martin has spent a lot of time talking about things other than that.

They argue. Says more time has been spent in cross-examination by the sheriff's office.

Now Martin's using up even more time arguing with the judge. Says it's "highly prejudicial" to the sheriff's case.

Judge asks him what they will show.

Martin says he would show OET (the county's IT department) was working behind the back of the sheriff's office, enter an memo of understanding to make changes to the system.

Judge and Martin argue some more. Martin disagrees with judge's assessment of what his complaint says.


Judge reads the original complaint from the lawsuit filed in April.

Says the first three points in the complaint have been addressed due to the change in the password.

Martin says "we haven't changed anything." The only thing that changed was that we exercised the power we already had.

Says the lawsuit is seeking the equipment, personnel and right to direct the equipment and personnel. But they didn't seize those things.

Judge says the fundamental difference is that the ICJIS folks don't have the password, even though the county put them in charge. "Those people no longer have access," he says.

"You took control of the system by virtue of your actions on Wednesday," judge says.

He says he would have been happy to entertain a motion to stop the county from making changes the sheriff's office thought they were making. Says they should have asked the court.

Martin says Wednesday's action had "nothing to do with this case."

Judge says he's here to resolve these kinds of things.

Martin says the sheriff believes he's entitled to the entire operation of Zone 2. He had the password capability to do that.

Judge reminds Martin that Wetzl testified he needed authority from the stakeholders to make changes.

If they had taken steps to do that, "you would have been the first one in there" for a temporary restraining order, as well, Heilman says.

Martin says his witnesses haven't testified as to what their concerns were that required MCSO to go in and secure the password.

Martin says Bob Rampy will testify that he met with the secuity officer for the court administration shareholder, and conversations about approving changes to the ICJIS by five p.m. on Wednesday.

The sheriff also received a deadline by 5 o'clock on Wednesday (about changes). The Board of Supervisors was ready to approve changes necessary to make security changes to ICJIS.

Judge asks if it's possible to settle on the idea that Mr. Gendron and Mr. Gleason of the sheriff's office be provided with the password.

Martin says that wouldn't be a problem if the contract was switched over to MCSO. Judge says that would be a turnover order and he won't enter that right now.

Judge says he agrees DPS may have concerns about access to criminal justice data.

Says we have to go back to the status quo in terms of who had access to the system before. Judge also says he wants nobody to mess with the system without authorization by the court.

Judge asks Gendron, who's standing at the back of the courtroom, whether he could continue the way things have been going for while if he had the password.

Gendron says he prefers the password for convenience but can work either way.

Judge says he also wants a meeting called by the stakeholder committee. Martin says there is no committee. Judge says there has to be a committee.

Selman, the county's lawyer, says the stakeholder reps would be "anxious to meet."

"I'm ordering the two of you to call the meeting," Heilman says.

Martin argues. Says OET can't call the meeting -- they're not part of the stakeholders.

Judge orders Martin to call the meeting.

Martin says several of the stakeholders are currently under criminal investigation, and he's not sure what will be discussed.

Judge says Martin is trying to be difficult in how he approaches this.

Martin says no, he's not trying to be difficult.

"I want that meeting to happen," judge says. He adds that Ms. Wilson, the tech gal for DPS, should be at the meeting.

Judge says he wants Rampy, Gendron, and whoever wants to represent the stakeholders, should be at the meeting.

Judge asks Barnett Lotstein, who is sitting as an observer, if he could bring a stakeholder rep from the county attorney's office to the meeting.

Lotstein says he's just an observer and can't commit to anything.

Tuesday, August 18, 10:30 to noon -- judge wants folks here, in this courtroom, then.

Wants a resolution short of him "coming down on everybody..."

"Nobody will do anything to affect the operation of the system" while this is pending, judge says.

Judge says they can meet with or without him. And if the hearing needs to be continued after that, so be it.

Judge clarifies at Selden's urging that the password be provided to Gendron.

Martin says Hendershott is unable to give the password to Gendron.

Judge says they'll talk about that later.

Says anyone who violates this order will be held in contempt.

Martin says he wants a protective order to stop the county from giving the Arizona Republic some audit results.

The Repub reporter said he talked to county Supervisors about an audit of the county's jail enhancement fund.

Judge asks Selden if it's possible his side can go along with that. Selden says that has nothing to do with the case, so Heilman says he can't order the county to stop release of the audit because it's not part of the case.

Martin asks (again) for a change of venue due to Wetzl's testimony that he had spoken to Presiding Judge Mundell about the computer lawsuit.

Judge says he motion is overruled. He's not beholden to Mundell or anyone else. He's beholden to justice.

Judge says if the password isn't divulged, he's going to have to hold someone in contempt.

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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.