When a law enforcement officer in Arizona was caught on tape removing privileged legal documents from a defence lawyer’s desk while she was addressing a judge in court and couldn’t see what was happening behind her back, most observers expected the officer to apologize for his actions and for his boss to punish him. But in Phoenix, the state capital and seat of Maricopa County, the opposite has happened. Detention officer Adam Stoddard refused to apologize and was found in contempt of court by the judge. Instead of demanding the officer obey a court order, his boss, Sheriff Joe Arpaio, nicknamed “America’s toughest sheriff,” reacted by supporting Stoddard and giving tacit acceptance to a “sick in” protest by other law officials. Now, Arpaio has filed suit against the judge, alleging “possible obstruction of justice, stymieing a criminal investigation, and open hostility towards courtroom staff.”
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