The Maricopa County sheriff in Phoenix has already exceeded part of its budget by more than $1 million – just four months into the fiscal year, reports the Arizona Republic. Officials have spent more on overtime in the first months of the fiscal year than they were to spend for its entirety. As a result, sheriff’s deputies failed to transport 46 jail inmates to their court appearances yesterday and some courts lacked deputies to take defendants into custody.
The sheriff’s office initially said that it would no longer provide service to some courts or transport prisoners to certain hearings, even though they are required to do so by state law. A judge threatened to hold sheriff’s officials in contempt if they refused to transport inmates, saying it “affects the timely resolution of criminal cases and deprives victims of their rights.” The sheriff’s official whose memo led to a reduction in services asserted that she had merely made suggestions that were implemented by mistake.