Like Michael Nifong, who went to the North Carolina Bar Woodshed four years ago for his role in the Duke Lacrosse Case, Thomas and Aubuchon don't have a chance to keep their law licenses. (I believe that Alexander, who played a minor role, might get off with a reprimand.) Yet, I also believe that these people should have been in the dock long ago before Thomas made the strategic error of becoming Sheriff Joe Arpaio's errand boy.
For example, when Supervisors Don Stapley and Mary Rose Wilcox were indicted on multiple felonies, and Superior Court Judge Gary Donahoe was charged with bribery and other crimes, there also was Susan Schuerman. She had the bad fortune of being Stapley's secretary, and Thomas and Arpaio wanted her to give the DA more ammunition, and what followed was utterly shameful. As reporter Laurie Roberts writes:
Schuerman, 57, has worked for the county for 25 years – 17 as Supervisor Don Stapley's secretary.This simply is sick. Sick. For all of his identity with the Evangelical Right, other people are nothing but pawns for Thomas, people that he uses to help his own political career, and if innocent people are destroyed in the meantime, well, that is "collateral damage" that comes when someone is "rooting out corruption."
She came under the steely gaze of the Sheriff's Office in December 2008, when she returned from a dentist appointment to find detectives waiting for her. Stapley had just been served with a 118-count indictment charging him with failing to publicly disclose loans, real-estate dealings and other assets.
“They take me into this conference room and hand me a grand jury subpoena and say we want to talk to you about the Stapley matter,” she tells me. “I didn't even know what the Stapley matter was.”
Over the next few weeks, Schuerman says Sheriff Joe Arpaio's right-hand man, Chief Deputy Dave Hendershott, hounded her for information, trying to scare her into turning on Stapley. She refused. One, because she says she didn't have any dirt on her boss and two, because she saw this for what it was -- an orchestrated campaign to bring down Stapley and anyone else who dared cross the sheriff.
“Hendershott told me I would be sorry,” she says, “and I was.”
Deputies followed her to lunch. Undercover cops watched her east Phoenix home, leaving her daughter in tears and her neighbors wondering what she'd done.
Then in February 2009, word suddenly “leaked” out to the media that Schuerman was under investigation for using county resources to conduct Stapley's private business and later, bribery. Her office was searched and she was told to leave the building, to go outside where the media pack was waiting.
Declaring her a suspect was an ingenious way to turn up the heat. Thomas blocked the county from giving her an attorney, noting that taxpayers don't provide lawyers to government employees suspected of crimes.
And so Schuerman was on her own.
She had no money for an attorney. She'd raised three kids on a secretary's salary. She'd lived on the financial edge since 2005 when her daughter suffered a stroke on her 21st birthday, one that left her paralyzed and dependent on her mother.
Schuerman, too, was paralyzed -- with fear. That she'd lose her job and her health benefits – all the more precious because she has Crohn's Disease. That she'd be taken to jail and then what would happen to her daughter, Jenifer?
“I wanted to die,” she says. “I didn't know what to do.
What do the Republicans have to say? Their own words expose their perfidy:
Just this week, the chairman of the Maricopa County Republican Party decried the ethics hearing that begins Monday.Right. Unfortunately, the real corruption is found in the DA's office (which STILL is trying to destroy the Jacobson family) and with Joe "Pink Underwear" Arpaio. When there is no accountability with people who have the power to arrest and prosecute, there always will abuse. Always. No exceptions.
“Andy was trying to do the right thing by rooting out corruption,” Rob Haney said.