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http://www.duiaz.com/PracticeAreas/Speeding-Tickets.asp

says that criminal speeding is 20 mph over 85 mph. While I think this is a victimless crime it is still outside the realm of civil speeding.

If they didn't arrest the guy the dems would yell murder over preferential treatment.

Actually, criminal speeding can be either (a) twenty miles per hour over the posted speed limit, or (b) any speed greater than 85 miles per hour.

Greg's larger point is what is relevant here. The criminalization of politics here in Arizona is unquestionably a troubling trend. Prosecutors hold enormous power, and the fact that so many politicians have been "investigated" for ultimately unproved or unfounded allegations by our varied elected prosecutors, for what appears to be politically-motivated reasons destroys the public faith in the process and for the law in general. It's like the former official in the Reagan administration said when he was ultimately vindicated after trial, "Where do I go to get my reputation back?" Where indeed.

You left out David Burnell Smith and Doug Quelland, who both have had "paperwork" issues. They were not prosecuted by the AG or county, but by the Clean Elections Commission. Smith was removed from office, Quelland's case is still open.

On the other hand I am pretty sure plenty of people are cited for criminal speeding, by real officers, and are not arrested. I might even know one of them.

It's absolutely wrong. And that's what we get for continually sending back to office a sheriff more interested in publicity than justice.

I really believe this situation would have never been handled like this if it has been the Democratic Party's Executive Director caught speeding.

Remember Lori Liberman, caught red-handed by the police with a trunk load of stolen campaign signs? No charges! (See http://www.eastvalleytribune.com/story/130674 )

Because of the flawed photo enforcement law, ARS 41-1722, the ONLY penalty he can receive is a fine of $165 (plus a contribution to the "clean" election fund!) and NO points on his license. In addition, the county attorney has publicly announced that his office will not prosecute criminal speeding charges based on photo enforcement because of the questionable constitutionality.

Oh, NOW you're worried about the trumped-up arrest of a couple of journalists. Typical! This isn't just a speeding ticket, it's an extreme violation - and he obviously thought he could get away with anything. Guess again.

Obviously your right Jay. This obvious criminal thought he could roam our streets at any speed he wanted. It's just so obvious that he thought he could get away from anything. It's obvious you must be a mind reader.

In this specific case, what is the political motivation? Sounds more like this was publicity motivated.

I believe that the County Attorney's office asserted some time ago that it will not engage in prosecution of those photographed speeding. Is that still the case?

My friend who works for Thomas ( but not in that area ) says the coffee chatter says it was Thomas who approved this prosecution.

He's lucky he didn't kill someone doing that. A 30-40 mph discrepancy doesn't leave a lot of reaction time if someone changes lanes in front of him.

While Mr. Mecum is not a sympathetic character whatsoever, I think the story behind his very public arrest merits a closer look.

It should be noted, Greg, that the DPS official flacking the Mecum arrest to the media, Bart Graves, recently served as communications director and spokesman for the Arizona Democratic Party.

Tom, you don't drive that fast without the kind of ego that tells you you're invincible.

Judging by the chatter on some of the other conservative blogs, it seems much more likely this news item is being driven by Republican Party infighting rather than a Democratic conspiracy. But nice try, Greg. :)

Greg is correct about the lopsided politically motivated tendency to go after Republicans.

It is made worse by the fact that if a Repulbican is under scrutiny, the Democrats smell blood, get excited and are perfectly willing to chum the water with whatever they can.

Add to this, the fact that many Republicans have no tolerance for even the hint of scandal. They tend to withhold support until the matter is settled. Often, this is all that is needed for political defeat.

I think this has become perfectly obvious to Democrats: Trump up or over-exaggerate a problem and then all you have to do is keep things stirred up until after an election.

With most elections now within a few points, you only need to move a few votes or keep a few voters at home and there you have it.

The opposite of this is that, with the complicity of the media, Democrats are able to hide most of their scandals until after an election. Democrats seem to easily accept wrong doing by other Democrats because it is more important to them to maintain power.

I have a hard time believing Frank's statement above. I seriously doubt that DPS would look at the photo radar data, figure out the guy was a "somebody" and then call the prosecutor, let alone Thomas himself, and ask what to do or for permission for what they were about to do. C'mon. The cases are investigated by the police or sheriff and then turned over to the prosecutor.

Mr. Mecum must believe in the credo: "no laws are broken if you don't get caught."

“No, this was a political dirty trick of the cruelest order.”

So lets see…
1) Doing 109 in a 65 mph zone
2) Past precedent of DPS arresting criminal speeders including seven picked up around April 4 accoridng to a Bart Graves press release.
Seems to me the focus ought to be on why the idiot was going 40+ mph over the speed limit and what that says about his judgment.

True anecdote: About three years ago, a friend begged to try out my husband's new sports car. Being a nice guy, my husband handed him the keys. Excitedly, he jumped in the car and drove off. When he returned he told us that he'd been stopped on the 101 speeding well in excess of 110mph. The police asked for his license but he had left it in our house -- no license. The police noted he was not wearing shoes -- no shoes. He also didn't know our address.

And then the police LET HIM GO. No ticket. No warning. Nada.

So, yes, I think this is politically motivated.
He's a Republican.
He's politically connected.
He's fair game for the left-leaning politicos wearing badges.

Mecum deserved to get arrested for driving that fast.

Regarding Greg's more general point - the criminalization of politics - Andy Thomas is scary. Who would want to step in the ring with a guy with a penchant for indicting his opponents and an army of lawyers at his command. I remember talking with some friends, one of whom is a Judge, shortly after Thomas got elected and expressing my dismay at the results. One of my friends asked what damage Thomas could be possibly do. The Judge made the prescient statement, "it's a big criminal code - I'd hate to be on his bad side."

To Mr. or Ms. "Name" at 10:21am: The very thing you "seriously doubt" is exactly what happens. The "Special Crimes Bureau" at the County Attorney's office handles just about everything that is or could become high-profile (in addition to other things). Ag assault involving Joe Shmoe in Avondale does not get prosecuted by an attorney in special crimes. Ag assault by a professional football player, actor, prominent figure -- you guessed it: special crimes. Decisions on such cases go through the County Attorney.

That may be over-simplified and there are always exceptions, but that's the gist of what happens with high-profile stuff.

I actually think it's wise to handle such matters a little more delicately. When you know there might be media attention, it's best to have the County Attorney more involved and have a more seasoned prosecutor handling things. That's the theory, anyway.

Arrests like Mr. Mecum's is a reason a lot of intelligent, competent people want nothing to do with politics. It isn't worth it to have your reputation stained and possibly find yourself under a ton of legal bills to perform "public service." Ask some of the individuals who get ensnared in these legal nets what their defense costs were and I think you will find figures that routinely can run to tens and even hundreds of thousands of dollars. Who could blame people for sitting on the sidelines?

So what do we get in politics? Quite a number of power seekers, hangers-on and frankly sociopaths who seek self aggrandizement.

People wonder where the leaders are. They're out there, but they just aren't willing to put up with the kind of nonsense dished out by out of control prosecutors and police agencies. Their time can be put to better use elsewhere at considerably less risk to their reputations, to say nothing of their finances.

In this partricular horror story it appears that guys who carry badges and guns for a living were doing the bidding of partisan activists, and it reads like a tale out of the Third Reich or Hugo Chavez's Venezuela. Doesn't DPS have ANYTHING better to do than to descend on Republican Party Headquarters and arrest a top functionary over a traffic ticket, especially considering the 40,000 unserved felony warrants in Maricopa County? If Mecum's arrest was warranted, wouldn't doing it at the guy's home been appropriate?

Since DPS has the resources available to pull a stunt like this, and considering the state's financial woes, perhaps it's time to review the agency's budget with a fine tooth comb and make some serious cuts. A good place to start would be their Public Information Office.

Dan,

Just drive the posted speed limit like 'law abiding citizens' do and you have nothing to hide.

"...especially considering the 40,000 unserved felony warrants in Maricopa County?"

Isn't that Arpaio's job?

Travis - the main people who have been going after Republicans are other Republicans. What do Democrats have to do with this?

Kristen Burroughs - who are the left leaning people wearing badges?

Hey, he made the Huffington Post!

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/dawn-teo/az-gop-director-no-apolog_b_198994.html

"Mecum told news agencies last night that he has 'no particular memory of the facts.'"

Hey, that's great - the Patrick Kennedy defense.

If this was really politically motivated they would have impounded his car, given it a few scratches & an impound fee.

I agree with you about having investigations, Greg.

As a democrat, I hope the last thing he does is apologize and try to put the story to rest. I want to see him bitch & moan & throw fits at the police & threaten to send in "big-shot" lawyers to sue the state & the officers. I'm sure he'll get plenty of sympathy from the public. Everyone around here just loves seeing d*bags in a "trans-am" ripping around the 101 at 110mph!

Keep on writing about this..... please!!!

Mecum deserved to be arrested. It's illegal and dangerous to cruise along the 101 at over 100MPH. Mecum should know 101 is the freeway number, not the speed limit. To paraphrase some of the Sheriff's supporters, "What part of illegal don't you understand?"

As far as a Democrat being arrested for the same thing, we all drive electric cars and biodiesel and those things a) can barely manage 55MPH and b) are really hard to control while we're eating our granola.

Todd - No argument that some Republicans go after other Republicans, but the majority of the problem is Dems going after Republicans - and the lack of Dems EVER going after another Democrat.

This still all comes together for the main problem - politically motivated prosecution.

No argument either about the very real problem of driving 40+ miles over the speed limit. However, every teenage boy is glad they don't come after all offenders this way.

DPS is creating fear so people will pay the tickets rather than blow them off (as 90% do).

Just add to fear, oh J-No holdover.

Oh, yea, it helps fund DPS.

Travis - I must disagree with you. Look at the cases Greg mentioned:

1. John Kromko - Was Democrat prosecuted by Democrat country attorney.
2. Don Stapley - Republican prosecuted by Republican County attorney
3. Russ Jones - Republican kept off ballot by Republican County attorney
4. Huppenthal - Republican charges referred by Chandler PD.
5. Sandra Dowling - Republican prosecuted by Republican county attorney.
6. David Petersen - Republican prosecuted by Democrat State Attorney General. Made plea deal
7. Kevin Ross - Republican prosecuted by Democrat State Attorney General. Found guilty by jury, later overturned by AZ Court of Appeals
8. Doug Martin - Republican prosecuted by Democrat State Attorney General. Plead guilty

If you want to look at political motivation I would start looking at Andrew Thomas not some democratic conspiracy to go after Republicans.

Travis 1
Todd 0

Scorekeeper 0
Reality 1

If Todd = todd70 on AZCentral, said individual has got to be one of the most unintelligent posters in the history of blogging.

pwnd, biotch

Scorekeeper, this is an odd accusation coming from someone who makes completely substance-free posts. Based on the quality of your insults I would say your judgement of what passes for intelligent is not very reliable.

Todd- you keep making Greg's point that there IS politically motivated prosecution of Republicans. I admit that Republicans have participated along with Democrats in going after Republicans.

My point is also valid - Democrats are benefiting from this malicious prosecution and are not suffering for any of their wrong doing. I contend that the Democrats do this more than Republicans and I have not been proven wrong. The numbered examples are not the only instances of wrong doing; they are simply the ones that got the light of day. I know of more wrong doing and more malicious behavior by Democrats, but why would anyone come forward or try to go after them, when it has so far been a losing prospect for all the reason I gave previously.

Someone needs to compile all the data and make sure that when you hit them, that they can't get back up. I have a feeling the time is coming.

Travis - 2
Todd - 0

Todd pwnd

Travis - Could it be that because there are so many more Republicans in political office in the state that there is a greater likelihood that a greater number will be investigated? It is unclear to me what the malicious behavior of Democrats have been, but you seem to be referring to actions which you state are not public knowledge so it is difficult for me to argue either way. If there has been abuse by democrats I look forward to hearing about it, but until such a time it still looks like Republicans have been prosecuted by other Republicans as much if not more than by Democrats. If Democrats somehow benefit but the actions of Andrew Thomas or some other Republican political figure it is hard for me to see why they should be said to have accountability. In addition, if Republicans prosecuting other Republicans is politically motivated, why are other Republicans not holding these officials accountable? Furthermore, when it has been prosecutions led by the Democrat Attorney General they have resulted in guilty pleas or guilty verdicts so it is possible that there was in fact something worth prosecuting.

Travis - 2
Todd - 0

Todd sti11 pwnd

Arpaio set the precedent for this kind of political targeting. As ye sow, so shall ye reap.

Nice work Greg. Looks like Gila Courier likes it as well. They make different points than you do, but they give you credit for not losing the forest for the trees.

http://www.gilacourier.com/?p=1265

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