Arizona Gov. Ducey calls for MCAO accountability after cases dropped: ‘Unacceptable’

Mar 15, 2022, 10:48 AM | Updated: 11:40 am
Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey, left, and Maricopa County Attorney Allister Adel (KTAR News Photos)...
Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey, left, and Maricopa County Attorney Allister Adel (KTAR News Photos)
(KTAR News Photos)

PHOENIX – Gov. Doug Ducey called for accountability from Maricopa County Attorney’s Office leadership after nearly 200 criminal cases had to be dropped because charges weren’t filed on time, but he wouldn’t say the agency’s top official should step down.

“This issue’s really unacceptable,” Ducey told reporters Tuesday after an unrelated event in Phoenix. “The police officers that put their life on the line every day and the victims of these crimes deserve justice.”

MCAO, which is responsible for prosecuting crimes in metro Phoenix, confirmed Monday that it failed to file charges in roughly 180 misdemeanor cases from 2020 before the one-year statute of limitations expired.

The Arizona Republic reported that the dropped cases included drunken driving, domestic violence, assault and criminal damage incidents and primarily came from the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office and Arizona Department of Public Safety.

While stopping short of calling for County Attorney Allister Adel to resign over the latest scandal to plague her tenure, Ducey said, “I think leaders should take accountability for their actions and not blame people on their team.” Ducey and Adel are both Republicans.

While critical of leadership, Ducey lauded MCAO’s line-level prosecutors, calling them “the unsung heroes of our criminal justice system.”

In an statement to KTAR News 92.3 FM on Monday, Sheriff Paul Penzone said he and DPS Director Col. Heston Silbert thought MCAO’s lapses were inexcusable.

“The colonel and I recognize the difficulties in managing complex organizations and the corresponding challenges, but we found nothing to mitigate or exonerate the breadth of this deficiency,” Penzone said.

Last month, following reports that Adel hadn’t been coming to work regularly, five MCAO criminal division chiefs called for her to resign amid ongoing concerns she was unable to run the office while dealing with alcoholism and other health problems.

Prior to Adel taking a leave of absence in August and September of last year to seek treatment for alcohol abuse and an eating disorder, her agency was under scrutiny for filing trumped-up charges against 15 people arrested at an October 2020 Black Lives Matter protest in downtown Phoenix.

The agency withdrew all the charges, which painted the protestors as gang members, in June 2021 after a judge dismissed the cases and said prosecutors and police had engaged in “egregious misconduct.”

KTAR News 92.3 FM’s Griselda Zetino contributed to this report.

Lifetime Windows & Doors

We want to hear from you.

Have a story idea or tip? Pass it along to the KTAR News team here.

Arizona News

(Pexels Photo)...

Phoenix man gets 25 years in prison for sexual abuse of a child

A Phoenix man last week was sentenced to 25 years in prison for the sexual abuse of a child.
21 hours ago
Republican Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey speaks at an event touting a new universal school voucher progra...
Associated Press

Gov. Doug Ducey takes victory lap over Arizona school voucher plan

Republican Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey and backers of universal school vouchers took a victory lap Tuesday over legislation the Republican-controlled Legislature enacted in June.
21 hours ago
(Twitter Photo/@DougDucey)...

Here’s why a portion of Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey’s new border wall was temporarily knocked over

Within days of announcing action to fill in border wall gaps near Yuma, a portion of Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey's new barrier was temporarily knocked over Monday morning. Here's the explanation from the governor's office.
21 hours ago
(Twitter Photo/@MaricopaVote)...
Kevin Stone

3-vote margin triggers automatic recount in Maricopa County primary race

One race in the Maricopa County’s recent primary election was so close that it triggered an automatic recount under state law.
21 hours ago
(Photo by Oleg Nikishin/Newsmakers)...
Associated Press

Battles rage in Arizona courts over 3 voter initiatives

Proponents of three voter initiatives who each turned in hundreds of thousands of signatures last month to qualify them for the November ballot are trying to beat back legal challenges that could prevent them from going before voters.
21 hours ago
Republican gubernatorial nominee Kari Lake said Arizona needs “to have a comprehensive plan” fo...
Kevin Stone

Kari Lake, Arizona’s GOP nominee for governor, calls water supply ‘maybe the top issue’

With Arizona facing reduced access to Colorado River water, GOP gubernatorial nominee Kari Lake said securing the state’s supply is “maybe the top issue."
21 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

Day & Night Air Conditioning, Heating and Plumbing

Here are 4 signs the HVAC unit needs to be replaced

Pool renovations and kitchen upgrades may seem enticing, but at the forefront of these investments arguably should be what residents use the most. In a state where summertime is sweltering, access to a functioning HVAC unit can be critical.
Sanderson Ford

Don’t let rising fuel prices stop you from traveling Arizona this summer

There's no better time to get out on the open road and see what the beautiful state of Arizona has to offer. But if the cost of gas is putting a cloud over your summer vacation plans, let Sanderson Ford help with their wide-range selection of electric vehicles.
Dr. Richard Carmona

Great news: Children under 5 can now get COVID-19 vaccine

After more than two years of battle with an invisible killer, we can now vaccinate the youngest among us against COVID-19. This is great news.
Arizona Gov. Ducey calls for MCAO accountability after cases dropped: ‘Unacceptable’