Thursday, October 2, 2008

Napolitano's Pick for Maricopa Attorney General Hit with Barrage

Tim Nelson has not been able to get his story straight since Andrew Thomas starting going after him on his record regarding the Death penalty. Thomas has gotten Nelson off of message, it will be interesting to see how long he will stay that way. Here is the latest from the Thomas campaign:


County Attorney Thomas Asks Tim Nelson to Come Clean About Fighting the Death Penalty for Convicted Double Murderer; Three Days of Inconsistencies Lead to Demand

Nelson Still Hasn’t Explained Campaign Claims That Death Penalty Undermines Public Safety

PHOENIX, ARIZONA - OCTOBER 2, 2008 - Since revelations that he fought the death penalty for convicted double murderer Jose Ceja, County Attorney candidate Tim Nelson has provided three days of tortured inconsistencies in attempting to explain away his representation.

County Attorney Andrew Thomas today demanded that Nelson finally level with the public about the circumstances.

*Earlier this week Nelson’s campaign claimed he was “trying hard to remember how all of this happened.”(, 9/30/08)

*Nelson then claimed he and his firm were “…appointed by the court to be the legal representation on Ceja's case.”(, 9/30/08) THIS IS FALSE. NELSON AND HIS FIRM VOLUNTEERED TO REPRESENT CEJA. THEY ASKED TO BE ASSIGNED TO THE CASE NINE MONTHS AFTER CEJA’S EXECUTION TO RECOVER FEES. (Application for Approval of Appointment as Counsel, filed 10/6/98).

*According to a political website that interviewed Nelson’s campaign manager, Nelson was an “associate” at the law firm at the time, essentially implying that he had no choice but to defend Ceja (, 9/29/08). But at Wednesday night’s county attorney debate Nelson claimed to be a partner then: "In fact, I was a partner there at the time of the Ceja case." (MAN Debate, 10/1/08).

*With various media and in forums Nelson said he only did “research” on the case and "I happen not to have written any briefs" (MAN Debate, 10/1/08). BUT PREVIOUSLY HE ADMITTED TO A MUCH LARGER ROLE: "I wrote a legal appeal making a final argument for life imprisonment for Ceja's crime." ( 9/30/08)

It’s time for Tim Nelson to stop playing games and to level with the public on this key issue. He sought to prevent the execution of a convicted double murderer in the only death penalty case he has ever been involved in," Thomas said.

“There are plenty of people in law enforcement who oppose the death penalty on philosophical or religious grounds. For whatever reason, Nelson doesn’t want to level with me, the media or the public about his involvement. To claim that he was somehow forced to do this is blatantly false. I have worked in big law firms myself and if anyone, at any time, had asked me to stop the execution of a double-murderer I would have immediately said no thank you,” said Thomas.

Thomas said Nelson has still failed to explain claims during his attempt to spin his Ceja representation how the death penalty actually undermines public safety.

Ceja brutally murdered a Phoenix couple. He shot the wife two times in the chest before dragging her to another room and shooting her four more times in the head. He shot the husband four times. He kicked the victims as they lay dead or dying. He later threatened to kill his own wife.

Ceja was convicted and sentenced to the death penalty.

Nelson volunteered to represent Ceja, and to fight his death sentence even though Ceja’s own wife wanted him put to death.

Nelson argued that Ceja had already endured “torture” by spending so much time on death row. He said the death penalty wasn’t warranted after Ceja had allegedly exhibited his “non-violent behavior by living without incident on death row,” and with “honor and dignity.”

This, despite Ceja’s wife reporting publicly that he had threatened to kill her from death row. This, despite Department of Corrections records listing 18 disciplinary actions for Ceja including “throwing objects” and “rioting.”

For more information please contact Jason Rose or Jim Sharpe.

Two of the more interesting observations from the release: First, blogs like are now treated as sources for credible information. They treat their stories like the news, and in fact, in some ways are getting better stories and better access than the regular media.

Second, where is Napolitano in all of this? This was her hand picked guy. She came out with some other folks in favor of Nelson a few weeks back, but she appears to be fairly quiet since then. If their goal is to beat up on Thomas about domestic violence, why isn't she taking the lead?

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