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Quartzsite police firings case to move to federal court- Parker Live

by on August 16, 2011

Quartzsite police firings case to move to federal court: posted by Parker Live

In front of a packed courtroom Monday, Judge Randolph Bartlett allowed a hearing on the Quartzsite police officer firings to continue, despite a motion from an attorney for the Town of Quartzsite questioning the legality of the proceedings.

The hearing followed a temporary restraining order issued by Bartlett in recent weeks which ordered the town to reinstate two police officers who were fired following 10 out of 13 police officers being placed on paid administrative leave. The officers had submitted allegations against their police chief Jeff Gilbert.

The Town of Quartzsite argued in court that agreements between employees and employers cannot be the subject of intervention by the court. Bartlett allowed the hearing to proceed.

(Click here to continue)

  1. XGendarme permalink

    One site says the town’s attorney moved to have the case moved to Federal court, another that the officer’s attorney made the motions. Which was it? If it was the town’s attorney, it may not bode well. If it was the officer’s attorney then it would appear he intends to make this a “whistle blower” case to argue that the officers are a protected class under federal law.

    In one interview, it was reported that Sgt. Ponce said the town decided to try to have the case heard in Federal Court is “because they had no other alternative.”

    Unfortunately, I see a far more sinister reason for this. The rules of “discovery” are much more restrictive in Federal court and the discovery process is usually expedited. Per his bio on the Jackson/Lewis website it would appear that the town’s attorney is very experienced in trying wrongful termination cases on behalf of businesses and municipalities. He may (rightfully) believe that a Federal judge will not allow certain motions for discovery of documents that the La Paz County judge or other state judge would have allowed.

    In the same interview, Sgt. Ponce also says he is encouraged that DPS is coming to conduct interviews this week. I have to ask, “What took them so long?” Have they done nothing to this point? Did they previously do anything to preserve the electronic evidence that may have existed on the Police Department’s computers and servers? If not, they have given the town an awful long time to sanitize everything and destroy evidence.

    The Police Department, and in fact all of City Hall, should have been wrapped in crime tape months ago (maybe years) with a forensic accountant and forensic computer examiner pouring over every document, hard drive, server, and shred of paper. Of course, by now “shreds” may be all that is left.

  2. XGendarme permalink

    The QPOA case was filed in Federal Court on August 19.

    Arizona District Court
    Phoenix Division Office
    Case Number: 2:2011cv01637
    Presiding Judge: Mark E Aspey

    I have a subscription to PACER but it’s barely used. I guess I’ll have to log in and buy additional docket information.

  3. XGendarme permalink

    Document: 19

    ORDER that a Motion Hearing is set for 9/9/2011 at 01:30 PM in U.S. District Court of Arizona, 123 N. San Francisco Street, Suite 200, Flagstaff, AZ 86001 before Magistrate Judge Mark E Aspey. Hearing set as to Plaintiff’s Motion for Order to Show Cause For Why Defendants Should Not Be Held in Contempt of Court For Disobeying Temporary Restraining Order, which motion was filed in state court on August 10, 2011 and 7 Defendants’ MOTION to Vacate Temporary Restraining Order. The parties shall have until Wednesday, September 7, 2011, to file responsive memoranda regarding the Motion for Order to Show Cause and the Motion to Vacate Temporary Restraining Order. Signed by Magistrate Judge Mark E Aspey on 9/1/11. (LSP)

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