Arrest warrant issued for Arizona lawmaker who missed a court date
LAKE HAVASU CITY, Ariz. — An arrest warrant has been issued for State Rep. Paul Mosley, who was allegedly caught speeding along State Route 95 approximately six months ago.
According to court documents, the warrant was issued Sept. 6 in Parker Justice Court after Mosley failed to appear to a Sept. 5 court appearance. Mosley, who lives in Lake Havasu City, is charged with excessive speed, the documents show.
Prior to the arrest warrant, a court summons was issued on Aug. 3 and sent to Mosley Aug. 8 via certified mail. The prosecution of his case was turned over to the Cochise County Attorney’s Office to avoid a conflict of interest with the La Paz County Attorney’s Office. Mosley's district represents La Paz and Mohave counties.
When reached at home on Wednesday afternoon, Mosley said he didn’t want to comment about the warrant. He then went on to say he did not know anything about the warrant and is trying to get to the bottom of it. He had not been arrested as of Wednesday night.
Officials with the Lake Havasu City Police Department and the Mohave County Sheriff's Department say they don't often follow up on warrants for police agencies in other jurisdictions, but if Mosley was pulled over in another traffic stop and an officer learned about the warrant, they could arrest him. La Paz County Sheriff's Department referred all questions to the Cochise County Attorney's Office.
In late March, Mosley was pulled over north of Parker on State Route 95 for allegedly traveling 97 miles per hour in a 55 mile per hour speed zone. On video recorded from the body camera of La Paz County Sheriff’s Sgt. Steven Maya, Mosley boasts of driving between 120 and 140 miles per hour during his commute between Phoenix and Havasu. According to the sheriff’s report, he also stated during the incident that he could not be cited because of legislative immunity.
The footage of Mosley’s traffic stop was made available to a local website, Parker Live, and soon went viral, receiving attention and some criticism across the state, nation and world.
Ultimately, the case was forwarded in July to the Cochise County Attorney’s Office for review. Calls and an email seeking details from Cochise County Attorney Brian McIntyre have not been returned.
“I hope he does the responsible thing and gets this legal matter resolved,” said Sen. Sonny Borrelli upon learning about Mosley's warrant.
According to the Arizona Constitution, lawmakers can be excused from arrest in all cases except treason, felony crimes and breach of the peace. The provision also allows them to avoid civil processes during legislative sessions, including the 15 days prior to each session.
In published reports, House Speaker J.D. Mesnard said he was “disturbed” by the video of Mosley's traffic stop.
“Nothing short of an emergency justifies that kind of speeding, and assertions of immunity in that situation seem outside the intent of the constitutional provision regarding legislative immunity,” said Mesnard, R-Chandler.
In late July, Gov. Doug Ducey signed an executive order stating that legislators could be cited for serious traffic violations as a “breach of the peace.”
Not long after the video made headlines, State Rep. Mark Finchem, a Republican from Oro Valley, filed a complaint with the House Committee on Ethics because Mosley’s “conduct was unbecoming of a member,” he told the News-Herald at the time.
While members of the committee were each given a copy of the complaint in late-July, Rep. Eddie Farnsworth, chairman of the committee, has not indicated if or when the committee will consider the complaint against Mosley, according to Matthew Specht, director of communications for the Arizona House Republican Caucus.
“Ethics complaints become moot when the subject of the complaint is no longer a member of the House of Representatives,” Specht wrote in an email.
Mosely lost his bid for reelection in the Republican Primary held Aug. 28. His term comes to an end at the end of this year. Republicans Regina Cobb and Leo Biasiucci will face Democratic candidate Mary McCord Robinson in the November general election.
Mosley lashes out
On Wednesday, Mosley blamed his loss on what he called the excessive negative news coverage of his campaign, among other reasons.
“I’m a good family guy with seven kids and I’m happy I didn’t win, you know why? Because I can move, I can leave Havasu, right? And the thing is, $24,000 is a joke, I mean, you can’t provide for a family on $24,000,” he said. “Leo can have it, I feel bad for the people of Arizona and the people of Mohave County because he’s an actor, he fooled them all.”
Mohave County Republican Party Chairman Laurence Schiff, on the other hand, believes Mosley’s March incident to be the source behind his primary election loss.
“Well there was a lot of negative stuff but I don’t think it was reported unfairly…he got caught doing something that he shouldn’t have done and I think that was reported,” he said. “I do think that this (incident) cost him and I kind of think that he’s been, in a way, I think there’s certain argument that he’s been punished enough for a speeding ticket, basically, by losing his seat.”
Because of the incident, the Mohave County Republican Party voted over the summer to censure Mosley, which is a strong statement indicating the party was distancing itself from his campaign.