On November 10, 2015 a 42 U.S.C. § 1983 civil rights law suit 2:15-cv-02268-DJH was filed in The United States District Court against Amanda Stanford, the Clerk of the Pinal County Superior Court, and Lynn Hurley, the Chief Deputy Clerk (former Public Information Officer for former clerk Chad Roche); for willful abuse of position, interference in a judicial proceeding and Deprivation of Rights under the color of state law.
“This blatant misuse of authority is empowered by the over FOUR-year period since a serious crime attempting to ‘fix’ a case was reported as having occurred in the Pinal County Clerk’s office,” said Lee Hempfling, plaintiff.
In 2011 Lee & Suesie Hempfling of Apache Junction, Arizona acting as Plaintiffs in a medical malpractice suit in Pinal County Superior Court identified and reported to the court, on the record; criminal activity within the Pinal County Superior Court Clerk’s office where an alleged attempt to ‘fix’ a civil case was uncovered, while both Stanford and Hurley were employees thereof.
In the lawsuit, the Hempflings claim Stanford and Hurley illegally declared the unfinished court case to be ‘over’; declared the Hempflings to be losers in the case, then started forced collection of filing fees in an apparent retaliation for the Hempfling’s political support of the former court clerk’s reelection. No judge had ever issued such a decree. Arizona law requires the fees to be paid by the losing party.
The Hempflings report that in 2011 the malpractice case was witnessed as a default, by a Deputy Clerk. Originally assigned to Superior Court Judge Boyd T. Johnson, the case was re-assigned in May of 2012 to Judge Bradley M. Soos when Judge Johnson was removed from all civil cases.
For four years there has been no known prosecution in that initial reported criminal activity. No arrests. According to two court clerks the civil case remains without any filed final order.
On March 25th 2014 a draft order was placed on the docket referring to a Special Action mandated by the Arizona Appeals Court. On April 02, 2014 Former Pinal County Clerk of Court Chad Roche stated, “Once the final order is completed and signed the draft will be deleted and replaced with the actual order.”
On July 21, 2014 Jeffrey P. Handler, Clerk of the Court of Appeals Division Two stated: “…this court’s mandate issued March 10, 2014, and constituted the final order as far as the special action which arose from your case. I assume that since only the special action was decided, the “final order” in the case must await further proceedings in the trial court…”
There have been no further proceedings in the trial court. Roche’s correspondence was copied to Stanford.
The lawsuit claims Stanford and Hurley illegally interfered in an ongoing judicial proceeding by summarily deciding a loser in the civil case; without a court order, and declared the case was ‘over’; that there would be no further proceedings and no further orders. “They did so while blatantly abusing the rules and restrictions of their office and positions and breaking the law by interfering in a judicial proceeding, while totally ignoring the statements of Roche about the case and possibly for other reasons,” said Hempfling.
According to the lawsuit the Superior Court Case is in a state of default and claims that the Hempflings cannot legally be the losing parties.
While running for the office Stanford declared, “I believe in ETHICS in GOVERNMENT! Help me spread my message of transparency in government.”
Prior criminal government corruption in the Clerk’s office was reported to the court by the Hempflings and remains unresolved four years after a criminal investigation and prosecution should have commenced. The civil case is apparently held up because of those allegations. No one has been brought to justice.
The lawsuit alleges that the misuse of the power of the Clerk of the Court has caused the Hempflings to have federally protected rights violated (42 U.S.C. 1983) and prohibitions of personal reprisal violated against them in an illegal use of official power and authority, under the color of state law. “We have had enough,” said Hempfling. “Corruption of this nature cannot be tolerated in any elected office.”
The law suit demands a minor monetary award and equitable relief.
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