Is the Stoddard judge lenient toward violent criminals?

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PHOENIX -- The Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office claims the Superior Court judge who found Stoddard in contempt has a history of being lenient toward violent criminals. The MCSO cites six cases as evidence of the judge’s inconsistency -- an inconsistency that confuses Sheriff Joe Arpaio.

The sheriff claims presiding Criminal Court Judge Gary Donahoe’s dislike of him is what is behind the continued jailing of detention officer Adam Stoddard. The officer was found in contempt of court for refusing to apologize after copying privileged material from a defense attorney’s file.

In a press release, Christopher Sandoval is one of six examples cited by the MCSO of Donahoe sentencing a violent prisoner to probation. But according to court records, that’s not entirely true. In January of last year, Sandoval was sentenced to probation for possession of drugs. He would begin the sentence after he finished serving 12 years in prison for armed robbery.

Steve Eilers is another example cited by the MCSO. He also received probation for solicitation of perjury. But again court records show the sentence would begin only after Eilers served five years for armed robbery.

A month before, David Earl Sharp was sent to prison for forgery. He pleaded guilty to theft as part of a plea negotiation agreed to by the county attorney’s office. Sharp is another of the cases cited by the MCSO.

Of the three remaining cases cited by the sheriff, two subjects received probation as the result of plea agreements. Another man, originally tried for child abuse, received probation after being found guilty of a lesser charge.

Meanwhile, detention officer Stoddard remains jailed in an undisclosed location.