Arizona Republic columnist Rob Robb—who is by no definition a lib—weighs in on yesterday's revelations about Andrew Thomas' obsessive legal pursuit of his political opponents:
We have a dense thicket of criminal laws, way too many of them loosely worded. Prosecutors can wreck people's lives. A dismissal or an acquittal doesn't get things back to even. The potential to abuse prosecutorial power is incalculable.
Addressing the news from yesterday involving Thomas' pursuit of judges and other other Maricopa County officials:
The only evidence Thomas and Arpaio have ever offered in support of their allegation of a corrupt agreement is the accusation that Stapley insisted that a particular lawyer with a variety of interconnections be hired for the court building. However, they have produced no evidence of the quid-pro-quo agreement — court building for protection against criminal investigation — they allege.
Charges this serious shake the foundation of an independent judiciary and democratic governance. Making the accusations public without having them thoroughly nailed down is grossly irresponsible.
But Thomas and Arpaio's offense is even graver than that, as the unsealing of the grand jury proceedings in the court building case, successfully sought by interim County Attorney Rick Romley, demonstrates.
After hearing a full presentation from Thomas' office, a grand jury voted in March of this year to “end the inquiry.” That meant that the grand jury not only thought there was no probable cause that crimes had been committed, it thought the investigation should be ended.
A law enforcement official with the appropriate temperament and judgment would have accepted the grand jury's judgment and moved on. A law enforcement official with any sense of decency would have at least stopped making public accusations about the matter.
Read the whole thing here.