On Wednesday, the attorney for former Pima County Sheriff Chief Deputy Chris Radtke filed a Notice Of Public Authority Defense with the federal court. Sean Chapman filed the Notice and advised the court that an excludable delay was expected.
The Notice reads in part:
At all times alleged in the Indictment, and with respect to the acts alleged in the Indictment, Christopher Radke was acting as an employee of the Pima County Sheriff’s Department, acting within the lawful scope and authority of his employment on behalf of and in the interests of his employer (Pima County Sheriff’s Department). [Read Notice Here]
According to the Department of Justice, there are three types of situations that constitute a defense of governmental authority:
● The defendant may offer evidence that he/she honestly, albeit mistakenly, believed he/she was performing the crimes charged in the indictment in cooperation with the government.
● The affirmative defense of public authority, i.e., that the defendant knowingly committed a criminal act but did so in reasonable reliance upon a grant of authority from a government official to engage in illegal activity.
● A government official commits an error and, in reliance thereon, the defendant thereby violates the law.
The Federal Rule of Criminal Procedure requires a defense of governmental authority requires advance notice to the government before being asserted by a defendant. “A defendant intending to claim a defense of actual or believed exercise of public authority on behalf of a law enforcement or Federal intelligence agency at the time of the alleged offense shall. . .serve upon the attorney for the government a written notice of such intention. . . . Such notice shall identify the law enforcement or Federal intelligence agency and any member of such agency on behalf of which and the period of time in which the defendant claims the actual or believed exercise of public authority occurred….”
Radtke was indicted in October for the misuse of RICO funds.
Radtke’s latest move is not surprising given the indictment refers to a conspiracy. Radtke was charged on 7 counts related to the misuse of RICO funds. In the indictment, “known and unknown” conspirators are referred to in relation to a left of funds of approximately $500,000.
According to the indictment, the alleged misuse of funds began in 2011 while the Department was under the leadership of Clarence Dupnik. Sheriff Department sources say Dupnik has been addled the last few years he was in office. Although he had already left the Department in the care of Nanos and Richard Kastigar, Dupnik held onto the office long enough to avoid a special election for his replacement. As the ADI reported earlier, during the 2012 election, Dupnik denied the suspicions by his staff that he had no intention of completing his term.
In January 2014, Dupnik officially named Nanos as his Chief Deputy, Nanos had been responsible for the overall management of the Department. Dupnik argued that Nanos’s appointment would “ensure continuity and stability in the organization as we go through this period of leadership transition,” hinting at his retirement.
Dupnik said that he hoped the Pima County Supervisors would name Nanos as his replacement, and by a 4 to 1 vote, the supervisors did just that. Only Supervisor Ally Miller voted against the Nanos appointment. She did so because she questioned the entire process and the fact that it disenfranchised the voters.
At the time of his appointment, many believed that it was imperative that Nanos or some other Dupnik administration operative fill Dupnik’s shoes in order to ensure that the department’s notorious corruption not be exposed.
Kevin Kubitskey, chairman of the Pima County Deputy Sheriffs Association stated, “If Chris Radtke is planning on blaming Brad Gagnepain for all of his conscious decisions, I would ask him about the oath of office and what it means. We all swore an oath to not do what he did. To claim he was only following orders is actually kind of funny because he was the boss. Our rules and regulations have no protection for anyone whose actions are criminal. In fact they explicitly point out that we have an obligation to not follow orders of an illegal nature and to have enough leadership to recognize when that is. From day one of the academy, we are taught that we are held to a higher standard. One would think that Chris Radtke would be held to an even higher standard. To blame a guy that took his own life is so transparent to anyone. He will have to blame others for those orders because Brad Gagnepain had not been above him for several years.”
Kubitskey continued, “Chris Radtke will have to blame Clarence Dupnik or Chris Nanos – possibly others who had fingerprints on the process and the money. I say good luck with that. People in the community are not that naive. They will tear through that defense. There should be some really nervous people. That also explains the meeting of members of our department and Chris Radtke following his indictment.”