State wants criminal investigation into Cochise Supervisors who refused to certify election

KOLD News 6-6:30 p.m. recurring
Published: Dec. 2, 2022 at 7:49 PM MST
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TUCSON, Ariz. (KOLD News 13) - The Arizona Secretary of State, Katie Hobbs, emailed a letter to Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich, asking him to conduct a criminal investigation into Cochise County Supervisors Peggy Judd and Tom Crosby, both Republicans.

The pair, according to Hobbs, violated at least three state laws when they refused to certify the 2022 election as required by law.

The letter can be read here:

This comes just days after former State Attorney General Terry Goddard and former Maricopa County Attorney Richard Romley also sent a letter to Brnovich asking the pair be criminally investigated.

“We wanted to bring to everybody’s attention, especially those local officials, that they have mandatory duties and failing those duties are criminal acts,” Goddard said. “By failing to do what they were supposed to do on the 28th of November they actually committed crimes.”

Goddard says the violations range from a class 2 misdemeanor to a class 6 felony which could require up to six years in prison, but he thinks it would likely be plead down to lesser charges.

“Now it up to the prosecutors as to whether they’re going to bring any charges, but we wanted to make sure this wasn’t swept under the rug,” Goddard said.

And the Secretary of State’s office today made sure it was not going to be swept under the rug.. adding more pressure to investigate.

“The bottom line is these are serious criminal acts and they have serious penalties attached to them,” Goddard said.

But there is more pressure coming from two civil suits, one of them asking for monetary damages for up to 47,000 voters who were not sure if their votes would be counted or tossed.

“We do believe that money is an important deterrent effect for future behavior in both Cochise County and frankly, nationwide,” said Billy Peard, a Tucson attorney who is partnering on the potential civil litigation.

He believes a deterrent is necessary because even after a Superior Court judge ordered them to certify, Supervisor Crosby failed to show and vote, ignoring the court order.

Supervisor Judd let it be known she has no contrition for breaking state law and was not embarrassed by anything she had done.

“It’s for that reason that Peard and others feel it needs to compel, not only Cochise County, but others to obey election law in order to preserve the system’s reliability and confidence.

“But the point still holds, that is party A can do it today, party B can do it tomorrow,” Peard said. “And then it becomes a cultural norm that has no punishment and deterrence.”

Which is an issue they’d like to take off the table going in to 2024.