Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Thomas and Aubuchon should have been investigated years ago

While I welcome the investigation that the Arizona State Bar has made against former Maricopa County DA Andrew Thomas and his partners-in-crime Lisa Aubuchon and Rachel Alexander, nonetheless, I cannot help but note that the bar and the media in Arizona (and especially in Phoenix) were all-too-happy to paint these people as heroes as long as they were abusing people who did not have political connections. In other words, I am saying that as long as the DA's office went after people like Courtney Bisbee who were not politically wired into the establishment, the media (other than the Phoenix New Times) simply went along with whatever the authorities wanted them to believe and ignored the abuse.

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.

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.
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."

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.

“Andy was trying to do the right thing by rooting out corruption,” Rob Haney said.
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.

8 comments:

Lookout Observer said...

Glad things went well for you on your trip to Latvia, Bill.

It's good to know you are back to work on the "usual suspects."

Any chance you can post a link to a copy of the complaint?

liberranter said...

Status quo for Maricona County and its corrupt, criminal "enforcer" class.

Daniel Horne said...

I am one of Thomas' victims. I also have the distinction of personally knowing Don Stapley and Susan Schuerman, two more of tens of thousands of Thomas' victims. I can tell you something very personal about both of them--they are two of the finest people I have had the pleasure to spend time with while living in the Phoenix area. I spoke out early about Thomas, wrote a book about the predation of Thomas and Arpaio on the residents of Maricopa County. Went on television and radio to be very public that Andrew Thomas "is the most dangerous man in Arizona" while he was county attorney. Wrote the Arizona Bar more than once. Wrote Mr. Gleason, whom the Arizona Supreme Court appointed to investigate Thomas. Worked tirelessly on Tom Horne's bid for attorney general so that Thomas could not spread his unbounded greed for political power throughout the entire state--a bid that Horne won by less than 1,000 votes in the primary. I did all of these things and more and I am but one soldier in an Army of good citizens attempting to recover from the economic and social disaster named Andrew Thomas.

You are quite correct in your perception of people celebrating the evil that is Andrew Thomas. I have written about this hypnotic state the general population seems to be living in. Like populations of people near concentrations camps in World War II, the propaganda out performs the sense of horror and personal danger the residents are truly living in.

The worst is yet in front of them and they have no concept of its impending impact on their lives. This is the social dis-ease that gave rise to a criminal like Andrew Thomas. The disease I have written about is the political fiction termed by Ronald Reagan in 1984 as "The Services Economy". As an adjunct to an economy, services are a positive indicator of prosperity. However, services used as the core to economic output for a nation is an indicator of social decay disguised in economic terms. You see, the inputs to production of an economy built on services are human beings. Its practical application is social cannibalism--consuming some human beings so that other human beings can support continuation of the economy. Such an economy requires more crime, more sickness, and more poverty to fuel the economic engine. It needs to destroy in order to survive. The exploding populations of poor , incarcerated, and ill evidence its effects. By the reality that today's advertising isn't about buying a new washing machine, but about hiring a lawyer, seeing a doctor, or finding ways to cure your debt.

Google my name and American Chronicle and you'll get all the details. A shame I didn't see this a week ago. I was in Maryland the past two months searching for work. I was offered numerous positions--until my felony was disclosed. Then, the door was closed quickly, firmly, and all communication went from written emails to me on one end of a conference call with numerous HR people on the other. It's been that way for over 3 years now.

Did I mention I "used to be" a CFO? And, before that an engineer? Never been arrested--but once. Have two small kids. That I have 3 college degrees and can't find a job picking noses because I was part of the food chain that fed "Andrew Thomas' greed". I'm one of the many who Andrew Thomas has harmed, worse off than some, better off than Cortney Bisbee and her family to be sure. Did I mention I know her parents. Her Mother and Father are victims --the exploding family of Accidental Felons, victims of a Services Economy, I write about in my book. I fear that Andrew Thomas' evil fore shadows more to come.

People like Don Stapley, Tom Horne, Cecil Ash, Susan Schuerman, and many others are acutely aware that we victims of Andrew Thomas exist by the tens of thousands. They are sympathetic, they feel our pain. But what does one do in the midst of economic famine? You cull the herd and the survivors move on. That's the reality we are living in.

Jerri Lynn Ward said...

Daniel,

What was the criminal defense bar doing to try to counter this? What about the judges? Also, I wish your book was kindle ready or an ebook on your site.

Daniel Horne said...

Hi Jerri,

If you want a copy of the book, send your mailing address to me at dan@accidentalfelons.com. Someone will mail you a copy.

As for what The Bar and The Judges were doing, I can only guess. My opinion, after experiencing both, is that they were doing nothing. It is a fickle world in "their world" and each person is looking after their own interests. Until the rich and powerful came under attack, the 190,000 others of us had, and may still have, no chance whatsoever.

As my post related, I view Thomas as part of a larger social disease based on the flow of money. When I ask who is benefiting and how? There are no people who benefit from Thomas-like behavior except Thomas. According to Thomas himself 200,000 people were hurt by him through the indictment (rubber-stamp) process.

However, when I look who is sanctioning an Andrew Thomas to roam unbridled among us, I see a lot of powerful people who created, allowed, and promoted Mr. Thomas to be what he is--a villain. I see millions of dollars flowing from the checking accounts of taxpayers and the checking accounts of county residents (the many) into the checking accounts of a handful of people and corporations (the few). The money trail shines bright and vivid for me to see. It isn't hard to find if you're looking for it. For criminal defense attorneys, Maricopa County is a gold rush. Private prisons bank role legislators a plenty to make laws tougher and keep people in prison longer.

A business earns profit in only a few ways. Increase sales, increase sales prices, or decrease costs. Lawyers who mine for the gold and private prisons in Arizona do all of the above, so an Andrew Thomas in office is a dream come true. Governments only make money when it changes hands, so they win to some extent, but the cost of incarceration has become so expensive that they are paying the prisons more than they collect in tax money at this point.

Sick, of course. But corporations are not human beings, they are machines owned by hidden faces that will fire the people running the machine if those hidden faces don't get the money they expect.

Michael Moore did an excellent job in his film, Capitalism: A Love Story. He doesn't focus on Arizona, but he does show clearly (with names and faces) how an industry can destroy a government with money. Jared Diamond has written a few scholarly books that cover such topics as governments preying upon the governed as a survival strategy during their decline throughout history. It's a very old phenomena and historically has always been a part of the "decay phase" of a societies collapse. Granted not all governments used prisons. They have used war, slavery, making villains of some minority of their population so the remaining population would sanction despicable behavior-such as mass executions. The common thread to all of this is using fear to persuade the population that the government is acting "to protect them" from whatever form of "bad" they've conjured up as a means to an end. Then end being to cannibalize a portion of "the many" in order for "the few" to continue living in prosperity a few more years. Ultimately, it always ends badly for all concerned.

Kind regards,
Dan

Jerri Lynn Ward said...

I ordered your book on Amazon. I prefer Kindle because I can make the letters bigger.

I look forward to reading it.

Anonymous said...

REFERENCE: Phoenix News Times, "Accidental Victim Versus Accidental Felon: A Victim in a DUI Crash says She Can't Abide Author's Literacy Whining", 9/24/09
[http://www.phoenixnewtimes.com/2009-09-24/news/accidental-victim-versus-accidental-felon-a-victim-in-a-dui-crash-says-she-can-t-abide-author-s-literary-whining/]


The accounts that Daniel Horne relates regarding the Maricopa County DA's and Sheriff's office, and the horrible treatment prisoners that receive in their incarceration, appear to be well substantiated, and of course are valuable to this blog.

HOWEVER, as one who's main worry based on what I have read in this blog is being falsely accused of a crime that I did NOT commit, and then convicted based on fabricated evidence or inadmission of exculpatory evidence ... I ask: "Where's the beef?"

The fact is that Mr. Horne did do the crime. And the crime -- getting drunk at a bar and then causing SEVERE injuries to two innocent women in a head-on collision after his car drove on the wrong side of the road -- is one that seems pretty much without dispute. READ THE REFERENCED ARTICLE FOR DETAILS (and see the pictures of one of the victims).

I ASK: Was Mr. Horne falsely accused? ... convicted on fabricated evidence? ... was exculpatory evidence withheld? Doesn't look like it.

I don't want to take anything away from Mr. Horne's valuable account of the harsh life in the for-profit prison system ... but there are apparently many, many examples of PROSECUTORIAL abuse in Maricopa County. And so far, it does not appear that Mr. Horne's case was necessarily one of them.





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Doc Ellis said...

Greetings Dr Anderson

Shared

Thank you for writing this

Doc Ellis 124