U.S. Attorney Charlton in Phoenix was fired for "repeated instances of insubordination, actions taken contrary to instructions, and actions taken that were clearly unauthorized." Documents released by the Administration also include a chain of e-mails from August 2006 in which Charlton tried to reach Gonzales to persuade him the death penalty was inappropriate for the case without the body.
On Aug. 16, Michael Elston in the deputy attorney general's office told Charlton: "The AG has denied your invitation to speak further about the case. Please file the notice." Later that day Charlton's office advised the federal court in Phoenix that it would seek death for Jose Rios Rico in the 2003 drug slaying of Angela Pinkerton.
In the Rios Rico case, the dispute centered on the Justice Department's refusal to look for Pinkerton's body, according to people familiar with the matter. Informants, who apparently were granted plea deals in the case, had tipped federal prosecutors that her body was buried in a Waste Management Inc. landfill in Mobile, Ariz. It would cost $500,000 to $1 million to find it, however.
Federal prosecutors "told us they knew where she was buried," said Annette Grzybowski, Pinkerton's sister. But she said Washington officials would not approve the expenditure. "I was extremely upset," Grzybowski said.
"It all took too long. It's been four years and we still haven't had a trial." Grzybowski's account was confirmed by an attorney knowledgeable about the details of the case. "As a matter of policy, we don't comment on pending litigation," said Erik Ablin, a Justice spokesman.
Rios Rico's defense lawyer, Thomas Gorman, said: "If this woman's death merits a death prosecution, then her body should be found and returned to her family. The idea that they could leave it in a garbage dump is pretty disturbing."
It was only the second time Charlton had tangled with superiors in Justice over whether to seek the death penalty. Charlton also did not want to execute a Navajo, deferring to a long-standing informal policy based on the tribe's opposition to the death penalty. But Justice officials ordered him to seek a death sentence in the slayings of two women in a carjacking.
These are the official reasons why Charlton was forced to resign. Do you think that these are really the true reasons, or could it be that Charlton was investigating improper financial transactions involving the use of his elected office by Republican Congressman Dick Renzi?