Paul Mosley will finally get his day in court. It has been six months since a La Paz County Sheriff’s deputy pulled over Mosley for driving 40 miles over the speed limit on State Route 95. It has been about three months since the traffic stop was made public, thanks to video footage from the deputy’s body-worn camera.
That footage revealed that Mosley, because of his position as a representative serving Mohave and La Paz counties in the state legislature, didn’t get a ticket. That’s when Arizona voters — and the rest of the world, which was watching with bemused interest — learned about the little-known perk of elected office called legislative immunity.
Basically, the constitutional provision allows state legislators to delay court proceedings and avoid traffic violations with the idea that they shouldn’t be distracted from the business of governance.
Voters were rightfully incensed — especially as Mosley joked on video with the officer about how he regularly drives as fast as 140 miles per hour on his way to and from the state capitol, knowing there was precious little the deputy could do about it.
What a difference a few months makes.
Mosley’s tangles with the law took a turn last week and this time, he had to face the music.
The investigation into the speeding incident was farmed out to Cochise County to avoid a conflict of interest for law enforcement officers here at home.
The Cochise County attorney recommended a Class 3 misdemeanor charge of criminal speeding for Mosley. It’s unclear whether Mosley knew he had a court date at Parker Justice Court, but it’s definitely clear that he missed it, which is why a bench warrant was issued for his arrest.
We learned Friday that Mosley got the warrant situation sorted out with the judge, and he’s now scheduled to appear in court in October. (Interestingly, he’ll be represented by another state representative, David Stringer).
So Mosley will finally answer for his actions. That’s the way it should be. A job well done to the La Paz County Sheriff’s Department and the Cochise County Attorney’s Office for their dogged pursuit of justice. It probably would have been a lot easier to ignore the whole thing, but the people who make our laws ought to be held accountable for following them just like their constituents.
Meanwhile, Mosley was voted out of office in August, but he’s done more for Arizona in recent weeks than he did in his entire two-year term as a state legislator.
Thanks to his actions and jaw-dropping display of arrogance, he helped changed the law at the center of this controversy.
Gov. Doug Ducey signed an executive order that basically guts legislative immunity when it comes to traffic violations. Even better, the public is now well aware of the provision, and eagle-eyed voters will no doubt be watching for other legislators who dare to abuse it.
No politician should be able to rely on legal loopholes to outrun the law anymore.
— Today’s News-Herald