Cty Atty. asks Court of Appeals to intervene in Stapley case

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The following is a news release from the Maricopa County Attorney's Office.

PHOENIX -- In order to resolve critical issues involving the criminal case against Maricopa County Supervisor Donald Stapley and related investigations, the County Attorney's Office has filed petitions for special action asking the Arizona Court of Appeals to intervene.

One petition, filed as a public record, states in part:

"The State of Arizona requests intervention from this Court to ensure the State can receive a fair and impartial tribunal and complete important criminal investigations related to this case. Because the leadership of the Maricopa County Superior Court is improperly interjecting itself into this case and related investigations, the defendant, a prominent Maricopa County official, is receiving preferential treatment and protection from the criminal law.

"Judicial officers of the Maricopa County Superior Court have disregarded the rules of court, state statutes, and binding decisions from this Court and the Arizona Supreme Court in granting this treatment to the defendant."

The petition goes on to note a series of improper actions by senior Maricopa County Superior Court judges in the Stapley case and in a related investigation of Conley Wolfswinkel. Wolfswinkel is a convicted felon and business associate of Supervisor Stapley. A second petition for special action involves a matter under seal at this time.

The petition filed as a public record notes a series of extraordinary actions taken by senior Superior Court judges to benefit the defendant in violation of court rules and Arizona law. These include: the presiding judge of Maricopa County Superior Court went outside the random selection process to choose personally a judge biased against the State; other judges have refused to hear the State's motion to disqualify this judge, in violation of the court's own rules; a senior judge suggested that the defendant accuse the prosecution of bias and now has agreed to hold an unprecedented hearing on this allegation, an action that could jeopardize ongoing criminal investigations and expose witnesses to retaliation; etc. Exhibits related to the petition are available upon public records request.