Over the next few months, we will be selecting a new Maricopa County attorney. The job entails far more than just prosecuting people who are suspected of committing crimes.
The job description of the county attorney according to the Arizona Revised Statutes is almost 700 words long. The Maricopa County attorney is the lawyer for the county who provides services to 5 million residents, 27 communities, 70 county departments with a budget totaling $4.5 billion. The county attorney has 1,000 employees, including some 400 lawyers.
We need to look seriously at who wants to run the County Attorney’s Office, who can represent county government, prosecute crimes honestly and efficiently and fix an office that’s been struggling since now disbarred County Attorney Andrew Thomas was elected in 2004.
Thomas, a novice lawyer, talked tough and climbed into political bed with then-Sheriff Joe Arpaio to profile and target immigrants they believed were in Maricopa County without proper documents. They also targeted elected official considered to be political enemies, including county supervisors and sitting Superior Court judges.
Thomas was finally attorney-andrew-thomas-disbarred-ethics-violations” data-ylk=”slk:disbarred for ethical violations and abusing the office” class=”link “disbarred for ethical violations and abusing the office, but only after he had resigned to run for state attorney general. Arpaio was found in contempt by a federal judge and lost his reelection bid. Their conduct caused in multiple lawsuits that cost the county millions and the sheriff’s office under the strict supervision of the federal courts.
Thomas was followed by Bill Montgomery, another tough talker with limited legal experience who reportedly montgomery-spent-400-k-building-arsenal-county-attorneys-office/3657590001/” data-ylk=”slk:spent $400,000 arming his own police force” class=”link “spent $400,000 arming his own police force within the County Attorney’s Office. Montgomery was also cozy with Arpaio who endorsed Montgomery after Thomas resigned.
Montgomery also became