Court Rules Against Arizona Deputy on Swiping Lawyer’s Note — Arpaio To Defy Court

There has been a ruling in the Arizona case where an officer, Officer Adam Stoddard with the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office is clearly shown on this videotape reading and then swiping the confidential papers of defense attorney Joanne Cuccia in court. Maricopa County Superior Court Judge Gary Donahoe found against Stoddard and ordered him to either apologize or report to jail — a remarkably light sentence. However, his boss is Sheriff Joe Arpaio who has said that his officer will defy the order.

Stoddard swiped the papers while defense attorney Joanne Cuccia was addressing the court on behalf of her client, Antonio Lozano. The response of Judge Lisa Flores was remarkably understated and restrained given the horrific breach of confidentiality.

Before Donahoe, Stoddard’s explanation only magnified his misconduct. He claimed that he saw the words “going to,” “steal,” and “money” on a handwritten sheet of paper sticking out of Cuccia’s file, which led him to believe that Lozano posed a security threat. This confirms that he read the document as opposed to a cursory review of material for contraband or weapons. It is also ridiculous that such words would cause an officer to remove confidential notes — written by an attorney — in a criminal case. Most of the attorneys in that courthouse are representing people with records and have notes including such nouns and verbs.

Stoddard ordered an apology to Cuccia or jail. Many believed that Stoddard should have been fired or, in the very least, barred from work in courthouses. Arpaio, however, has declared that he will defy the order. Arpaio is the most controversial sheriff in the country and is routinely accused of abusive practices. On this occasion, he is defending his deputies pulling handwritten notes from the files of lawyers to be copied and reviewed.

For the story, click here.

32 thoughts on “Court Rules Against Arizona Deputy on Swiping Lawyer’s Note — Arpaio To Defy Court”

  1. As a former AZ resident for 12 yrs, not of Maricopa Cty, but of a county to the north of it, why doesn’t this all surprise me? Navajo Cty is just as bad. They have an uneducated staff at the Government Center, they can’t send out a legal form without getting the names mixed up between petitioner and respondent or have everything misspelled. There is religious collusion between the attorneys with some of the judges so, in some cases, you can’t get a fair hearing or trial, unless you are of that religious persuasion. Unless you ask for a change of judge, one that you are positive is not of that religious persuasion, you stand a poor chance with your day in court.

    AZ does have its good points, though. Some things that go on in the neighboring state of NM, make some things they do in AZ pale in comparison.

    Ah, yes. I remember the good old days, when, as a teen, growing up in PA and a local police officer in an Eastern PA city was kicked out of the police force for making an illegal wiretap. That was in the early 1970’s. My, have times changed.

  2. The judge’s conduct here should be reviewed. It seems from the video that she surrendered control of her courtroom to the “Big Bad Sheriff” a long time ago. If she felt she could do nothing to stop this deputy, there’s little hope for a fair adjudication in that county. Where is the ACLU when it’s really needed?

  3. M72 wrote:

    “the Governor will certainly enforce an order the sheriff ignores.”

    Ah, but you do not know of Arizona’s prayin’ Republican ‘Governess’. She halts her deliberations with staff to pray with them for guidance and the State’s budget is still in shambles. Gawd will whisper in her ear that Arpaio is a patron saint and not the villain Sheriff of Nottingham ‘robbin’ the hood’.

  4. Sheriff Joe Arpaio is the leader of an INHUMANE SYSTEM in Maricopa County, AZ and employees follow his every move. Control, power, money is their motive. Step on whomever they can to get these three goals. Human lives have long been lost in the shuffle. Taxpayers dollars are adding up in the billions now since Arpaio’s takeover as he thinks of himself King. His sick demented torture mind however makes him sadistic. Tent City example of his media blasting 138 degrees with a thermometer inside a tent with humans is oven like feeling that only a devil could show. Sheriff Joe Arpaio is not only a MEDIA HOUND, but a horric sense of non naturist man. Let’s stop this leader before another death in Tent City Jails. Contact me to get our movie out sooner than 2010.
    Alison Hicks
    Author/Movie Creator

  5. TomD.Arch:

    “It looks like we are in such deep doodoo that we really have to ask, “If the judge orders the deputy to jail, who has the guns to take him there?”


    Don’t worry this is all bluster preparing the way for some face-saving compromise. The high sheriff knows that the state police don’t care a wit about his jurisdiction and the Governor will certainly enforce an order the sheriff ignores. the only wild card is that this judge looks more like Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm that John Sirica, but no matter, justice always gets her day–just sometimes delayed.

  6. Top Ten Reasons to recall Joe

    7: Arpaio routinely abuses his authority for personal, political, and vindictive reasons.

    Two Republicans and an Independent running against Arpaio have all alleged abuses of power on the part of Sheriff Arpaio. In 2002, the county settled a lawsuit out of court with former employee Steve Barnes for wrongful termination after he blew the whistle on questionable tactics by the sheriff’s office.

    Barnes claimed that Arpaio’s office wiretapped former Arpaio aide Tom Bearup and that it had targeted County Attorney Rick Romley for surveillance. Bearup, W. Steven Martin and Dan Saban, all running for sheriff against Arpaio this year, have also reported that they have been followed and harassed by sheriff’s deputies.

  7. It looks like we are in such deep doodoo that we really have to ask, “If the judge orders the deputy to jail, who has the guns to take him there?” This slimy “sheriff” has the guns, so he is the law. Given the bizarrely impassive response of the judge to the deputy’s action at the time, I’d be surprised if she doesn’t just roll over and find a way to resolve this to the preferences of the sheriff.

    If we’re really lucky, he’ll do something stupid and violate a state or federal law.

    Also, just as impeaching and removing W would have given us “President Cheney,” be careful what you wish for in replacing this guy – this is a part of Arizona that has re-elected him several times…

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