Drug Case Against Constable Fizzles 

Drug Case Against Constable Fizzles 
Posted by FoM on December 29, 1999 at 06:57:44 PT
By Christina Leonard, The Arizona Republic 
Source: Arizona Central
Tempe Constable Mark Hamblen says it came as no shock to him that prosecutors have declined to press drug charges against him and his roommates. "It's bothersome," he said Tuesday. "But at this point, I'm almost finding it ridiculous. I'm flabbergasted by the whole thing."
Hamblen, 30, was arrested in September after police said they found a "usable quantity of marijuana," a pipe and several bongs in his rented Tempe home. But Bill FitzGerald, spokesman for the Maricopa County Attorney's Office, said there was "no likelihood of conviction" on any charge against Hamblen or his roommates. He didn't elaborate but said the case could be resubmitted if additional evidence was uncovered. Police launched the investigation after neighbors in the 1700 block of South Parkside Drive complained of parties and alleged drug use. After finding paraphernalia in trash linked to the household, police arrested Hamblen and Angelia Montgomery, 25. The third roommate, Thomas Slattery, 34, was never arrested. Tempe police said they thought they had ample evidence for prosecutors to charge Hamblen. "I don't know what the factors are or what any other reasons could be," Sgt. Dave Lind said. "In this case, there was enough information to indicate that everybody knew about it. That's what possession is." Lind said the drugs and paraphernalia were found in common living areas and Hamblen's bedroom. However, Hamblen denied knowledge of drugs in his home. In fact, he believes he was framed by one or two justices of the peace who didn't want him to win the $44,000-a-year elected position. "I am very pleased to hear that this matter is being brought to a close," Hamblen said in a statement. "However, it appears that the problems with Tempe Court are not near a conclusion." Justice of the Peace Victor Wilkins apparently has locked Hamblen out of the office since Sept. 23. Hamblen, who was elected constable last year, now must work out of another justice court. "From Day One, he (Wilkins) treated me as though I was less than a person," Hamblen said. Police said they are investigating a threat Hamblen is accused of making against Wilkins in October. Witnesses say Hamblen said he was "going to burn" Wilkins. Wilkins could not be reached for comment. Constables serve four-year terms and enforce court-ordered evictions and serve summonses from the justice courts. Christina Leonard can be reached at: christina.leonard or at (602) 444-7972.  Published: December 29, 1999Copyright 1999, Arizona Central
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