Victor Riches, chief of staff to Republican Arizona House Speaker Andy Tobin, had two vials of cocaine in his leased car when police pulled him over last year on suspicion of DUI.
Bicycle riders take heed: Riches was seen speeding and driving in a bike lane near his north-central Phoenix home before he was stopped on April 18, 2010, according to an article in the Arizona Guardian.
The aide's blood-alcohol content later was tested at .253; the cops didn't test his blood for drugs and haven't charged him with drug possession. An Associated Press article says that Riches paid a fine and served 48 hours in jail, 13 days of work-release from jail, and 30 days of home arrest.
Tobin released a statement today saying he continues to have "complete confidence" in Riches, who told the House Speaker about the incident last fall, when Tobin was majority whip.
I've since ascertained that Victor has done everything that has been required to take both personal and legal responsibility for this mistake and that there has not been nor will there be any impact on House operations.
Uh-huh. We're just glad there was no impact on us and our bicycle. Of course, get Riches and Governor Jan Brewer in a car together and the odds of "impact" oughtta go way up.
As for the coke: Tobin's statement conveniently doesn't mention that little detail.
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The Guardian article says one vial was under the driver's seat, the other on the driver's side floor board. The Guardian also quoted a defense attorney who complained that the average person wouldn't have fared as well as Riches:
Robert Campos, a longtime defense attorney and former Maricopa County prosecutor, went so far as to say Riches caught a break because of who he is and where he works.
"What you do and who you are really matter in society," said Robert Campos. "These stories I find upsetting. I represent the common man, and the poor never get a break like this."