September 28, 2020 Press Releases

Release: Adel’s Legacy At MCAO -Prosecution Disparities For Black And Brown Arizonans And Taxpayer-Funded Campaign Ads

For Immediate Release
Monday, September 28, 2020
Contact: Matt Grodsky, [email protected]

Release: Adel’s Legacy At MCAO – Prosecution Disparities For Black And Brown Arizonans And Taxpayer-Funded Campaign Ads

PHOENIX – When Maricopa County Attorney Allister Adel was first appointed to the office, she promised to be more transparent than her predecessor Bill Montgomery. But Adel has been fighting to hide her operations at the Maricopa County Attorney’s Office (MCAO) from the public. This included withholding almost all her office polices, her approach to the death penalty, and routine data about prosecutions.

Through a lawsuit, the ACLU was able to obtain information from MCAO that paints a troubling picture.

  • MCAO prosecutors are more likely to dismiss cases—or never file them at all—against white individuals than people of any other race.
  • Black and Hispanic people prosecuted by MCAO spend significantly more time incarcerated than white people.
  • Hispanic people are sentenced to much longer jail and prison sentences than their white and Black counterparts when prosecuted for simple marijuana possession.
  • Black people regularly receive longer prison, jail, and probation sentences than white or Hispanic people for the personal possession of drug paraphernalia.
  • And when ordered to pay a fine, Hispanic people pay significantly higher fines than white people.

If these practices at MCAO weren’t bad enough, Adel also appears to be using the office to advance her re-election campaign. MCAO is running a series of television ads featuring Adel as she heads into her first election since her appointment and the digital campaign is being charged to taxpayers to the tune of $80,000. MCAO claims these ads are essentially a series of Public Service Announcements, but it’s clear that Adel is using the ads to promote her candidacy at the taxpayers’ expense.

Matt Grodsky, a spokesman for the Arizona Democratic Party, issued the following statement:

“Allister Adel is unelected, untrustworthy, and undignified. Under her leadership, MCAO is continuing its practice of substantially higher prosections for people of color and Adel has used the office to benefit her re-election at the taxpayer’s expense. It’s time for a new direction at MCAO, that’s why Arizonans in Maricopa County must elect Julie Gunnigle this November.”