As I previously reported, two weeks ago, one of Arpaio's deputies, Adam Stoddard, during court proceedings, took documentation from the defendent's lawyer's folder and copied it, without asking permission from the lawyer or the court. A hearing was held. The deputy admitted he took the paperwork and had it copied. This morning, Stoddard was found in contempt of court for taking documents out of defense attorney Joanne Cuccia's files as she was addressing the court at a sentencing hearing for her client, Antonio Lozano. (Actions caught on video -- check it out here. )
The officer, Adam Stoddard, defended his actions by claiming that certain words on the papers were suspicious. Sheriff Joe himself went on the defensive by attacking the defense attorney, issuing a press release linking the defense attorney Cuccia with two local attorneys (libel?), who were recently arrested on suspicion of smuggling contraband into jails. Cuccia told the judge that the sheriff's associating her with the lawyers suspected of smuggling contraband could damage her professional reputation.
In response, Superior Court Judge Gary Donahoe got creative. He ordered that as punishment, Officer Adam Stoddard hold a press conference and apologize to Cuccia by November 30. If not, he is ordered to report to jail by December 1. That's when Arpaio overstepped his bounds. "My officer was doing his job, and I will not stand by and allow him to be thrown to the wolves by the courts because they feel pressure from the media on this situation," Arpaio says in a press release. "I decide who holds press conferences and when they are held regarding this Sheriff's Office." Arpaio is now refusing to respond to the media and pawned off any media inquiries on the County Attorney's Office -- it has yet to return phone calls.
Arpaio Pissed Over Judge's Ruling that MCSO Detention Officer Must Hold Apologetic Press Conference or Go to Jail