Siouxsie Says, “Always Watch Your Back.”

Siouxsie is aghast.

An officer with the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office is in hot water after reading through a defense attorney’s confidential file. The officer did this right behind the attorney’s back while she was addressing the court at a sentencing hearing.

See for yourself. This video starts to get good at :42, and gets even better at 1:24 when the officer signals another officer to the table and gives him the confidential paper to copy. What??? As far as Siouxsie knows, this is not cool in any jurisdiction.
The only one who takes note of the whole thing and says anything about it is the defendant (he knew to watch his back).

What is even worse is the judge’s nonplussed reaction to the event. It is easy to condemn the officers, but the judge is the real wrongdoer in this video. She seems to have had a view of the whole incident, but said nothing. When it is brought to her attention, she tries to give some kind of justification for the officer’s behavior. And she even seems to criticize the defense attorney for trying to make an issue of it.

Siouxsie thinks the judge needs to answer for this incident too. Here is hoping that the judge has a date with Arizona’s Commission on Judicial Conduct.*

* Of course, it is easy for Siouxsie to say this because she does not ever plan to practice in Arizona. For one, it is just too hot and sunny. Second, Siouxsie is sure that this post will get her on some kind of secret bad attorney list.

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~ by siouxsielaw on November 6, 2009.

7 Responses to “Siouxsie Says, “Always Watch Your Back.””

  1. Unbelievable and outrageous!!?! How is this not contempt of court for those two officers?!? I just read that in Arizona, it’s considered acceptable practice for court officers to inspect documents for hidden contraband or weapons. Ok… that might be acceptable when you’re entering a courtroom. but there was nothing cursory about the officer’s examination and COPYING(!!!) of the document. I just read and wholeheartedly agree with this blogger’s post regarding the matter: http://bit.ly/4l9chF

    • Isn’t it crazy? The judge’s reaction (or lack thereof) is just as shocking. It will be interesting to watch if more is said about that in the next few days.

  2. Here’s the latest news on the follow-up hearing… http://www.azcentral.com/arizonarepublic/local/articles/2009/11/06/20091106mcsocourtdocs1106.html

  3. I have read that the Officer believed that the documents were evidence of a crime, which would provide justification. I don’t know enough about the law to say if that is correct or not. And I don’t know enough about the facts of this matter to form an opinion as to whether the Officer is being truthful. But I do know that frequently we do not get the whole story, so rushing to judgment is a bad policy. Perhaps when Judge Donahoe has issued his ruling, all the facts will be in the open.

    In addition to the Az Republic, Heatcity.org has been covering the matter. For what its worth, many people, myself included, believe that the Republic is biased against the County Sheriff, which might influence its coverage of this matter. (The paper seems to attribute all bad acts in the Department to the Sheriff himself, which is, to me, one of the indicators of bias.)

    I found this incident remarkable for another reason: the event was in the news when it happened. Then a week or two later, the video was being posted on who knows how many websites, but I saw it on at least five.

  4. You have got to be kidding me! That is totally freaking outrageous.

    But what do you expect from a couple of Sheriff Joe’s boys?

    Arizona apparently remains a territory trying to act like a state.

  5. […] Says, “Always Watch Your Back.” A few weeks ago, Maricopa County made national news when a deputy swiped a public defender’s confidential […]

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