State Rep. Paul Mosley appeared in court Sept. 13 after a warrant was issued for his arrest when he failed to appear for a scheduled court hearing last week in connection to a March traffic stop.
Mosley, R-Lake Havasu City, pleaded innocent to one count of excessive speeding, a Class 3 misdemeanor punishable by up to 30 days in jail and a $500 fine, staff at the Parker Justice Court told the Arizona Capitol Times.
Mosley has retained colleague, Rep. David Stringer, R-Prescott, a criminal defense attorney, to represent him, court records show.
A warrant was issued for Mosley’s arrest on Sept. 6 after he failed to appear for a scheduled court hearing the previous day, court records show.
However, it appears that Mosley was never served and may have been unaware of the court hearing.
The state’s court website indicates that a complaint was filed against Mosley on Aug. 3 and a summons sent by certified mail on Aug. 8.
But documents provided to the Capitol Times appear to show that the summons was never served. A copy of the certified mail shows that an attempt was made to serve the summons on Aug. 15 and again on Aug. 25. A “nixie” label, which the U.S. Postal Service uses to identify a piece of mail which is undeliverable as addressed, is affixed to the summons.
Defense attorney Kurt Altman, who is not involved in the case, said while a warrant is usually issued in criminal court matters if the person fails to appear in court, it is rare for a warrant to be issued in the case of a misdemeanor. Still, he said the warrant is likely valid even if Mosley was never served.
Altman said the warrant will likely be automatically quashed once Mosley appears in court.
“A warrant is the only way to get them in if they are unable to serve by the summons on a criminal matter,” he said, and added that Mosley likely just needs to call and ask for the court hearing to be reset.
Mosley was pulled over on March 27 by a La Paz County sheriff’s deputy on State Route 95 just north of Parker. The deputy’s radar gun clocked Mosley driving 97 mph in a 55 mph zone, according to the police report.
According to the police report, Mosley told the sheriff’s deputy that he shouldn’t bother citing him for going 40 mph over the speed limit, citing legislative immunity.
Mosley was also caught on the deputy’s body camera bragging about how he drives more than 120 mph on Interstate 10, “if there’s no traffic.”
The case was turned over to the Cochise County Attorney for review after the La Paz County Attorney’s Office requested that the case be turned over to another agency because of a conflict of interest.
Cochise County filed a complaint against Mosley on Aug. 3 for excessive speeding.
Mosley was narrowly defeated by political newcomer Leo Biasiucci in his bid for re-election during the Aug. 28 primary. The loss followed other reports of instances when Mosley was pulled over for speeding, but was never charged, citing legislative immunity.
The immunity clause in the Arizona Constitution spares lawmakers from arrest in “all cases except treason, felony, and breach of the peace.” The state Constitution also says lawmakers may not be subject to “any civil process during the session of the legislature, nor for fifteen days next before the commencement of each session.”
While Mosley apologized for his behavior, the incident prompted Gov. Doug Ducey to sign an executive order making it clear that law enforcement officers may cite or otherwise penalize lawmakers and other elected officials when they endanger public safety through excessive speeding or other traffic violations.
Ducey’s executive order clarifies that even with legislative immunity, elected officials aren’t exempt from Arizona’s laws. His decree also specifies that legislative immunity applies only during the legislative session and 15 days prior.
Mosley did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Mosley was released on his own recognizance and is scheduled to appear before Justice of the Peace Charlene Weis on Oct. 18.