Maricopa County Superior Court Judge Kenneth Fields ruled today that the criminal case against County Supervisor Don Stapley won't get sent back to a grand jury for reconsideration.
Stapley's lawyers still have a chance on Tuesday to convince Fields that he should dismiss 114 felony counts of failing to disclose information on his campaign finance forms. The afore-linked Arizona Republic article by former New Times writer Michael Kiefer notes the irony of Fields' decision, considering that Fields is supposed to be biased against Maricopa County Attorney Andrew Thomas, the first prosecutor in the case. (It was since moved to the Yavapai County Attorney's office because of a conflict of interest that it took Thomas months to acknowledge).
As columnist New Times' Sarah Fenske reported in January that the prosecutor in the Stapley case, Lisa Aubuchon, believes that Stapley's "continuing, dogged, and flagrant attempt to retain Judge Fields says all you need to know about how the defense views Judge Fields' neutrality."
The Stapley case is one of several "anti-corruption" cases that came about after Thomas and Sheriff Joe Arpaio formed the Maricopa Anti-Corrution Effort. Unlike the other MACE case we told you about today, this one isn't as clear cut and has produced a few interesting sidebars.