Arizona State Rep. Paul Mosley appeared at the Parker Justice Court Thursday afternoon, one week after a warrant was issued for his arrest following an alleged speeding incident approximately six months ago.
He's also retaining the services of another state representative to represent him through his court proceedings.
Mosley will be represented by Rep. David Stringer, R-Prescott, through is court procedures and is scheduled to appear before Parker Justice of the Peace Charlene Weis on Oct. 18, according to the Arizona Capitol Times.
Stringer is a former criminal defense attorney who, like Mosley, was elected to the legislature in 2016. Also like Mosley, Stringer got in hot water over the summer. According to news reports, the first-term Republican was widely criticized after he told a group of voters in Prescott that he believes immigration “represents an existential threat” to the United States and that the rapid influx of Hispanic children has made integration at schools impossible because “there aren't enough white kids to go around.” Stringer later apologized for those statements.
Mosley, a Lake Havasu City resident, was pulled over in March north of Parker on State Route 95 for allegedly traveling 97 miles per hour in a 55 mile per hour speed zone. Video of the traffic stop went viral in July, showing Mosley telling a La Paz County Sheriff’s Department deputy that he regularly drives up to 140 miles per hour and, off camera, stated legislative immunity protected him from receiving a criminal speeding ticket.
Because Mosley represents La Paz County in his elected position as a state representative, the investigation was ultimately handed over to Cochise County to avoid a conflict of interest.
In a complaint signed by Cochise County Attorney Brian McIntyre, Mosley is being charged with one count of excessive speed, a Class 3 misdemeanor. He was supposed to appear in court on Sept. 5, but when he never showed up, a warrant for his arrest was issued.
According to Parker Justice Court Clerk Tiffany Dyer, Mosley surrendered Thursday afternoon at the courthouse, appearing before Weis, and was not arrested but “released,” she said. Dyer did not provide specifics about what transpired in the courtroom but referred Today’s News-Herald to the Parker Justice Court’s website, where she said updates would be posted.
The Capitol Times reported late Thursday afternoon that Mosley pleaded innocent to the one charge against him. According to Arizona state statutes, a Class 3 misdemeanor could mean up to 30 days in jail and up to a $500 fine.
Mosely did not respond to the News-Herald’s inquiries about the matter. When reached at his home Wednesday, he said he did not want to comment about the arrest warrant but then went on to say he did not know anything about it and was trying to get to the bottom of it.
Tracking information received from the United States Postal Service indicates that Mosley may not have received certified mail containing his court summons.
Court documents show that prior to the arrest warrant, a court summons was issued on Aug. 3 and sent to Mosley Aug. 8 via certified mail. The postal service tracking information shows, however, that the mail arrived in Havasu on Aug. 10 but was marked as “unclaimed/being returned to sender” 17 days later.
Ultimately, the summons was delivered to its original sender in Parker on Sept. 4, the website shows. Copies of the documents obtained from Parker Justice Court on Thursday redacted mailing addresses.
Dyer said Thursday that the arrest warrant was still valid even if Mosley was not served.
Shawn Hamp, president and attorney for the Law Offices of Shawn B. Hamp based in Kingman, said the likelihood of Mosely being sentenced to 30 days in jail if found guilty for excessive speeding is slim. Hamp is not involved with Mosley’s case.
“My experience handling criminal speeding cases is that, generally, defendants never get jail time,” he said.
“This is certainly a high profile case and sometimes in higher profile cases it’s a little less predictable what’s going to happen,” Hamp added. “You have some judges that might want to make an example of somebody and you have some judges that will try to be very fair and try to not treat them any differently than they would any other defendant in their court.”
Last month, Mosley lost his reelection bid in the Republican primary election. Elected in 2016 to represent District 5 as a member of the Arizona House of Representatives, Mosley’s term is set to end at the end of this year.
Reporter John Gutekunst contributed to this story.