UPDATE: Mosley apologized on his Facebook page to his constituents, saying:
”I would like to apologize to my colleagues and constituents, as well as law enforcement, for my conduct on March 27th, 2018, which is shown in the recently-released video. My desire to get home to see my family does not justify how fast I was speeding nor my reference to legislative immunity when being pulled over. Legislative immunity is a serious responsibility and should not be taken lightly or abused. In addition, my jokes about frequently driving over 100 miles per hour during my 3-hour commute to and from the capitol were entirely inappropriate and showed extremely bad judgement on my part, for which I am truly sorry. I have no excuse for any of this, only regret of my actions, a hope for forgiveness and a commitment that it will not happen again.”
UPDATED to add Sheriff’s Department input on the correctness of adhering to legislative immunity in state law, comments by Cochise County Attorney Brian McIntyre and a statement from the Fraternal Order of Police.
An elected state House representative for Arizona’s 5th District, Paul Mosley, bragged to a sheriff’s deputy that he drives at speeds of up to 140 miles per hour, claiming legislative immunity.
The interaction took place at around 4:30 p.m. on March 27th, 2018, according to public records, when Mosley (R-Lake Havasu City) was pulled over by a La Paz County Sheriff’s Deputy just north of Parker, AZ allegedly doing 97 mph.
According to the deputy’s report, Mosley was swerving in and out of traffic passing vehicles on State Route 95 north of Resort Drive. Radar indicated that the vehicle’s speed was 97 mph in a 55 mph zone.
When he pulled Mosley over, the deputy said that he saw Mosley waving something out the driver’s side window. When the deputy got out of his patrol vehicle and made contact with Mosley on the passenger side, he said it turned out that Mosley had been showing him a placard which indicated that he was an elected state representative, and reportedly told the deputy that he shouldn’t waste his time processing a citation because he has legislative immunity.
“I explained the reason for the stop to Mosley and asked if there was any reason he was traveling so fast,” the deputy said in his written report. “I informed Mosley that 97 mph in a 55 mph zone is considered criminal speed. Mosley stated he was just in a hurry to get home to surprise his family in Lake Havasu City, Arizona. Mosley also told me that I should just let him go and that I shouldn’t waste anymore of my time dealing with him due to his immunity as a government official.”
Legislative immunity is designed to protect lawmakers from targeted attempts to keep them from voting on essential state matters. According to Arizona state law:
“Members of the legislature shall be privileged from arrest in all cases except treason, felony, and breach of the peace, and they shall not be subject to any civil process during the session of the legislature, nor for fifteen days next before the commencement of each session. (Article IV, part 2, section 6.).”
After leaving Mosley to run his driver’s license, the deputy walked back to Mosley’s vehicle and told him to watch his speed, reminding him of how fast he was going.
On video captured by the officer’s body camera (embedded above), Mosley is heard saying he drives at “120, 130.” The officer replies, “Really?” Mosley laughs back, saying, “Yeah, this goes 140. That’s what I like about it.”
The lawmaker was talking about the Lexus LS 400 he was driving at the time of the stop, and went on to say he usually drives more slowly in his Toyota Prius, which has been in the garage. The deputy asked for clarification on what Mosley was saying.
“You were driving 130 earlier, you said?” the deputy asked.
“Yeah, I go 130, 140, 120. I come down I-10, I was going 120 almost, you know, if there was no traffic,” Mosley said.
Deputy: “The, the purpose? You just can, so you do?”
Mosley: “Well, no, it’s, it’s, like, I’m trying to surprise my wife, [inaudible] as long as it’s, you know, as long as it’s safe, but… I don’t even notice that I’m going very fast because of this, you know, car just, you know, nice wheels, nice, you know, suspension, but… Yeah I mean, I don’t, I don’t break the law because I can, but because I, [inaudible]…”
Deputy: “Just trying to get home, a hundred and thirty.”
“Well,” Mosley said, shrugging.
“Okay. Well your logic is flawed for me,” the deputy replied. “I see too many accidents. That’s, that’s not safe.”
“And you’ve never sped in your life, I’m sure,” Mosley responded.
“I absolutely have, but not 130, 120, not even in this thing,” the deputy said, gesturing to his patrol vehicle.
“What? Does it have a governor on it?” Mosley asked.
The deputy then ended the conversation quickly, saying he wasn’t going to lecture Mosley further. He told him to have a good day and walked away without further interaction.
“Seeing that my conversation about safe driving was going nowhere,” the deputy wrote, “Mosley was allowed to continue on his way without incident.”
The La Paz County Sheriff’s Department issued a press release Thursday saying that the deputy had acted properly, checking with his department regarding legislative immunity and then forwarding the matter to the La Paz County Attorney’s Office for a proper review.
“The La Paz County Sheriff’s Office, like all Arizona law enforcement agencies, follow and enforce Arizona Revised Statutes,” the release reads. “In the recent traffic stop that was conducted on the Arizona Representative, the La Paz County Deputy was provided with information that the State was currently in Legislative Session. The Deputy acted properly during the traffic stop then forwarded the traffic offense to the County Attorney’s Office for review.”
Mosley, a Republican member of the Arizona House of Representatives, made news in 2017 after he said that there should be no compulsory education, and he says he wants to repeal an Arizona law that mandates that young people attend school.
He was first elected in 2016 and is up for re-election this year.
Parker Live reached out to the La Paz County Attorney’s Office to ask if there is any intention to pursue the incident legally. County Attorney Tony Rogers sent back this reply:
“I did receive that report, but because Mr. Mosley represents La Paz County, to avoid even the appearance of impropriety, I requested that our state representative, APAAC (Arizona Prosecuting Attorneys’ Association Council), find another agency to review the report.”
Elizabeth Ortiz at APAAC told Parker Live that the Cochise County Attorney’s Office has agreed to review the matter:
“The La Paz County Attorney’s Office did refer this matter to APAAC, and asked me to identify another jurisdiction to take it over. The Cochise County Attorney’s Office agreed to take over this matter and it was sent to that office for review. I do not know what, if any, decisions have been made by the Cochise office, as I do not track that type of information.”
Cochise County Attorney Brian McIntyre told Parker Live Thursday that he is reviewing the matter:
“A complaint has not yet been filed. I do not believe the ethical rules permit me to say whether I intend to charge the matter or not, however. I am able to say that it will be reviewed consistent with our ethical obligations and a charging decision will be made as time and resources permit.”
The Arizona Fraternal Order of Police announced Thursday it has withdrawn its political endorsement of Mosley.
“Rep. Mosley’s recklessness, his demeanor and his utter disregard for the safety of the public represent the exact opposite of what the Arizona Fraternal Order of Police looks for in an elected official,” said John Ortolano, president of the organization.
Video captions by Parker Live.
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