PHOENIX — Maricopa County Attorney Allister Adel is announcing she is resigning from her position, effective Friday, March 25.
In a statement released Monday afternoon, Adel stated, "I am proud of the many accomplishments of the Maricopa County Attorney’s Office during my tenure, including policies that seek justice in a fair and equitable manner, hold violent offenders accountable, protect the rights of crime victims, and keep families safe."
Her resignation comes after a growing list of scandals and failures dating back to her election in November 2020.
Just confirmed AZ State Bar met with Allister Adel last week.— Dave Biscobing (@DaveBiscobing15) March 22, 2022
She’s facing multiple Bar probes re: Protest cases, lack of office supervision, and sobriety.
Timing adds context to Adel’s abrupt resignation.
I’m told the State Bar isn’t empty handed when it comes to evidence.
Adel has largely deflected responsibility for what’s happened under her leadership, causing many in her office and the community to criticize a lack of accountability in the office.
In early 2021, ABC15’s “Politically Charged” investigation exposed MCAO colluded with Phoenix police to invent a gang and falsely charge protesters as members.
Later that summer, Adel entered an out-of-state rehab facility, but kept it secret from county leaders.
As the scrutiny grew, Adel’s executive staff grew tired of dealing with the fallout and wrote a letter in February asking her to resign.
In response, Adel penned her own letter stating she had no intentions of resigning.
Adel is facing multiple state bar investigations, including one for failing to properly supervise her office when prosecutors falsely charged dozens of protesters in 2020.
The latest scandal involved her office having to drop 180 misdemeanor cases because prosecutors missed filing deadlines.
Monday afternoon, the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors accepted Adel's resignation at an emergency hearing.
NEW: In an emergency public meeting today, the Board of Supervisors accepted the resignation of County Attorney Allister Adel and called for an election to fill the upcoming vacancy.— Maricopa County (@maricopacounty) March 21, 2022
Read the full statement below: https://t.co/4lroRe7F7r pic.twitter.com/615FjQBOUB
"I think it was a shocker to everybody because she had been so adamant that she wasn't going to resign," said former Maricopa County Attorney Rick Romley. Romley had previously endorsed Adel for the position, but he had called for her resignation in recent weeks.
Maricopa County Sheriff Paul Penzone called Adel's decision to resign "significant."
"As individuals, and as elected officials, our responsibility is to effectively meet the needs of the people we serve," Penzone said in a written statement to ABC15. "Although we are human and make mistakes, we must be committed to accountability of our duties."
Romley recommended Adel's successor be chosen from people inside the Maricopa County Attorney's Office. He said the appointee will have to rebuild trust with the community and police agencies. Romley also said the next county attorney will have to rebuild staffing losses and catch up on piles of cases that have gone unprosecuted.
"This is not going to be an easy task," Romley said. "It's not going to happen overnight, but the public needs to know that everybody is going to give 120%."
Read Adel's full statement announcing her resignation below:
"Today I announce my decision to resign as the Maricopa County Attorney effective Friday, March 25, 2022, at 5:00pm. Voters supported me in November 2020 as the first woman elected to be Maricopa County Attorney and it is an honor I will always cherish.
I am proud of the many accomplishments of the Maricopa County Attorney’s Office during my tenure, including policies that seek justice in a fair and equitable manner, hold violent offenders accountable, protect the rights of crime victims, and keep families safe.
I want to thank the employees of the Maricopa County Attorney's Office. I value and respect the work and dedication you give to this office. Few people genuinely realize, or appreciate, how hard this work is or how committed you are to serving the greater good, but I do.
Thank you to family, friends, colleagues, and voters who have offered their support and encouragement to me, either publicly or privately. Expressing my gratitude will never be sufficient but please know that you have been heard and that I am thankful.
I am confident that the important mission of the Maricopa County Attorney’s Office will continue. My dedication and service to my community does not end here."
Arizona Governor Doug Ducey released a statement in response to Adel's announced resignation:
“Maricopa County Attorney Allister Adel made a difficult, brave and very personal decision. I respect her choice and wish her and her family the best. I want to thank her for her service to the people of Maricopa County.
The men and women in the Maricopa County Attorney’s Office have a tough and important job. They stand on the front lines of law enforcement in our state’s largest county. We stand with them and will continue to support them during this period of transition.”