Opinion: Why This Former Prosecutor Wants Julie Gunnigle to Be Our Next Maricopa County Attorney

Julie Gunnigle during a televised debate on Arizona PBS with interim Maricopa County Attorney Rachel Mitchell.

By Elizabeth Maupin

November 7, 2022

Julie Gunnigle is the only candidate that has promised to never criminalize reproductive health choices

The Maricopa County Attorney’s Office is frequently reported for misconduct, resulting in a recent surge of many of its prosecutors leaving. 

I’ve been an attorney in the Valley for 11 years. Before entering private practice, I was a prosecutor for Glendale and Gila County. Rachel Mitchell, as part of the leadership, is responsible for the office’s increasing bad acts, which include failing to review nearly 200 criminal cases, bringing fabricated charges, and failing to charge many rape cases. 

While Mitchell has temporarily led the office, she has reported the county has seen a record number of violent crimes. What this says is that her current criminal justice system is clearly failing to keep us safe. It’s not surprising that Andrew Thomas was the one who promoted her. He was disbarred after bringing unfounded and malicious charges against his political opponents, including judges and elected officials. 

RELATED: Opinion: Rachel Mitchell Isn’t Making Communities Safer—That’s Why I Support Julie Gunnigle for Maricopa County Attorney

Mitchell continues to follow the same course—the office is known for treating suspects differently based on their status. Mitchell recently chose not to charge former Arizona Department of Corrections Director Charles Ryan with aggravated assault after he led a 3-hour armed standoff and pointed a gun at police, making them fear for their lives. This decision was outrageous, especially since the office routinely charges people with aggravated assault for merely bumping into, spitting at, or swatting toward an officer. I even recall a case in which video evidence contrasted that there was any movement toward an officer’s direction, but aggravated assault was still charged.

Mitchell is currently facing a bar charge filed with the State Bar of Arizona for authorizing the charging of an innocent woman with homicide. In this case, the Office hid video evidence and provided false testimony to a Grand Jury. After years of extensive litigation and taxpayer expense, two judges tossed the case, with one citing that the officer ”appeared from a place he shouldn’t have been to a regular driver. Whether he was an officer or not, he ran out in front of her.”

RELATED: ‘Not Now, Not Ever’: Maricopa County Attorney Candidate Julie Gunnigle Says She Won’t Prosecute Abortions

Finally, Julie Gunnigle is the only candidate that has promised to never criminalize reproductive health choices. Doctors can now be punished—potentially with prison time—for providing an abortion after 15 weeks, even in cases of rape/incest. Mitchell will spend tax dollars and prosecute any provider, having stated she will prosecute all cases that meet the standard of having a likelihood of successful conviction. 

It’s time for the office to stop wasting billions of tax dollars, stop political prosecutions, and get smart about criminal justice by using data-based solutions that actually keep us safe. The office has been badly tarnished for too long, and we are ready for that to end through an independent prosecutor: Julie Gunnigle.

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