May 11, 2005

Prison-walk photos may derail extradition

The Arizona Republic

Michael Kiefer
The Arizona Republic
May. 11, 2005 12:00 AM

For more than three years, a Catholic priest has refused to leave his native Ireland to face two counts of felony sexual conduct with a minor in Arizona.

On April 22, the High Court of Ireland was going to rule on whether to extradite the Rev. Patrick Colleary to Phoenix.

But that morning, according to Colleary's lawyer, a Dublin cabdriver showed a government attorney riding in his cab newspaper photos of jail inmates dressed in pink underwear and flip-flops being paraded in pink handcuffs down a Phoenix street.

It took a week for the photos to reach Ireland of Sheriff Joe Arpaio's much advertised April 15 migration, when about 700 nearly nude prisoners walked the block from the old Madison Street Jail to the new Fourth Avenue Jail. But it took just moments for that photo to derail years of negotiation on the extradition.

On Tuesday, a letter from the Irish Chief State Solicitor's Office arrived at the Maricopa County Attorney's Office - via the U.S. Justice Department in Washington, D.C. - asking prosecutors there to explain the apparent discrepancies between the photographed pink-underwear odyssey and earlier affidavits saying that the underwear was always worn under jail uniforms and was not intended as a form of humiliation.

The County Attorney's Office replied with its own condemnation of the pink parade, questioning "whether there were necessary security or penological interests requiring the mass disrobing of inmates before they entered the new jail," and stating its own regrets.

Posted by kshaw at May 11, 2005 08:48 AM