Detention officers, deputies gather in support of jailed colleague

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PHOENIX -- In a show of solidarity with jailed detention officer Adam Stoddard, 60 to 70 of his fellow detention officers and sworn deputies gathered outside the Maricopa County Superior Courthouse Wednesday afternoon.

In a prepared statement, the Maricopa County Association of Detention Officers said that Stoddard is a victim of an injustice. The association claims Stoddard is a pawn in "an obvious political attack on the sheriff's office and an attempt to humiliate the sheriff."

Stoddard is in jail after being cited for contempt of court after refusing to apologize to a local defense attorney. This all started after Stoddard was seen on courtroom video copying a private letter he lifted from the attorney's file.

Superior Court Judge Gary Donahoe ruled that was a violation of the attorney-client privilege.

The association, however, claims Stoddard was only doing his job to protect jurors, lawyers, victims' families and the judge.

The association is demanding that Stoddard be freed and that his record be cleared. Stoddard is on administrative leave with pay.

ORIGINAL STORY: Detention officer chooses jail over apology to attorney

PHOENIX - A Maricopa County detention officer has decided he will go to jail instead of apologize to a defense attorney.

Adam Stoddard’s decision was announced Tuesday afternoon by his boss, Sheriff Joe Arpaio.

A defiant Adam Stoddard says he has no regrets for taking a letter out of Attorney Joanne Cuccia’s file and having it copied. The court ruled that is a violation of the attorney-client privilege and has held Stoddard in contempt. Contempt also describes how Stoddard’s boss feels about the judge’s ruling.

Sheriff Joe said Tuesday afternoon, "My officer will surrender. I’m not going to say where he will be at for security reasons."

The incident occurred in October during a sentencing hearing for a man suspected of having ties to the notorious prison gang the Mexican Mafia. Four words in a letter caught Stoddard’s eye: Going to steal money.

Stoddard claims to have had the letter copied in case it would later become evidence but Judge Gary Donahoe said that was not reason enough to justify Stoddard’s actions and found him in contempt.

The contempt citation would have been dismissed if Stoddard had apologized to Attorney Joanne Cuccia. Both she and her attorney say it is disturbing that both Stoddard and Arpaio fail to recognize the sanctity of the attorney-client privilege.

Stoddard self-surrendered to MCSO at 6 p.m. on Tuesday.