Sheriff alleges misconduct, Deputy County Attorney says it’s political

UPDATED 9/27 to add County Attorney’s comments

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La Paz County Sheriff John Drum issued a statement Friday alleging misconduct by the County Attorney’s Office during the Ackerman murder case, an allegation that Chief Deputy County Attorney Karen Hobbs described as “dirty politics”.

According to the statement, Drum submitted an ethics complaint with the Arizona State Bar against Hobbs and her boss, County Attorney Tony Rogers, saying that Hobbs had visited the crime scene and advised a Sheriff’s deputy to conceal her identity in his official report.

As part of her investigation of the case, Hobbs had reportedly wanted to determine the lighting conditions at the house where the crime occurred in the BlueWater Lagoon neighborhood of Parker. So she met with a Sheriff’s deputy at the property, who wrote a report of the visit. Drum claims that Hobbs wanted to be identified in the report only as a ‘Caucasian woman’ to avoid her being called as a potential witness. But a Sheriff Sergeant would not allow that description on the report, and insisted on identifying Hobbs by name. Drum says that Rogers agreed with Hobbs that the term ‘Caucasian woman’ would be an adequate description.

Drum characterized Hobbs’ request to keep her name off the report as a “pattern of actions that strive to manipulate, deceive, modify and/or conceal facts with County Attorney Tony Rogers supporting Ms. Hobbs activities, showing either collusion or support from her superior.” He says the end result is “attorney actions that discredits the entire criminal justice system and results in perpetuating the general distrust of law enforcement by the general public.”

In response to the statement Monday, Hobbs called the bar complaints a “smear campaign and dirty politics”, saying she believes the actions of the Sheriff are timed to cause damage to Rogers’ campaign ahead of the November election. Rogers is up for re-election as County Attorney in November’s general election against challenger Kathy Field, who has been supported publicly by Drum at campaign events and currently serves as the Public Defender.

“Several months ago Attorney Sandra Carr, a deputy to Public Defender Kathy Field, warned us that Kathy had taken her to a meeting with Sheriff John Drum and Commander Larry Irwin to explore the possibilities of a bar complaint against the County Attorney,” Hobbs said. “Sandra warned that the meeting was political and that we should expect a bar complaint sometime prior to the election in order to smear the County Attorney’s Office before the elections, but we didn’t want to believe it.”

With respect to the Bar complaints themselves, Hobbs says she believes her actions did not breach any ethical boundaries but that the Bar would have to decide. She said that the complaint and public statement was filed “on behalf of, and for the benefit of Kathy Field.”

Parker Live reached Field Monday to ask her if she had something to do with the Bar complaint and the Sheriff’s statement. She said she is limited in what she can say as an attorney, but said she thinks the allegations are “very very serious” and criticized her opponent Rogers for his office’s handling of “multiple” cases going through the courts.

“Smear campaign? Sure it’s going to be a smear, because if someone gets suspended from the practice of law, is that smear or is that an example of something being done about serious misconduct?” she asked. “Would it be right to keep this hidden, or does the public have the right to know?”

Hobbs said the timing of this complaint and Friday’s press release were conspicuous.

“[Drum] didn’t raise this question in March, or April, or May, and all of a sudden he wants to make this an issue,” she said. “If this small incident regarding me is the best they can come up with after 4 years, it speaks very highly of Tony Rogers and the job he is doing as County Attorney.”

Rogers released his own statement on Tuesday, saying in part, “Throughout my four years in office I have striven to keep the peace and work in cooperation with all County departments. … Now it is nearly re-election time and the peace has been broken by the politicians. I guess it will be this way until the election. Too bad. I will fight to keep my nose to the grindstone and continue to do my job. I am sure that the politicians will let us all get back to work after the election.”

Rogers added that Sandra Carr, who had reportedly warned Rogers and Hobbs that a bar complaint was coming several months ago, had told them this information in confidence and “objects to the public release of her information.” Rogers said that her statements were not intended for public dissemination.

Sheriff Drum ran against 3 opponents in the Republican primary and lost to Bill Risen, who will now face Frank Vidrine in the general election. County Attorney Rogers will face Field on the same ballot.

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Sheriff’s statement in full

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Hobbs’ written response in full

Several months ago Attorney Sandra Carr, a deputy to Public Defender Kathy Field, warned us that Kathy had taken her to a meeting with Sheriff John Drum and Commander Larry Irwin to explore the possibilities of a bar complaint against the County Attorney. Sandra warned that the meeting was political and that we should expect a bar complaint sometime prior to the election in order to smear the County Attorney’s Office before the elections, but we didn’t want to believe it.

Sandra Carr had previously made it known to Kathy Field that she herself (Sandra) would run for County Attorney. Shortly thereafter Sandra became the victim of a bar complaint.

Both these bar complaints were filed by other persons, but appear filed on behalf of, and for the benefit of Kathy Field.

Both the bar complaint against the County Attorney’s Office and the complaint against Sandra Carr appear politically motivated to remove any obstacle between Kathy Field and her goal to become the County Attorney. It appears to be a smear campaign and dirty politics.

Karen Hobbs

29 comments

  1. Are there other Bar complaints against Hobbs or is this the first one?

  2. I don’t vote for the simple fact that NOTHING will ever change. Everyone want’s to bad mouth everyone, guess what it rolls down hill. The higher up’s want to win BUT yet have some of the biggest mouth’s working for them. I’d love to mention names but I won’t. What happened to the good old days that every employee kept their mouth shuts? Whoever wins I sure do hope not only do they clean up this town but hopefully some departments that desperately need it. Starting with the County Attorney Office.

  3. Up until now I was relieved to see a relatively fair and civil election season. Past elections were filled with mudslinging, deceit, accusations, fake Facebook profiles, and other nefarious activities. I hadn’t seen any of that, this year, and was hoping that our County had finally turned the corner into civility.

    Sadly, we’ve discovered that that isn’t true, and civility is out the window when those in power will do or say anything to stay in power.

  4. Same old shit. Never will change. This county need a change. Administrator must go. Sheriff is gone

  5. This does not surprise me at all. If it was so critical, then why didn’t they bring it up at that time. I strongly believe that this is all a political move once again. Why cant people just run on their own merits and experiences. In the last 3 1/2 years with Sheriff’s dept, I have seen so many things being done that weren’t right. I have seen certain individuals being treated wrongly (me being one of them) and it’s still going on. If everyone knew the things that I know as far back as the election 4 years ago and what was done at that time just so people could get into office. Kathy Field made a comment stating that they were going to run this county, I pray that that doesn’t happen. I care about this county and the people in this county. Please don’t take these types of strategies to heart. If you new the whole story about what took place, you would think differently. We the people run this county and we all have a voice for the betterment of this county.

  6. Drum is pissed off since losing in the primary election and that his bar flies could not carry him again.Fields does not have the necessary experience to be a trial lawyer, let alone the County Attorney. It is strongly believed in the public, that it is nothing more than a status and a power trip for her. If you remember in years past, the County Attorneys Office was constantly in the media for bad and questionable actions. Look how the last 3 1/2 years have gone by very quietly and winning cases against the criminals, just the way it should be! It is time for the GOOD OLD BOYS and the POWER TRIPPERS to hang it up and retire. Go tell your war stories at the bar and let the professionals do their jobs!

  7. This is the type of conduct that has been taking place for the past several years. Yes, Hobbs does have past bar complaints. She has no business in the CA office. Her past librarian position suits her much better. The personal county atorney stories I could share about Rogers and Hobbs are jaw dropping but not for public postings. Although I would be happy to share personally. I have been “not by choice” involved in the County Court sytem for the past 8 years. For those of you that may recall, I actually protested and excersised my freedom of speech for an entire year every morning in front of the County Attorney office. Did it do any good? Well, I truly believe it brought some of this to the attention of the community. So…thanks to John Drum, who now can act and has the ability to move and shake this county a little. Now that he is no longer going to be in office, it is not a conflict that he calls out what he sees. I tried, but I did not have the notoriaety to get it front page news. I am NOT a La Paz County resident so Im not participating in any election, but….I can say…the public defenders office has an amazing slate of attorneys working in that department. The head of that department may not be the one youd choose, but she has the ability to choose others…Think about that. Our defenders office is doing a better job than our County Attorney office? Hmmmm.

  8. I have known people that have/are working in both CA & PD offices. And they have told me over and over, “IF ONLY THE WALLS COULD TALK”. I know some could not hang anymore. Not with all the corruption in this county. ALL the office. Sheriffs Office-OMG. Don’t get me wrong. I love Drum. He is a personal friend. I just think he made a much better Judge then Sheriff. Only because, I think he needed to be here more and not let his under dogs run the place. I’m going to go with, that he didn’t know how they have got out of control. I know they must be a bit bored, but come on, nobody’s perfect. Including them. Oh but they think they can they can do anything they want, illegal or not legal. Procedures they pull cuz they hope no one will be smart enough to fight them. Well I have a friend that is being harassed on a regular basic. But what La Paz finest does’nt know, they have retained legal services and are being documented every time they screw with them. If things don’t change, they may end up with a very big bank roll. It will be away out of this corrupt hell hole. And to me the only way to clear the corruption in these offices, is these people leaving or are in these offices should start talking what is going on. I understand your job will be on the line. To me, the only way to clean it up or out, is to put it out for everyone to see. Thats what I want to vote for. People that are STRAIGHT UP and BY THE LAW. ARIZONA STATE LAW. Not the lowlife underdogs that think they can make there own laws as per their shift. Oh one more thing, its legal to lie to someone when questioning them, but really should be ILLEGAL TO PUT IT ON PAPER AS THE TRUTH, when they know dam well what is the truth, and its NOT what they just put on paper.

  9. Of course this is a political move or this would of been an issue when it first happened. Would the complaint of come about if he was supporting Tony? Of course not, too many underhanded things have gone on in that department last 4 years. Pretty sure the County Attorney would know if any laws were being broken. Tony, you have my support always. ####

  10. Yep, someone stated above the bar buddies couldn’t support another 4 years. And the administration that’s really running the department needs to be seriously looked at by our new Sheriff when he’s in office. Too many underhanded things being done, just ask the employees that have been wronged in investigations.

  11. Karma Stinks eh Hobbs?

    Karen Hobbs is a disgrace to attorneys across the board. Karen wanted to be stay anonymous because she was the attorney handling the Ackerman case. Any involvement with investigation and evidence collection would have resulted in a conflict of interest and her having to recuse herself from the case.

    The CA’s office must stay objective, their gathering and directing the collection of evidence, and then the intentional omission of that evidence is illegal and unethical. The Sheriff’s Office holds no bearing over the status of Hobb’s licensure. This complaint was prompted appropriately and, when investigation is concluded, will be handled pursuant to state law by the state Bar, not politics.

    Furthermore, Hobbs is notorious for being a terrible prosecutor. She is afraid of her own shadow and lacks the moral fiber to stand-up for what is right. Their office in general lacks the ability to prosecute crime and dissuade further commission of crimes in La Paz County. This is evidenced by the egregious quantity of plea agreements offered to offenders.

    Agg Assault on a Police Officer? No, we will plead it to disorderly conduct. First degree homicide (Ackerman), no we’ll call it manslaughter. Attempted Homicide of a Police Officer (Marlowe), no we’ll drop all other charges and a light sentence. DUI/OUI? Let’s plead it to reckless driving/operating. Possession and sale of dangerous drugs? Let’s plead it to simple possession. I understand there is an appropriate time and place for plea agreements, but she is a joke. She must be a dream to defense attorneys everywhere. I’m not a fan of John Drum of the LPCSO, but to blame them for Hobbs’s obvious lack of ethics and illegal activities is outrageous.

    You all love to moan about misconduct and a lack of accountability. When people are actually held accountable, you scream politics and a dirty smear campaign. If Hobbs did nothing wrong, she will be cleared by the Bar. Plain and simple.

  12. Too bad the Sheriff’s administration staff can’t see their own shady work ethics. Oh wait, you would have to show up for work more than 10 days a month to see that. So when one would rather sit home and drink vs coming to work everyday and claims their sick, do they too have to supply a doctors note if missing more than 3 days in a row? After all the rest of the employees have to provide one. I’ve always had respect for John Drum thought he was an awesome Judge. It’s not that he’s a bad Sheriff it’s the shady unethical things that continues to go on in that department weather he knows about it or not.

  13. Typical corrupt La Paz County…why didn’t you act when this happened John Drum? I know why, just curious if you would admit you’re crooked. Well, the good news is a new guy will be taking over. Hopefully providing the citizens with objective law enforcement services. If he is smart, he will also get rid of the unqualified people you have in there…never know, maybe he can work the made up position he occupied last time he was terminated. Well, karma is sweet sometimes…I love when things come full circle. It will be a reunion between Yogi 1 and Yogi 2…just like the old days..lol

  14. I normally don’t bother to read the posts about an article in the paper. This one peaked my interest though because I recalled hearing something about Hobbs having a Law Bar problem before. I was wondering if people were saying “it must be true if the sheriff is reporting it” or “another ploy by those who think they are untouchable to manipulate the people.” One has to admit that the timing of Drum’s accusations is questionable. As is the timing of when he purchased property in Yavapai County and was possibly not even living in La Paz County when he ran for sheriff or while he was sheriff. I don’t remember hearing anything about that detail during the primaries for sheriff. Nobody played “dirty politics” against Drum during the campaigns leading up to the election. Consider the post by ‘Kat’ that Drum “…let his under dogs run the place…didn’t know how they have got out of control.” Ironically, Drum stated that Hobbs’ activities were “…perpetuating general distrust of law enforcement.” Hopefully, the new sheriff will square things and staff away and actually be PRESENT. Also ironic is that Field stated in the article that “…public have the right to know” when discussing Hobbs’ bar complaint. ‘Paula’ stated that Hobbs’ “past librarian position suits her much better.’ The public should know that Ms. Field was working at WalMart before she was the Public Defender; before her husband came into a position of authority in the county. She wasn’t practicing law either. Could it be that her past WalMart greeter position suits her much better?
    I would hope that voters take the time to research the candidates. If they do, they would also find out that an individual running for the Board of Supervisors (who reportedly is in cahoots with the people who think they are going to run this county) considers herself qualified because of running her personal (nail) business for 21 years. They would also find out that her home was foreclosed on and she is now living in the back of her business building and she has never managed a staff of employees. Yet, she feels she is able to manage millions of dollars and hundreds of employees. Could it also be that her current position of aesthetician “suits her much better” than making decisions on a county level?
    PEOPLE…please please please start doing the research before you vote. I am not saying that someone with no exact prior experience of the position they are shooting for cannot be amazing in that role. I am saying try to get the right people in positions that affect your livelihood, and if they are not doing what is in the best interest of ALL (not just themselves as most power hungry do); GET RID OF THEM!

  15. Informed voter you couldn’t be more right. How can someone who has had a nail salon and hair salon for 21 years think they can make the right decisions handling millions of dollars? Oh let’s not forget the big part she played in Mary K. Ya know mentoring as she called it during the debates about 70 young women to become Mary K specialists. Which was more like making a profit off of their sales when they should of been the ones that made the profits. Yep, taking all the credit for other peoples hard work. Little girl has nothing on D.L. Wilson who has had many years making deals involving millions of dollars through his career at APS. ######

  16. Sometimes criminals can’t be given the “time” or sentence we want them to get. The county attorney has reasons to plea down which most of us don’t understand. unfortunately criminals have rights. The county attorney has to follow the laws when handeling cases. Was what Hobbs did wrong? I believe it was and she should of known better. Was this complaint a political move? Yes, or it would of been mentioned at the time this problem happened. Before you go judging Tony make sure you have all the facts. Tony is a good county attorney and the ties between the Fields and those in office have always been strong ties only looking out for themselves. This county has had the most unqualified people in office these last four years conducting questionable business which can leave this county wide open for more law suits. We’ve had enough law suits from the junk left by the board of supervisors that were removed from office four years ago let’s not continue leaving this county open for more trouble.

  17. Drum has been a corrupt politician for over 15 years…he dismissed a lot of charges against people that were friends, dismissed tickets, got rid of countless underage consumption tickets resulting from a high school party a realtor was hosting and supplying alcohol at…then he and another board member make up a position for a Park Ranger for the board members husband after he was fired as a deputy…a Park Ranger? In La Paz? Give me a break, that was and is the biggest waste of tax payer money…how about use that money to add a few deputies to an already grossly under staffed organization. Then ol John cons the voters into electing him sheriff, a complete joke that was, hires the previously terminated park Ranger (AKA Yogi 1), to be his second in command….even bigger joke…and then proceeds to destroy the moral of what could be a very productive and respected organization. Those two could lead ants to a popsicle stick, let alone a group of deputies…glad the voters saw this guy for what he really is….UNQUALIFIED

  18. Concerned La Paz citizen

    Not all of the facts are being presented to the public here. There is a lot mor that occurred that you are not being told about this. Someone should talk to the actual Sheriff’s Sergeant that reported the misconduct. That person has no political motive and was honest enough to report it therefore would be honest enough to fill you in on the rest of the story.

  19. Paying Attention

    La Paz County is DONE with the Fields and everyone associated with them. Future Unlimited, it is time.

  20. What use to be a good little town to live in has become a town of lies and bad mouthing. We see it more around election time. I honestly hope Tony Rogers wins, I also pray he cleans up his department. Get rid of all the bad mouths and clicks. Even tho everything is public record, no reason for different cases to be discussed outside of work at family gatherings or while drinking at the bar. Someone has a BIG MOUTH!! Also sure do hope Frank Vidrine wins and does the same. IT”S CLEANING TIME GUYS!!!!

  21. Sharon Butters

    Highly suspicious at election time.

  22. As someone who knows Bill Risen, both personally and professionally, there is no other Peace Officer that has such high MORAL and PROFESSIONAL STANDARDS than he does. He had a successful career as a Peace Officer in California and retired with honor and moved to the river to enjoy life. I believe what he has seen transpire in the La Paz County government, spurred him into action. He will not promote BROWN NOSES or as a favor to friends or backers. He has said that every promotion will be tested for and the MOST QUALIFIED PERSON will get the job. Currently none of the positions above Sgt. were tested for, they were ” JUST PREMOTED”. This type of leadership is going to be a shock to the department and the entire county, proving it is time for the GOOD OLD BOYS to go away and retire. I am not saying anything negative about Frank as he is a good man and was a good deputy, in my opinion he does not have the necessary command experience to run the department or handle the budget. We also need to have someone with no ties to the department or favors to payback, run the place to HONESTLY AND ABOVE THE BOARD!

    Lets now talk about a month MAJOR CONFLICT OF INTEREST by being elected as the County Attorney. For those who don’t know or have your head buried in the sand, Cathy Fields is married to the LAPAZ COUNTY MANAGER, Dan Fields! Talk about a power trip and play, it’s starting to sound like the CLINTONS. It also smacks of nepotism. I was to by someone that I consider a reliable source, that they were over heard saying that if Cathy were elected, they would be able to “RUN THE ENTIRE COUNTY”. I am sorry folks, but that is WRONG and SCARY on so many different levels. Vote with your God given brain, not name recognition, friendship or for someone that is familiar. Look up their qualifications, education, work history and also their motivation. Is the person doing this for themselves, their power trip or is it for the GOOD OF OUR LIVES AND COUNTY! Lets put a stop to the GOOD OLD BOYS and GIRLS once and for all!

  23. I totally agree with the above comment. Kathy Field is the highest paid public defender in the history of La Paz County, while our county is suffering financially. A salary that her husband, Dan Fields set in place! She makes more than Judge Burke ever made. This is such a gross example of nepotism! Sure she has had a licence for years, but doesn’t practice. Thats like a pilot who has a licence but never flies. Would you get on that plane? She has never done a trial. The public defenders office has been staffed with over priced specialists, because Kathy Filed has no experience practicing law, she worked at Walmart before her husband appointed her. All the lawyers they brought in to prop her up have up and quit under her leadership. It is mind boggling that this type of corruption is allowed in our county. What La Paz Needs:. Bill Risen, Tony Rogers, Duce Minor, D.L. Wilson, and Gary “Zac”. These individuals support one another AND more importantly have the best interest of La Paz County in mind.

  24. I do not believe in coincidences, especially in politics. For over 30 years, I have been involved at various levels, in La Paz County politics, including Sheriff’s races. I know incompetence and highly questionable practices when I see it. This complaint by Sheriff Drum smells as bad as any I have seen. There was a shock when the Arizona Open Meeting Law on bringing to the public the results of negotiated settlements against the Sheriff’s office was enforced by the County Attorney’s Office. A death in jail and false arrest settlement is something the public needs to know. Kudos to the County Attorney’s office for that ray of sunshine. You know a County Attorney can only prosecute as effectively as the information from the Sheriff’s office is accurate, timely, and relevant to the charges. In past lives, prior to La Paz County, I served as a police adviser, trained to build cases. As an investigative reporter, I know what is relevant to building a credible story. (Including the one I developed in the Hare V Evans Sheriff’s race, crucial to a change in Sheriffs at that time). I have done some nosing around and feel that Tony Rogers is the man to elect in this race. I personally know all the players on both sides in most of the races. This is our chance to finish what we started in the primaries. Every vote will count. Rogers, Wilson, Minor, Heredia, Risen, Zak, and Camacho will insure a good future. Notice, even though I was a Republican Chair, and even brought some current people I do not endorse into the party, I cross lines because competence, not party counts at the county level.

  25. Funny how a judgement and order against Hobbs, dated November 12, 2015 is ignored…even though it cites “a pattern of misconduct”…and was published in Arizona Attorney, February 2016…said publication is a function of the AZ state Bar… dispute that..

    That aside how exactly is a complaint about her efforts to coerce law enforcement to conceal or alter facts in the Ackerman case political….

    Was she trying to get Ackerman probation or deferral rather than a pathetic and unjust 10.5 years?

  26. Hobbs has a pattern of negligent misconduct…according to Presiding disciplinary, Judge William O’Neil..

    I dispute her conduct was or is “negligent”….

    Please tell me, how is a complaint of coercion to conceal or alter facts of an investigation “political?”

    Specifically the investigation of the Ackerman murder.. which Rodgers fumbled into a 10.5 year sentence by sheer incompetence and failure to submit aggravating factors…like stepping on an old mans neck and shooting him in the head with a .45 as he begged for his life….

    There were several witnesses and enough evidence for murder 1…. it wasn’t the judge or police who dropped the ball..it was Tony Rodgers and Karen Hobbs

  27. Sorry Sam, I do agree that Tony is by far the better choice in the office of County Attorney. But as for Sheriff, Bill Risen has far more experience in leading much larger departments than ours. He worked for 35 years in California in much larger departments. Frank is a great guy I’ve worked with him for 20 years. He has never held a supervising position at the Sheriff’s Department. Bill Risen was LT over many more officers then we have in our department. This county needs a proven leader that has never worked for our department to turn it into a fresh bs free work place. Frank stated the older employees will train the newer ones. We don’t have but a few older employees as most are retired or have left. It’s bad enough we have newer deputies training new hires and these newer deputies have only been here less than 3 years. With the experience in leadership Bill Risen has he can take this department into the future in the best way.

  28. rachele a kelley

    their all their for their own slurp at the trough,,dont trust any of them. money ,corruption,power, drive them all, all of us will pay dearly for duce minor, watch

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