I recently heard the unbelievable story about a detention officer in Arizona who stole a document out of a lawyer’s file in open court in the middle of a sentencing hearing.
Did I say unbelievable?
I am absolutely brand new to the blog world, but I do know some excellent sites always worth a visit. Off to Simple Justice and Defending People I went to see the real story. If true, this would be outrageous. If true, surely the real story would be how the officer was immediately sent to jail for contempt of court.
Not so fast. The story is true, but also sad, very sad. It is an example of a judge who simply does not have control of the courtroom. From the vantage point of the video, it is obvious that the judge witnessed the entire event.
I would say it is also an example of one of the uniformed good guys stooping to the level of those who might wear the uniform of inmate. Unfortunately, this obvious crime is not limited to one officer. He calls over an accomplice who spirits the document away. Apparently for copying so they could replace the original. I would hope that this crime was only the actions of these two confederates.
However, another player in the action is that of the prosecutor. Or should I say her inaction. It also appears that she witnessed the entire crime, yet did nothing. Innocent people have been prosecuted for lesser actions or inactions. Moreover, I hope that the duty of a prosecutor would be a higher one under these circumstances.
From top to bottom in no particular order, this is despicable. It is outrageous.
The blog world is busy with analysis. From attorney client confidentiality to criminal conduct, the sky seems to be the limit. Of particular absurdity is the excuse that this defendant was a bad person. Maybe he is, maybe he is not. It does not matter. The bottom line is that the officer took the paper out of the lawyer’s file.
The analysis is this. The officer took a piece of paper out of the lawyer’s file. That action was criminal. The officer’s action interrupted a judicial proceeding. That was contempt. It should have been dealt with immediately and accordingly.