Former top prosecutor says MCAO issues might go beyond botched misdemeanors

Mar 15, 2022, 2:45 PM
From left, former and current Maricopa County Attorneys Rick Romley and Allister Adel (AllisterAdel...
From left, former and current Maricopa County Attorneys Rick Romley and Allister Adel ( Photos)
( Photos)

PHOENIX – Rick Romley, who spent 16 years as Maricopa County’s top prosecutor, said that his former agency’s issues with filing criminal cases might be worse than what was made public this week.

“I’ve been hearing that there’s some additional problems that are occurring on getting some of the cases filed in a timely manner,” Romley told KTAR News 92.3 FM’s The Mike Broomhead Show on Tuesday, a day after the Maricopa County Attorney’s Office acknowledge it failed to file charges in roughly 180 misdemeanor cases before their one-year statute of limitations expired.

Romley said he’s heard from inside MCAO about a backlog of felony cases where arrests haven’t yet been made. They are known as “basket cases” and don’t have to be handled as urgently as cases with arrests, but Romley said he was alarmed that so many were piling up.

“These are cases that you have a little bit more time to review them,” he said. “And I am hearing that those cases are amounting into potentially thousands that haven’t been filed on in a timely manner.

“And that’s really a major concern on my part.”

Romley said he can no longer stand behind Maricopa County Attorney Allister Adel, whom he endorsed in her 2020 campaign to retain the position she was appointed to in 2019.

“These cases have to be handled in a timely manner. The public has to have trust that the office is going to do its job, and that’s my concern,” he said.

“In the end, as much as I like Allister, in the end the public depends on that office too much. That’s where I’m coming out.”

Romley said caseloads are always a challenge for MCAO, which he led from 1989 to 2005, but couldn’t fathom how the agency could fail to act in time on so many misdemeanor cases, which can be processed relatively quickly.

He said staffing shortages don’t explain the agency’s failures.

“Quite frankly, there’s just a lack of oversight by management. That’s really what it takes,” he said.

“The managers have to be on top of their game, and unfortunately they slipped through the cracks and now we have nearly 200 cases that can’t be filed upon.”

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

(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.
15 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."
15 hours ago
(Facebook Photo/Maricopa County Sheriff's Office)...

Police arrest man after fatal stabbing over lighter in Mesa

Maricopa County Sheriffs arrested a man in Mesa Sunday after he fatally stabbed another man 50 to 70 times in an altercation.
15 hours ago
FILE - Visitors view the dramatic bend in the Colorado River at the popular Horseshoe Bend in Glen ...
Associated Press

Arizona takes another hit in new round of Colorado River water cuts

U.S. officials announced that Arizona and Nevada will face more Colorado River water cuts as they endure extreme drought.
15 hours ago
(City of Glendale Photo)...

Glendale police investigating fatal car crash that kills pregnant woman

Glendale police are investigating a head on car accident that left a woman and he unborn child dead on Sunday, authorities said. 
15 hours ago
(AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)...

Hear stories from 2022 Give-A-Thon for Phoenix Children’s with KTAR, Arizona Sports

Here are the stories of five kids from this year's Phoenix Children's Give-A-Thon who are living examples of the quality care provided at the hospital.
15 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

Mayo Clinic Orthopedics and Sports Medicine

Why your student-athlete’s physical should be conducted by a sports medicine specialist

Dr. Anastasi from Mayo Clinic Orthopedics and Sports Medicine in Tempe answers some of the most common questions.

Best retirement savings rates hit 4.30%

Maximize your retirement savings with guaranteed fixed rates up to 4.30%. Did you know there is a financial product that can give you great interest rates as you build your retirement savings and provide you with a paycheck for life once you retire? It might sound too good to be true but it is not; this product is called an annuity.
Carla Berg, MHS, Deputy Director, Public Health Services, Arizona Department of Health Services

Update your child’s vaccines before kindergarten

So, your little one starts kindergarten soon. How exciting! You still have a few months before the school year starts, so now’s the time to make sure students-to-be have the vaccines needed to stay safe as they head into a new chapter of life.
Former top prosecutor says MCAO issues might go beyond botched misdemeanors