Maricopa County Attorney's Office Yet to Decide Whether to Appeal Dismissal of Charges for Alleged Murderer

Categories: Judge and Jury
Joseph Roberts
Apache Superior Court Judge Donna Grimsley dropped murder charges against an eastern Arizona man because, she says, the accused's rights were violated when he was interviewed by investigators without a lawyer.

Joseph Roberts is believed to have murdered 72-year-old William "Stoney" McCarragher in April of 2007. Authorities allege he also helped William Inmon murder and conceal the body of 60-year-old Daniel Achten two years later.

The case was turned over to the Maricopa County Attorney's Office after the Apache County Attorney's Office was booted off of it because the prosecutor handling Roberts' case discussed a plea deal with him before a preliminary hearing and without an attorney representing Roberts present.

You can listen to what went on during Roberts' interview with the prosecutor here.

"The court is of the view that the flagrant and manipulative subversion of the Sixth Amendment constitutional rights in this case trumps all other considerations and that dismissal is the only remedy that will preserve the defendant's inviolable constitutional right," Grimsley says in her order.

The case was dismissed with prejudice, which means it can't be refiled.

Jerry Cobb, spokesman for the Maricopa County Attorney's Office tells New Times his office can still appeal Judge Grimsley's decision.

"We oppose this decision," Cobb says. "We share the concerns and frustrations the Apache County Attorney mentioned in his press release."

Apache County Attorney Michael Whiting's press release -- as well as an example of an instance where a prosecutor interviewed a defendant without a lawyer and the evidence was simply suppressed -- can be seen here.

"Like the rest of the county we are shocked and left wondering why a judge would do such a thing without referencing any legal authority to do so." County Attorney Michael Whiting said. "Judge Grimsley's decision to release the defendant, who was being held on first degree murder, has re-victimized the victims.""It is frustrating when a court cares more about a defendant's rights than victims' rights, this is a travesty of justice in the 1st degree," Whiting concluded.

Cobb says the MCAO is reviewing its options. He says prosecutors can appeal the decision, but are yet to decide whether to do so.

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I'm not surprised. Sounds like something Hendy (speaking of Hendy, where has he been hiding?) did here in Nazicopa County when he berated Stapley's executive assistant into cooperating with the MCSO's "criminal" investigation into Stapley, two indictments that were dismissed. However, one is before the Court of Appeals and the other before Gila County Attorney Daisy Flores. Schuerman is now suing us for $1.75M, and she retained Michael Manning, the lawyer who represented Scott Norberg's family in the lawsuit stemming from Norberg's '96 jailhouse killing while in Joe's death camps.

I wonder how much this dude will sue the Apache County Attorney's Office for and who he will get for a lawyer?


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The fundamental principles of justice has long been forgotten in Apache County. The Judge did what she felt was the right thing to do. The People have more to fear from the ACA than the person released.

Violating the residents civil rights in Apache County is standard business. They have been covering up their own illegal actions for many years. This case will hopfully bring some light to the good ole boy way of doing thing here in the county.Apache County AKA Hazard County and BOSS HOGG IS KING

Dale Farmer
Dale Farmer

The decision is just, you can't have people in authority. Public Prosecutors, who have better legal knowledge and greater intelligence speaking to their more-often-than-not educational inferiors and striking private sentencing deals and agreements with them. This Prosecutor act even if it was well meant strikes at the function of the Court. It undermines a suspects right to a fair and open trial. When arrested this man was read his rights and the whole trial revolves around our supporting and protecting those rights even if the occasional guilty party walks free. The weak, the underprivledged and the oppressed, scared and bullied need the Courts protection in and out of Court, and this decision illustrates this point. By giving this ruling the Judge is trying to prevent this happening again, he prevents possible future sentencing bribery and corruption taking place and shows the world the Courts displeasure at this illegal act.


Let me say that the "United Forensic College" is the friendliest, most helpful and accessible college out there right now. The Criminal Justice curriculum isn’t going to overwhelm you.

Phoenix Justice
Phoenix Justice

"Like the rest of the county we are shocked and left wondering why a judge would do such a thing without referencing any legal authority to do so." County Attorney Michael Whiting said.

Wait, didn't the judge reference the 6th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution? Isn't that "legal authority" enough?


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