Judge denies request to delay detention officer's deadline to apologize

By Nick R. Martin | November 30th, 2009 | 4:05 pm | 1 Comment »

Judge Gary Donahoe

Judge Gary Donahoe is holding firm on his order that a Maricopa County detention officer must apologize by the end of the day today for taking an attorney’s confidential files or else face jail time.

Donahoe this afternoon denied a request by attorneys for the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office to push back the deadline. The ruling has not yet been made public, but a woman who answered the phone at Donahoe’s office as well as attorney for the sheriff both confirmed it.

Asked what the sheriff’s office planned to do next, deputy county attorney Tom Liddy said he was too busy to discuss it, but, he added, “Be on the lookout for something in a couple hours.”

In what is shaping up to be a showdown in the Maricopa County legal system, Liddy and Sheriff Joe Arpaio have both repeatedly said that detention officer Adam Stoddard would not apologize during a press conference for taking confidential paperwork from a defense attorney last month.

Stoddard was caught on a courtroom security video swiping the file while defense attorney Joanne Cuccia had her back turned to speak before the court. On Nov. 17, Donahoe ordered that Stoddard must hold a news conference to apologize on the plaza of the Maricopa County Superior Courthouse by today or else he would send the young officer to jail for contempt.

Donahoe’s latest decision to deny the delay leaves Stoddard and the sheriff’s office with only a few options: They could ignore the judge’s order outright and force him to issue an arrest warrant; they could ask a higher court to step in at the last minute and grant a delay; or they could hold the news conference and let Stoddard apologize.

There is also the possibility for an Option X, with Arpaio’s office calling some kind of surprise audible at the last minute and doing something no one expects. At this point, it’s anybody’s guess.