Criminal Justice

Deputy Who Took PD’s Document Is in Jail, But Is He in a Cell?

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A Phoenix-area courtroom officer who took a public defender’s document is in jail for refusing to apologize, but it’s not clear if he is in a jail cell.

Adam Stoddard was ordered to publicly apologize for taking the document or to report to jail. He chose the second option. Stoddard said he took the document during an October court hearing and had it copied after he spied suspicious words on it.

Stoddard’s lawyer, Deputy County Attorney Tom Liddy, wouldn’t tell the Phoenix New Times whether the officer was in a jail cell, saying authorities were not releasing “conditions of confinement” as a security precaution.

Liddy did say that Stoddard wasn’t being forced to wear pink underwear or use pink towels like other county inmates.

The judge who ordered Liddy to jail, Gary Donahoe, said Thursday that he couldn’t comment on the case, reports. His refusal to talk comes as the conflict between Donahoe and the sheriff’s department continues to worsen.

Donahoe has been named in a lawsuit and an ethics complaint (PDF) filed by officials in the Maricopa County sheriff’s office.

The ethics complaint accuses Donahoe of possible obstruction of justice and hostility to courtroom staff, according to the Arizona Republic. The complaint says Donahoe’s ruling in the courtroom officer’s case was “bizarre and inappropriate” and he appears to be biased against the sheriff’s office. It also criticizes him for rulings in an investigation of a new criminal court tower and a criminal case against a county supervisor.

The Courthouse News Service has details on the lawsuit that targets Donahoe for disqualifying the county attorney’s office from the tower investigation. The complaints also accuse three other judges of improper conduct.

On Wednesday, about 20 detention officers called in sick to work at the Maricopa County courts building in Phoenix. Arizona Attorney General Terry Goddard said the apparent sickout delayed court actions and produced “horrifying” statistics, reports. “Out of several hundred potential arraignments and other actions in the criminal courts, I think three actually happened and we cannot permit that to continue,” he said.

Updated at 11:25 a.m. to include details from the ethics complaint.

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