Arpaio

UPDATE: File-Taking Detention Officer to Hold News Conference

An apology ordered by a judge in the case of a detention officer who took papers from a defense attorney's file doesn't appear to be coming in time for a December 1 deadline.

Instead, the judge may receive only a few words tonight from Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio.

The Sheriff's Office will issue a statement about the flap at 8 p.m., an assistant for Superior Court Judge Gary Donahoe tells New Times. The assistant heard that information from a reporter at Channel 5 news, (KPHO-TV), who was seeking comment, she says. Donahoe wasn't available to talk this afternoon.

UPDATE: After we wrote this post, Nick Martin at Heat City reported that Stoddard is scheduled to hold a news conference at 8:30 p.m.


(Back to what we reported at 4 p.m.):

A report from the local HeatCity.org says Donahoe's office has refused to consider delaying the deadline, and that Tom Liddy, the deputy county attorney working the case for Arpaio, says to be on the lookout for a release within a couple of hours.

It looks like Arpaio is calling Donahoe's bluff.

On November 18, Donahoe found the officer, Adam Stoddard, in contempt of court for removing the defense attorney's paper during a October 19 sentencing hearing. A YouTube video (above) of Stoddard's numbskull move has been viewed nearly 94,000 times.

The judge said Stoddard will be thrown in jail unless he apologizes publicly before December 1 in a news conference at the courthouse. But Donahoe's order didn't sit well with Arpaio, who later told reporters that only the sheriff would decide when his employees would hold a news conference.

Keep in mind that this isn't just about taking a boring document from a file. It's about who's swinging the biggest bat, so to speak.

Not only has Arpaio -- with his ally, County Attorney Andrew Thomas -- sparred publicly with the judiciary for the last few years, but Donahoe appears to have a beef against Arpaio and his policies. In May, Donahoe complained that a lack of detention officers to transport inmates to court wasn't acceptable when the Sheriff's Office appeared to have plenty of employees available for its vaunted crime sweeps.

We'll find out soon what happens. There's nothing like a good deadline.

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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.