The State Bar of Arizona has filed a complaint against Chief Deputy Pinal County Attorney Richard Wintory for his actions during the prosecution of a capital case at the Arizona Attorney General’s Office.
In March, The Open File posted a story about Wintory and the hubbub that gave rise to his leaving the AG’s office. In September 2011, defense attorneys in a capital case out of Pima County filed a motion complaining that Wintory was improperly communicating with one of their potential witnesses. Wintory allegedly had numerous conversations with a woman who was working with defense counsel to gather evidence about Goldin’s family history. Wintory submitted an affidavit in which he claimed to have only spoken with her on two occasions. However, court records showed that the pair had spoken at least 7 times including after Pima County Superior Court Judge Paul Tang had expressed concerns about their communications.
The defendant ultimately received a plea deal that gave him just 11 years in prison. Though Wintory cited other reasons for the deal, Judge Tang explicitly said during sentencing that the “apparent misconduct allegedly engaged in by the prosecutor” was a contributing factor. Tang referred Wintory to the state Bar for investigation. The Bar has now completed that investigation and filed a formal complaint.
The complaint alleges that Wintory made false statements, was dishonest and engaged in conduct prejudicial to justice. The case will go to a disciplinary hearing unless it is settled out of court.
Wintory told The Arizona Republic that he is “confident that if we get before a hearing panel and lay the facts out, they will see I had no intention to mislead anyone on this matter,” He continued.”I answered every question as honestly as I could. I had no reason to want to conceal my contact with the intermediary. I’m at a loss at how this kind of honest misunderstanding rises to the level where we are accusing each other of lying.”
The Open File will continue to provide updates as the disciplinary action proceeds.