Bill Montgomery Files Emergency Motion to Block Ruling on Bail for Undocumented Migrants

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Maricopa County Attorney Bill Montgomery.
Maricopa County Attorney Bill Montgomery wants "full and fair opportunity" to prove in court why a recent ruling allowing bail for jailed undocumented migrants should not stand.

The Republican politician put out a news release on Thursday evening saying he's filed an emergency motion with the U.S. Ninth Circuit of Appeals to ask for delayed implementation of the ruling.

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AZ Clerks Objecting to Gay Marriage Urged by Religious Right Not to Issue Licenses

Categories: News, The Gays

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Ashley Cusick
A couple marries outside the Maricopa County Superior Court Clerk's Office on Friday, October 17, 2014.

Arizona's legalization of same-sex marriage last Friday has led to a drastic increase in the number of marriage licenses issued, but one conservative group argues that clerks opposed to same-sex marriage shouldn't have to take part in issuing them.

In the Maricopa County Superior Court Clerk's Office, 292 marriage licenses were issued on Friday and another 184 were issued Monday, a representative says. The office averages only 98 license requests per day, making Friday's numbers almost three times higher than normal and Monday's almost double. The office doesn't typically track the number of licenses it issues each day, but did so Friday and Monday because of heightened interest.

That interest hasn't been all positive.

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Viral Video of "Ballot Stuffing" in Phoenix Shows a Perfectly Legal Practice

Categories: Election 2014

A YouTube video with more than 400,000 views purporting to show "ballot box stuffing" in Arizona actually shows a completely legal practice.

A.J. LaFaro, the chairman of the Maricopa County GOP, has been drumming up controversy by implying he witnessed voter fraud when an activist for the group Citizens for a Better Arizona dropped off some voters' completed ballots at the Maricopa County elections headquarters, which has some right-wing blogs going nuts.

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Montgomery Seeks Felony Conviction for Pot Patient Caught With Gram of Weed in Dorm

Categories: Medical Weed

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Andre Maestas
The Maricopa County Attorney's Office is prosecuting a college student with a medical-marijuana card for felony possession of less than a gram of weed.

Andre Lee Juwaun Maestas, a 19-year-old Arizona State University student, could end up with a felony on his record, probation and stiff fines because of the March discovery of about .6 grams of marijuana and some smoking paraphernalia in his dorm room.

On the other hand, the case could also end up in Maestas' favor -- a scenario which could have the added effect of overturning a 2012 law that prohibits patients from possessing medical marijuana on college campuses.

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Phoenix Police Department Changing How It Handles the Mentally Ill After Fatal Shooting

Categories: News

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Matthew Hendley
Left to right: Councilman Michael Nowakowski, Police Chief Daniel Garcia, Mayor Greg Stanton, and Crisis Response Network CEO Justin Chase.
About a month after a Phoenix police officer fatally shot a mentally ill woman, city leaders have announced a plan to change how the police department deals with mentally ill individuals.

Michelle Cusseaux, 50, was fatally shot by Phoenix Police Officer Percy Dupra on August 14, after police say she threatened officers with a hammer when they went to serve a court order to deliver Cusseaux to a mental-health facility.

"August 14, 2014, was a tragic day not only for the Cusseaux family, but for our department as well," Garcia said at a press conference yesterday, where Cusseaux's mother was in the audience.

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Mob Rule's Rejects: How the Ninth Circuit Thwarted the "Will of the People" and Why That's a Good Thing

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Francisco Goya/Museo del Prado
Spanish master Francisco Goya's 1799 etching The Sleep of Reason Produces Monsters easily could apply to the insanity of 21st-century America

Like a visual version of an earworm -- you know, those songs that get caught in your head and you can't get out -- I've been thinking a lot lately about a famous 18th-century etching by the Spanish artist Francisco Goya called The Sleep of Reason Produces Monsters.

It features an image of an artist asleep at his desk while a collection of owls, bats, and other creatures of the night swirl about him.

My "eyeworm," to coin a term, is a result of too much television and Twitter, two marvels of modernity that project the stupidities of mankind.

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A Historic Ruling Makes Gay Marriage Legal in Arizona, but LGBT Leaders Say Much More Must Be Done Here

Categories: Cover Story

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New Times Illustration
At 10:36 a.m. on Friday, October 17, Michael Jeanes tweeted his followers: "Welcome All to the Clerk's Office. Your marriage license awaits, and we are ready to serve you!"

The most important word in the Maricopa County Superior Court clerk's message was "All." Soon security officers held open the doors to the clerk's Customer Service Center downtown, and a line of same-sex couples began to enter.

The first, Nelda Majors and Karen Bailey, have been together for more than five decades. But it wasn't until that day that the state of Arizona allowed them to obtain a marriage license.

Next were Kevin Patterson and David Larance, who obtained Maricopa County's second same-sex marriage license. Larance and Patterson have been together for eight years and are raising two daughters, so they didn't feel the need to plan a large wedding.

Instead, they married in the courtyard outside the clerk's office, becoming the first gay couple to legally marry in Maricopa County, and perhaps in the state.

John Dorhauer, a United Church of Christ leader overseeing Arizona, New Mexico, and El Paso County in Texas, performed their ceremony. He was riding his bike Friday morning when he got the call that same-sex marriage was legal. He sped home, took a shower, and headed to the County Clerk's Office. Dorhauer had performed same-sex unions before, but never a legal marriage.

In the rush to the clerk's office, Patterson and Larance only remembered to bring one ring, so Dorhauer let the couple borrow his own ring for the ceremony.

After the wedding, the men and their children posed for pictures, huge smiles on their faces.

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Shanesha Taylor May Not Have Enough Donated Money to Comply With Plea Deal

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Shanesha Taylor's tearful mugshot caused a flood of sympathetic donations last spring.
Shaneshsa Taylor may no longer have enough of her donated money to fund trusts for her children as required under a deferred-prosecution deal, a court motion states.

Taylor became an Internet sensation after her March arrest for leaving her kids in a hot car during a job interview, in part due to her evocative, tear-filled mugshot. She raised $114,775 in an online fundraiser, and the money helped her negotiate a deal to keep her out of jail with no conviction on her record.

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James Woods, Blind Congressional Candidate, Buys a Gun to Exploit "Gun Show Loophole"

Categories: Election 2014

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Evan Clark, James Woods for Congress
Democratic Congressional candidate James Woods with his new gun.
Did you hear the one about the blind man who went to the gun show?

No, it's not a joke -- Democratic Congressional Candidate James Woods, who's blind, actually went to a recent gun show in Mesa and purchased a revolver as a bit of a campaign stunt to denounce the so-called "gun show loophole."

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Joe Arpaio Gets In on Ebola Hysteria by Making Jail Guard Stay Home After Trip to Africa

Categories: Arpaio

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Gage Skidmore
Sheriff Joe Arpaio is making a detention officer stay home for the next three weeks because the officer visited Sierra Leone.

Arpaio issued a press release announcing that the unnamed officer has been placed on administrative leave over MCSO's fear of Ebola.

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Medical-Marijuana Patients Still at Risk for DUI Conviction, Appeals Court Confirms

Categories: Medical Weed

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Victorgrigas/Wikipedia
Medical-marijuana patients are still at risk for a DUI conviction simply for having trace amounts of THC in their bloodstreams, the state Court of Appeals confirmed on Tuesday.

In a 3-0 ruling with disclaimers by one judge, the court upheld the conviction of a Mesa man despite an apparent exception for such prosecutions in the voter-approved, 2010 medical-pot law.

Arizona, if you haven't heard, has a zero-tolerance law against drivers with marijuana metabolites in their veins, medical card or not. Our May 2013 feature article, "Riding High," covered how it was possible for patients or illegal cannabis users to be convicted for DUI even when impairment wasn't a factor, and even when the only metabolite found was carboxy-THC, a molecule known to be inactive.

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Fred DuVal Down to Doug Ducey in Latest Polls, but Remains Within Striking Distance

Categories: Election 2014

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Fred DuVal (left) and Doug Ducey.
Two polls released this week but Democrat Fred DuVal down, but not out, against Republican Doug Ducey in the race for Arizona governor.

One poll puts DuVal down 1 percentage point, and the other puts him down 5 percentage points, which, in current times, qualifies as good news for a Democrat running for governor in Arizona. Remember that just four years ago, Terry Goddard lost the election to Governor Jan Brewer by 12 percentage points.

"I believe what this [poll] tells us is that folks believe Arizona is headed in the wrong direction and they're looking for change," DuVal tells New Times.

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Deputy Sean Pearce Still Being Probed by Glendale Prosecutors Over Fatal Crash

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The Glendale City Prosecutor's Office continues to probe the actions of Maricopa County Sheriff's Office Deputy Sean Pearce months after County Attorney Bill Montgomery declined to prosecute.
Maricopa County Sheriff's Deputy Sean Pearce is still under investigation by city prosecutors in connection with his speed-related crash that killed a man in December, New Times has learned.

The job of the City Prosecutor's Office is to prosecute people for misdemeanor crimes, meaning that Pearce, the son of disgraced GOP politician Russell Pearce, apparently still faces some criminal charges despite an announcement in June by County Attorney Bill Montgomery that Pearce was off the hook.

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Paula Pennypacker Gives GOPer John Kavanagh Hell in Flaming Red LD 23

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Keeping Kav on his toes: Pennypacker's cable TV spot...

In spite of a more than two-to-one registration advantage for tuskers in Legislative District 23, Republican-turned-Democrat Paula Pennypacker's been all over GOPer John Kavanagh like white on rice in the general election contest for the district's open state Senate seat.

Pennypacker was on fire during a recent Clean Elections debate, calling out the veteran state representative on a host of issues, from his support for the private prison industry to his backing of anti-gay state Senate Bill 1062 to state Republicans' poor record on the economy and education.

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Wendy Rogers Skips Out on Debate With Congresswoman Kyrsten Sinema

Categories: News

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Wendy Rogers/Facebook
A debate between Congressional District 9 candidates essentially turned into a half-hour infomercial for Congresswoman Kyrsten Sinema, as Republican candidate Wendy Rogers skipped the event.

"This candidate forum is not a debate," Rogers spokesman James Harris explains in a statement to New Times. "Typically, a debate is something hosted by multiple news organizations, with rules discussed in advance with both major party candidates. That never happened, and we do not feel this would be a real debate. As a result, Wendy has chosen to spend the time talking to actual voters."

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Muslims in Arizona Shockingly Normal (Video)

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Are Muslims the new Mexicans?

Turn on the TV, check out Twitter or make the mistake of listening to AM radio, and you're almost guaranteed to get a red hot blast of Islamophobia. Even folks as enlightened as HBO's Bill Maher are suggesting that there is something intrinsically wrong with Islam, a religion practiced or identified with by 1.6 billion people worldwide.

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Maricopa County Issues Hundreds of Marriage Licenses on First Day Gays Allowed to Wed

Categories: News

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Ray Stern
Scottdale residents David Chaney and Clark Rowley, after getting their marriage license from Maricopa County on Friday.
Courts across Maricopa County issued nearly 300 wedding licenses on Friday, the first day of legal gay marriage in the state of Arizona.

Aaron Nash, a spokesman for the Clerk of the Superior Court, tells New TImes that three times as many marriage licenses were issued on Friday than on an average day, and there are still couples coming in today.

"It's busier than normal," Nash says. "It's a steady demand, but [there aren't] lines out the door or anything like that."

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10 Things You Have to Explain to People Who Aren't From Phoenix

Categories: List This

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National Archives
Phoenix isn't quite like other American cities -- like when you have to slam on the brakes because there's a coyote in the road.

Below, find 10 things about Phoenix you'll have to explain to people who aren't from here:

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Historic Legal Same-Sex Weddings Begin in Arizona

Categories: News

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Images: Ray Stern
Vivian and Rochelle Mccarty exchange a kiss after being married in downtown Phoenix today.
In a festive and history-making scene, some of the first legal same-sex weddings in Arizona took place today next to a government building in downtown Phoenix.

The small plaza at 6th Avenue and Jackson Street east of the Maricopa County Clerk of the Superior Court Customer Service Center is normally just a place people walk through on the way to obtain court records -- or a marriage license. But after the state's same-sex marriage ban was struck down today, joyous couples purchased licenses and soon took their vows in the public setting to the cheers of a gathering crowd.

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Phoenix-Area Religious Leaders Gather to Perform State's First Legal Gay Marriages

Categories: News, The Gays

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Ashley Cusick
Pastor Vernon Meyer of Sun Lakes United Church of Christ in Chandler, Rabbi Mari Chernow of Temple Chai in Phoenix, Rabbi Ilana Mills of Temple Solel in Paradise Valley, and Reverend John Dorhauer of the United Church of Christ stand outside the Maricopa County Superior Court Clerk's Office ready to perform same-sex marriages.

Religious leaders from around the Valley gathered today in the courtyard outside the Maricopa County Superior Court Clerk's Office, holding signs that read: "We stand ready to MARRY YOU!"

The faith leaders volunteered to perform the county's first same-sex marriages through a campaign organized by Why Marriage Matters Arizona, an organization that has been leading the push for marriage equality in the state. Clergy members from across the state--with Why Marriage Matters' signs in hand--eagerly awaited this morning's historic victory. When the call came that today was the day, volunteers headed to as many marriage-licensing offices as they could to perform ceremonies for the couples who showed up.

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