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Huppenthal charged with theft, blames Democrats

It is a wonder he got charged with a crime!!!! US Congressman Harry Mitchell was not charged with a crime when he was caught stealing the signs of a man who was running against him in Tempe.


Huppenthal charged with theft, blames Democrats

by Edythe Jensen - Dec. 19, 2008 03:43 PM

The Arizona Republic

State Sen. John Huppenthal R-Chandler has been charged with criminal misdemeanors for cutting down an opposition campaign sign on Election Day.

He's accused of theft and altering or destroying a political sign. A conviction could send him to jail for up to six months.

The nine-term state lawmaker called the charges "a continuation of the sadistic and vindictive smear campaign by the Democratic Party . . . they should drop this and paint a positive vision for the future of Arizona." Huppenthal said he had permission from a representative Country Brook Apartments to remove the sign from private property. "State law is clear; a property owner is free to dispose of (campaign) signs," Huppenthal said.

The charges stem from a confrontation Huppenthal had with Ruth Levin, a 78-year-old Democratic activist who told reporters and police that the senator cut down the sign then struggled with her over it before driving off in a Lexus SUV. Levin reported the incident to Chandler police.

Emily DeRose, spokeswoman for the Democratic Party, said it is uncertain whether Huppenthal had permission, but the real issue is his behavior. "Our public officials should be held to a high standard of ethical conduct. People who think it's okay to steal signs from little old ladies should account for that kind of behavior," she said.

Records in Santan Justice Court show the complaint, filed by a Scottsdale city attorney, was originally submitted to Chandler but transferred when that court declared a conflict of interest. Huppenthal is a former Chandler City Councilman.

A justice court clerk said Huppenthal has not yet been served and no hearing dates have been set.

Huppenthal captured 56 percent of the votes cast to win re-election in District 20 against Ted Maish.The district includes Ahwatukee Foothills, portions of Chandler and Tempe.

If convicted, the senator could receive up to six months in jail, a $2,500 fine and up to three years' probation. However, no minimum sentence is required.

"Now I've got to hire a lawyer," Huppenthal said. "I have two daughters and I'd rather spend the money on them."


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