Don Stapley Case Dropped by Gila County Prosecutor; Thomas and Aubuchon "Abdicated" Roles as Fair Prosecutors

 

Don Stapley is no longer under the threat of criminal prosecution.
​Maricopa County Supervisor Don Stapley has escaped a second criminal case leveled at him by Sheriff Joe Arpaio and former County Attorney Andrew Thomas.

 

Gila County Attorney Daisy Flores has decided not to charge Stapley for his alleged wrongdoing in a case that new records show was manufactured in part for the media attention.

Two years ago, following an indictment of Stapley on his failure to disclose various business relationships on financial forms, Arpaio's office made it known it was checking into other allegations against Stapley.

After Arpaio's Maricopa Anti-Corruption Enforcement team raided the Tempe office of a business associate of Stapley's, Conley Wolfswinkel, in January 2009, Arpaio claimed in a press release that Stapley was implicated in a "bribery" scheme.

Nothing ever came of the bribery allegation, but the MACE investigators did cobble together a case based loosely on business deals between Wolfswinkel and Stapley, as well as on fund-raising Stapley did during his effort to become president of the National Association of Counties.

In a letter to Maricopa County Bill Montgomery (see below), Flores called the behavior of Thomas and the former deputy county attorney he used in politically charged cases, Lisa Aubuchon, "egregious."

Flores wrote that the conduct alleged against Stapley can't be proven, and that anyone who's finanicial life was "sifted through in minute detail" might appear to have committed some "unknowing wrong-doing.

"The vast record is littered with behavior so egregious ... that a reasonable person's sense of fairness, honesty, and integrity would be offended," she wrote. "It seems unlikely that any other elected official in Maricopa County has had their personal life subjected to this level of scrutiny.

"Importantly, the prior prosecutors [Aubuchon and Thomas] in this matter abdicated their roles as ministers of justice and their conduct was so egregious that we are unwilling to even attempt to justify it."

The news obviously gives a boost to the lawsuit by Stapley against the county, even though taxpayers would have to shell out the $15 million he wants if he wins.

"Finally, the long nightmare is over," Stapley said in a written statement.

As past news stories and the newly release records from an internal investigation of Arpaio's office shows, Stapley was mistreated by the biased sheriff and former county attorney.

Thomas and Aubuchon worked up the financial-disclosure case against him in 2007, apparently coming up with it themselves. Stapley was indicted by a grand jury in December  2008 with 117 misdemeanors and felonies. But it turned out Stapley wasn't legally required to fill out the forms. It also turned out that the misdemeanors, upon which the felonies were based, had been filed even though the statute of limitations on the counts had expired.

flores daisy crop 1.jpg
Daisy Flores, Gila County Attorney, thinks former County Attorney Andrew Thomas "abdicated" his role as a fair minister of justice.

Thomas gave the Stapley investigations to Yavapai County Attorney Sheila Polk to avoid being sanctioned by a judge for having a conflict of interest in the cases. (Lawyers from Thomas' office had once advised Stapley on how to fill out his financial disclosure forms.)

 

When the disclosure case fell apart on Friday, May 18, 2009, because of Thomas' lack of understanding about the law, Arpaio ordered the arrest of Stapley that Monday on the second case.

Yet Polk had told him the previous week that the second Stapley case wasn't ready to move forward. A report by Pinal County Sheriff Paul Babeu's office into misconduct inside the MCSO shows that oneMACE supervisor, Lieutenant Rich Burden, also felt the case was too weak for an arrest.

The legal community was shocked at the arrest, which had no prosecutorial backing and appeared to have been conducted solely to satisfy Arpaio's ego.

Later, Polk told Arpaio she disagreed with his decision to arrest Stapley and he went off on her, declaring that he had probable cause for the arrest and no one could tell him differently. Arpaio and Thomas took back the case from Polk and later gave it to Flores.

The inability to nail Stapley is the kicker to a long line of tainted, failed MACE cases. Arpaio and Thomas also lost in their efforts to prosecute supervisors Mary Rose Wilcox and Andy Kunasek and Superior Court Judge Gary Donahoe. Last year, they canceled a ludicrous RICO suit against county leaders. Then, Thomas quit his job as county attorney and failed to beat Tom Horne in the race for state Attorney General. Thomas is now facing possible disbarment in a discipline hearing set for this fall on the matter.


UPDATE: Here's the letter from Flores. Arpaio, Thomas, and Aubuchon, who don't come off looking very good in it. But then, neither does Stapley:

Flores Stapley Let


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30 comments
Jason
Jason

@ Ray Stern: When was Kunasek ever subjected to prosecution by our mentally unstable and delusional former county attorney? I remember him being subjected to a BS "investigation" by another mentally ill public official, the Senile Spinster, over $15K that was "misspent" for bug-sweeps...I don't believe anythign ever came to fruition......

Tommy Collins
Tommy Collins

[".....Arpaio ordered the arrest of Stapley that Monday on the second case.

Yet Polk had told him the previous week that the second Stapley case wasn't ready to move forward. The Babeu report shows that one of the MACE supervisors, Lieutenant Rich Burden, also felt the case was too weak for an arrest.

The legal community was shocked at the arrest, which had no prosecutorial backing and appeared to have been conducted solely to satisfy Arpaio's ego."]

There ya go, Mr. Stern, confusing me with facts.

All this time I was steadfastly believing that the Flaccid Fool of MCSO (FF) had no knowledge of any of the workings of MCSO, according to his very recent testimony about same. I thought that Hendy 'filtered' information from the FF and kept him walking around in a vapor of ignorance. Imposed ignorance, as opposed to his natural ignorance, of course.

The above quoted information leads me to believe the FF really did have an idea what was going on with the corruption and criminality within MCSO.....

Goodness, I feel such a fool for having believed it...(pure sarcasm intended).  

Gerry_C
Gerry_C

How would this have worked out if Thomas has his dream team celebrity prosecutors that he sought to appoint before he went to Flores.  I would hope they would have cost us a lot of money to tell Thomas he was an idiot.  But they were not apointed as independent prosecutors.  They were subordinate to Thomas.   

Ross
Ross

Stapley is a Maricopa County Republican, isn't he?  That makes him guilty, right there. 

Public Outcry!
Public Outcry!

 In the rush to "cell Arizona", convictions = $$$'s. Would be interested to know how many of these individuals are "invested" in prison growth? It's a sick game they've all been playing. Immigrants For Sale « SpeakEasy

http://blogs.alternet.org/spea..."It’s hardly a secret that private prison corporations like Corrections Corporation of America and The GEO group, along with right-wing lobbying group ALEC (American Legislative Exchange Council) and a few pocketed state legislators like Russell Pearce in Arizona, have been at it–deliberately promoting and designing laws aimed at incarcerating immigrants and turning the prison system into an incredibly lucrative business."

RetiredArmy
RetiredArmy

"The vast record is littered with behavior so egregious [on the part of Arpaio, Thomas, and others] that a reasonable person's sense of fairness, honesty and integrity would be offended," 

So where is the DOJ?

Jason
Jason

I wonder if Stapley will amend his claim and add more money to it?

It seems to me that the Flaccid Fool and his mentally unstable right nut really are delusional. They had absolutely no evidence to corroborate their claims, and this was nothing but a waste of taxpayer money. Thomas & Co. knew that the 44 charges were past the statute of limitations.

Lisa Aubuchon told me personally that she's convinced all the people she and Thomas charged are guilty. Well, I guess the last laugh is on her. Stapley's now laughing all the way to the bank when he goes to cash that $15 million check that gets cut as a result of his federal lawsuit against the county. 

I bet that the federal GJ will want to examine this letter from Ms. Flores. I also suspect that she may be called to testify to the federal GJ about her office's findings. I further suspect that Sheila Polk, the Yavapai County Attorney, will also be summoned to appear before the federal GJ and provide testimony.

Gerry_C
Gerry_C

"Arpaio and Thomas have never looked more like a couple of losers, now that Stapley has bested them again."

I am not sure that Stapley bested them.  I believe that this is an indication that our justice system, with all its flaws simply won't tolerate things that are way out of bounds.  But, it sure takes a lot of time and money. 

Add the funds spent on this baseless investigation, charges, prosecution, lawsuits over special prosecutors, defense, etc.  How much of an economic stimulus did Arpaio and Thomas create for lawyers in this mess?  Economic stimulus for all involved but Thomas and Aubuchon. 

Gerry_C
Gerry_C

Another way of looking at it is that Daisy Flores has joined the conspiracy of powerful people that are thwarting the rule of law and obstructing duly elected prosecutors, a duly elected county sheriff, and their deputies from prosecuting them for serious corruption in Maricopa County.  Somebody needs to get to the bottom of this. 

Don Stapley must have substantial power indeed to pied piper all these people into his corrupt web. 

Just trying to imagine what Thomas would say.  Not serious about the above comments.

Gerry_C
Gerry_C

'Arpaio claimed in a press release that Stapley was implicated in a "bribery" scheme.'

When making this press release, did AARPaio have anything at all to base it on?  What implicated Stapley in a bribery scheme?  Or was Arpaio just making it up to humiliate Stapley and build public support for his actions?  Or did Arpaio have an inflamed hemorrhoid that was pinching his neck and restricting blood to his brain?

If not supported by evidence, that is pure slander and libel from the top law enforcement authority in the county. 

Fuckoffjoe
Fuckoffjoe

 "Arpaio and Thomas have never looked more like a couple of losers, now that Stapley has bested them again."

Perhaps not, but we are insulting 'losers' by comparing these imbeciles to them.  They'll look more like 'felons' soon.

Gerry_C
Gerry_C

They tried to indict Kunasek and the GJ told them to drop the inquiry I believe.  That is in the Bar complaint against Abuchon and Thomas I believe.

Jason
Jason

I seem to remember a comment the Pillsbury Doughboy (Hendershott) made on the huge SCA PDF's that the AG's Office released awhile back. Blimpie called Thomas an idiot. I think I agreed with The Henderblimp in regards to that comment..... 

Tommy Collins
Tommy Collins

 It's interesting,isn't it, that the FF and Thomas went prosecutor shopping within the Republican party and found two professional ladies who didn't bow to their needs and demands? Kudos to those ladies.....

Jason
Jason

What does Stapley's political affiliations have to do with this latest revelation and release of MCSO/MCAO corruption and malfeasance? While the Gila CA stated that there were 7 felonies for which Stapley could be tried and convicted, she elected not to prosecute due to the sloppy investigative work of the Senile Spinster and Candy Ass Thomas.

Mistalee
Mistalee

Reasonable people with a sense of fairness, honesty and integrity are probably not well represented at the DOJ.

Concerned Citizen / Taxpayer
Concerned Citizen / Taxpayer

 And no one has even touched on the "ordinary" people / taxpayers who have been taken down under the reign of abuse of power and corruption! Thomas bragged about his 200,000 convictions during his unsuccessful primary campaign for state attorney general. How many are innocent?  How many have been over-sentenced? It's time for an independent investigation of the mess that's been the MCAO!  Is all this being ignored?

Tommy Collins
Tommy Collins

 Gerry, trying to get inside Thomas' mind may not be a good thing. It could be very dangerous in there...

Jason
Jason

Strange, I never saw this info in either NT or the Arizona Republic. Thanks Gerry. Does anyone know if that Bar complaint is subject to Arizona's Public-Records Law? I want to examine that complaint....... 

Jason
Jason

You make some good points.

Yavapai County Attorney Sheila Polk told Blimpie to F off when it came to issuing subpoenas for the MCBOS. She also publicly outed both the Senile Spinster and Candy Andy Thomas in an op-ed piece she wrote.

Gila County Attorney Daisy Flores told Aubuchon to take a walk after Aubuchon tried to force her to take on the BS "bug-sweeping case" and the Judge Donahoe "case".

It's nice to see that this state does have some professionals who actually care about the rule of law.....

Gerry_C
Gerry_C

Republicans should stand for the rule of law.  These two seem to do just that. 

Gerry_C
Gerry_C

 That is an extremely important position.  Ordinary people can't fight back.  They just get screwed.

Gerry-c
Gerry-c

It is out there.

Azcentral and NT have it posted among others.

Jason
Jason

@Tommy:

Exactly Gerry's point. The ordinary citizen, like Coz for example, gets screwed over by the Senile Spinster and Candy Andy Thomas. They fight whatever allegations are thrown at them and prevail. I agreed with Gerry because those that do fight back, like Coz, get thrown under the bus. Coz knows firsthand what these mentally ill individuals are capable of. I am not saying that Coz was/is not a victim of the Flaccid Fool. He is. I told him that it sucked what happened to him. Gerry's position is a correct one. Hence, my agreement. 

Tommy Collins
Tommy Collins

 Jason, to Coz's credit he DID fight back, and he prevailed. But he was STILL a victim of MCSO...

Jason
Jason

Well said Gerry. Just ask people like Coz.... 

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