PHOENIX, ARIZONA. June 7, 2010 – There are many contrasts in the race for Attorney General. A conservative border hawk in Andrew Thomas versus a liberal supporter of amnesty like Tom Horne. And there’s another. While Maricopa County AttorneyThomas seriously curtailed plea bargains, a step he believes played a key role in reducing crime, Tom Horne on the other hand actually had to agree to a plea bargain himself.
Horne received a total of seven speeding tickets from law enforcement in an 18-month period including a criminal charge just three years ago, including one in a school zone.
“Andrew Thomas reduced plea bargains as County Attorney. Tom Horne plea bargained his criminal speeding ticket,” said long-time prosecutor and Thomas supporter Barnett Lotstein. “This is an embarrassing record for someone running to beArizona’s top law enforcement official.”
The criminal charge filed against Tom Horne:
Court records show that on the morning of Sunday, October 21, 2007, Officer T. Mataele of the Scottsdale Police Departmentclocked a Jaguar automobile speeding 27 miles per hour above the posted speed limit of 45 mph on Scottsdale Road in Scottsdale, Arizona.
Officer T. Mataele pulled the vehicle over. The driver presented a driver’s license identifying himself as Thomas Charles Horne, date of birth 3/28/1945. (Although there are many individuals named Thomas Horne, the date of birth shows the individual is, in fact, AG candidate Tom Horne.)
Officer Mataele issued a criminal citation to Horne, charging him with violating A.R.S. 28-701.02 A2. This is a CRIMINAL charge (not civil) that subjected Horne to a maximum possible sentence of six (6) months in jail, three (3) years probation and a $2,500 fine.
On October 20, 2007, a criminal arraignment was set for Horne. On November 8, 2007, defense attorney Jeffrey A. Van Norman filed a Notice of Appearance to the court indicating that he would be representing defendant Horne.
On January 8, 2008, after negotiations between Van Norman and the Scottsdale prosecutor’s office, Horne was granted a plea bargain for the criminal charge he faced. The Scottsdale prosecutor agreed to drop the criminal traffic offense charge against Horne for violating A.R.S. 28-701.02.A2 in exchange for Horne pleading guilty to a civil offense of violating A.R.S. 28-701A.
The plea bargain was granted despite the fact that the civil charge of A.R.S. 28-701A normally applies to drivers going 16 to 20 miles per hour above the speed limit. Horne was going 27 miles per hour above the speed limit. In any case, this reduced charge enabled Horne to escape having a criminal traffic conviction on his record and avoid jail time.
To obtain a high-resolution, downloadable copy of Tom Horne’s criminal citation, plea bargain agreement, click here.
Former Representative Cal Holman was killed on the same street by speeders going slower than Horne — less than a month before the plea bargain was granted to Horne
On December 28, 2007, drivers Travis Aronica and Robert Van Brakel were speeding 25 miles above the posted speed limit on Scottsdale Road when they struck Holman’s Camaro, throwing his body 75 feet in the air and killing him. See the story here.
Horne was caught driving 27 miles above the posted speed limit on Scottsdale Road – so Horne was driving even faster than Aronica and Van Brakel.
Horne’s criminal charge resulted from pattern of reckless conduct — Horne received seven traffic citations in an 18-month period.
On Friday, August 21, 2009, the Arizona Republicbroke a story reporting that Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Horne received six photo radar tickets in 18 months, including one for speeding in a school zone.
However, if you combine (1) Horne’s six photo radar tickets with the (2) never-before-reported criminal speeding offense, Horne received SEVEN known traffic citations in an 18-month period.
As can best be determined, seven traffic citations in just 18 months is a record for any statewide elected official anywhere.
To view a complete listing of Horne’s seven traffic citations, go here.
While Horne was receiving a plea bargain for himself, Thomas was reducing plea bargains
Andrew Thomas ran for Maricopa County Attorney six years ago pledging to end plea bargaining as we know it for serious violent criminals. While many in the legal establishment raised questions about how he could fulfill this vow, Thomas made good on his promise. During Thomas’ tenure as County Attorney, defendants charged with one of the most serious violent crimes in Arizona’s criminal code—homicide, sexual assault, armed robbery, arson—were presented a simple choice: they can either plead guilty to the highest charge (the “Lead”) and take due punishment for their crime, or go to trial and possibly face worse consequences.
This policy, known as “Plead-to-the-Lead,” had dramatic positive results. Crime rates dropped 19 percent in Maricopa County, even as the population grew 11 percent. This drop happened even though Arizona was one of the fastest-growing states in the nation. Effective work by police agencies has played an important role in drop.
By imposing tough penalties and sending more criminals to prison, Thomas’s office took these offenders off the streets and made them unable to victimize other people. In other words, more time, less crime.
To schedule an interview please contact Jason Rose. For more information on Andrew Thomas, please go towww.ThomasForArizona.com.
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