Monday, February 28, 2011

Arizona's Protected Class

by Pa Rock
Citizen Journalist

According to an article at,  Arizona State Senator Scott Bundgaard, age 43 - the majority leader (Republican) of the Arizona State Senate - and his girlfriend, Aubry Ballard, age 34, were involved in some sort of domestic violence this past Friday evening shortly before midnight.

Police responded to a call stating that a gold car was parked on an Arizona freeway next to the median, and a man was pulling a woman out of the car.   When police arrived they found that both the man and the woman showed marks of being in a physical altercation, but as they prepared to arrest the couple, the man, State Senator Scott Bundgaard, pulled rank and told them that he was immune from arrest under the rules of the Arizona State Constitution.

That hallowed document states in Article Four, Part 2, Section 6 that legislators are immune from arrest for a period of time from 15 days before a legislative session begins through the completion of that session - unless they are arrested for "a felony, treason, or breach of the peace."

Apparently the commotion did not rise to the level of being a felony, but just what the hell is "a breach of the peace" in the Scorpion State?

Ms. Ballard, who is not a member of a protected class, spent 17 hours in one of Sheriff Joe's holding cells, while Senator Bundgaard polished his story about how it was all just an awful misunderstanding.   The lady got mad as he was driving her home and began throwing his clothes out of the car window and onto the freeway.  When he stopped to gather his apparel, she scooted over to the driver's seat and announced that she was taking the car - and he had to drag her out of the car which is how she got her scrapes and bruises.  According to the politician, he was not intoxicated and there was no domestic violence.  "The best thing to do is learn from this and forgive this and move on," he blathered.

As for Ms. Ballard, she's mulling her options.  After cooling her heels at Joe's place for an extended periord of time, she had this to say:  "I'm still trying to get my mind around a few things.  Scott's actions, the 17 hours I spent in jail awaiting processing, my bruises, scrapes, and soreness - and his statements to the media."

Hell hath no fury, Scotty boy, hell hath no fury!

There was also one other juicy morsel referenced in the article.  Jan Brewer, Arizona's clueless and heartless current governor,  was involved in an alcohol-related car crash in 1988.   Ms. Brewer admitted that she had been drinking, but denied that she was impaired.  But it really didn't matter how drunk she was, because Jan was in the Arizona Legislature at that time and was also immune from arrest.

So while the Arizona Constitution serves as a lethal minefield for people of color and the disadvantaged, the legislators themselves are a protected class who can misbehave with wild abandon!

What a sham!

1 comment:

Xobekim said...

The Arizona Court of Appeals has adopted the opinion that a breach of peace occurs when the underlying activity will "threaten disaster and disorder and pose a perilous public risk."

This definition has been applied to cases allowing citizens arrest of suspected drunk drivers.

The Arizona line of cases follows the reasoning of the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals.

The law enforcement officers erred on the side of caution. Arizona's statutes, like most statutory schemes, does not clearly define breach of peace. When you think about it breach of peace is really a common law term with broad reach and applicability.

That the Senator evaded arrest using his immunity card does not mean that he will escape being charged. The officers' reports will be forwarded to the prosecutor for review. He can clearly be charged for the assault and the breach of peace.

Think about it. If driving drunk on an Arizona highway is breach of peace because it "threaten[s] disaster and disorder and pose a perilous public risk," then how about this bozo pulled off onto the median, pulling a passenger out of the vehicle.

The Senator's conduct rises to the level of a threat of disaster, is creating an disorder, and poses a perilous risk to the public safety.