Police suspected Tempe judge of stabbing wife but dropped investigation

Posted: Updated:
Some are raising questions why it took so long for a Tempe judge to get arrested on domestic violence charges. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5) Some are raising questions why it took so long for a Tempe judge to get arrested on domestic violence charges. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)
Thomas Robinson was arrested nearly a month after the knife attack. (Source: Maricopa County Sheriff's Office) Thomas Robinson was arrested nearly a month after the knife attack. (Source: Maricopa County Sheriff's Office)
Diego Rodriguez, a longtime defense attorney and former prosecutor, also questioned if Robinson was given preferential treatment because of his powerful position. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5) Diego Rodriguez, a longtime defense attorney and former prosecutor, also questioned if Robinson was given preferential treatment because of his powerful position. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)
Det. Seth Tyler, a spokesman for the department, said Tuesday that they were "skeptical" of Robinson's story from the start. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5) Det. Seth Tyler, a spokesman for the department, said Tuesday that they were "skeptical" of Robinson's story from the start. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)
The documents also show that Robinson and his wife, "did not want any prosecution or investigation" so "no further investigation occurred."  (Source: 3TV/CBS 5) The documents also show that Robinson and his wife, "did not want any prosecution or investigation" so "no further investigation occurred."  (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)
CHANDLER, AZ (3TV/CBS 5) -

Chandler police suspected Judge Thomas Robinson of stabbing his wife nearly a dozen times last month but dropped the investigation because there "wasn't enough physical evidence." 

It wasn't until police received a call from a crisis hotline center last week -- nearly a month after the knife attack -- that police followed up and arrested the judge where he worked at Tempe City Court. 

[READ MORE: Police: Tempe judge admits stabbing wife 10 times, said he and wife 'stonewalled' detectives]

The case has left some critics questioning why authorities didn't pursue the case harder, especially if they had a "hunch" Robinson's wife was living in a potentially dangerous situation. 

Diego Rodriguez, a longtime defense attorney and former prosecutor, also questioned if Robinson was given preferential treatment because of his powerful position. 

"Above and beyond the potential threat this could have posed for the general public in that neighborhood ... let's talk about the importance that we don't have two different systems of justice going on here in our county and our community," said Rodriguez, who ran for Maricopa County Attorney last year. 

At the very least, Rodriguez said investigators should have asked for a warrant to search Robinson's home in Chandler for evidence following the Aug. 25 stabbing. 

[WATCH RAW VIDEO: Robinson's initial court appearance]

Rodriguez also said detectives should have conducted follow-up interviews with Robinson and his wife and questioned the judge's neighbors. 

But Chandler police never followed up.

"In my experience, I don't know too many detectives who simply stop at that point if they think this story doesn't add up. My experience tells me they keep pushing," Rodriguez said. 

On the morning of the attack (Aug. 25), Robinson told detectives that he'd taken his dogs for a walk and returned to find his wife bleeding from her wounds. 

According to police records, the judge waited several hours before taking his wife to the hospital where medical staff documented 10 stab wounds. 

"They eventually went because one of her injuries would not stop bleeding," police records said. 

Before they went to the hospital, records show, "they agreed together as to the story they would tell." 

The couple gave police the same story about an unknown intruder when detectives questioned them separately, according to police records. 

The documents also show that Robinson and his wife, "did not want any prosecution or investigation" so "no further investigation occurred."  

Det. Seth Tyler, a spokesman for the department, said Tuesday that they were "skeptical" of Robinson's story from the start. 

He added the department's hands were tied because both Robinson and his wife did not want to pursue an investigation and police did not have permission to search the house. 

"We work on fact. We did not have any facts. We did not have an independent witness that [sic] said, 'We heard an attack in the home,' we did not have any physical evidence," Tyler said. 

In addition, Tyler said there were two recent calls for a domestic disturbance at Robinson's home. 

The first one, he said, happened the day before the stabbing and the second happened shortly after. 

Tyler said there wasn't enough probable cause to ask the courts for a warrant to search Robinson's home. 

Following Robinson's arrest last week, police records show they found "two objects with what appeared to be blood splatter on them." 

In the month between the stabbing and the arrest, police records said Robinson admitted to throwing away evidence. 

He and his wife also admitted to lying to police and Robinson eventually "admitted to stabbing (his wife) multiple times out of anger."  

Click/tap here to download the free azfamily mobile app.

Copyright 2017 KPHO/KTVK (KPHO Broadcasting Corporation). All rights reserved.


Dennis WlechVeteran political reporter Dennis Welch is a well-respected political expert in Arizona.

Dennis Welch
Political Editor

Before making the move to television, Welch wrote and edited for the Arizona Guardian, a highly influential online news site dedicated to Arizona politics and government where he served as owner and editor. During his Guardian days, Welch was a frequent guest on “Politics Unplugged” and has been a regular fixture on the state political landscape since 2005 appearing on numerous radio and television talk shows. “I am thrilled to start working with such a talented and dedicated staff of journalists,” said Welch. “This is a great opportunity to broaden the reach of my political coverage and tell stories that affect Arizona voters and their families.” With more than 13 years of experience under his belt, Welch’s arrival only strengthens 3TV’s commitment to providing first-rate political and government coverage across all platforms. When not covering politics, Welch is an avid runner and fronts a punk rock band that plays frequently throughout the Southwest and California. Welch is a well-respected political expert in Arizona and his addition means 3TV will provide a stronger, more robust political presence in Arizona. He joins 3TV from the Arizona Guardian, a highly influential online news site dedicated to Arizona politics and government where he served as owner and editor. During his Guardian days, Welch was a frequent guest on “Politics Unplugged” and has been a regular fixture on the state political landscape since 2005 appearing on numerous radio and television talk shows. “I am thrilled to start working with such a talented and dedicated staff of journalists,” said Welch. “This is a great opportunity to broaden the reach of my political coverage and tell stories that affect Arizona voters and their families.” With more than 13 years of experience under his belt, Welch’s arrival only strengthens 3TV’s commitment to providing first-rate political and government coverage across all platforms. When not covering politics, Welch is an avid runner and fronts a punk rock band that plays frequently throughout the Southwest and California.

Hide bio