On March 27, Arizona State Representative Paul Mosley was pulled over for driving 97 mph on a stretch of road in La Paz County where the speed limit was 55.
However, CBS News reports that when the sheriff's deputy walked up to the window, the Republican state legislator laughed off the incident and told the deputy not to waste any time trying to give him a ticket.
As a state Congressman, Mosley believed he had legislative immunity.
As if trying to get himself in trouble, Mosley then doubled down on his claim that, when it came to speeding, he was above the law.
The Republican member of the Arizona House of Representatives told the sheriff's deputy who pulled him over that he sometimes drives "130, 140, 120 [mph]," in an effort to get home quickly and surprise his wife.
This is Paul Mosley, current rep for LD5. While correct that legislators are immune from almost all arrests, I don’… https://t.co/WhlExOMEG7— Steph H. (@Steph H.)1531374659.0
Representative Mosley told the deputy:
I don't break the law because I can, but because, you know, I'm just trying to get home.
It's hard to believe anyone, let alone an elected official, could be so brazen. Fortunately, you don't have to take anyone's word for it.
The whole incident was captured by the sheriff deputy's body camera.
@abc15 The video demonstrates how much regard he gives the law. He’s a member of the Transportation committee, so t… https://t.co/B2DQGLU7uv— COVID killed my dad (@COVID killed my dad)1531440224.0
Mosley posted an apology on Facebook, apologizing for his flippant demeanor and claiming he was joking about driving 140 mph.
"I would like to apologize to my colleagues and constituents, as well as law enforcement, for my conduct on March 27th, 2018, which is shown in the recently-released video. My desire to get home to see my family does not justify how fast I was speeding nor my reference to legislative immunity when being pulled over."
"Legislative immunity is a serious responsibility and should not be taken lightly or abused. In addition, my jokes about frequently driving over 100 miles per hour during my 3-hour commute to and from the capitol were entirely inappropriate and showed extremely bad judgement on my part, for which I am truly sorry."
"I have no excuse for any of this, only regret of my actions, a hope for forgiveness and a commitment that it will not happen again."
Every constitutional law expert worth his or her salt, however, isn't swayed by the Republican's apology. Elections lawyer Kory Langhofer wants it to be clear that claiming legislative immunity can get you out of a speeding ticket isn't just corrupt—it's incorrect.
Legislative immunity can only protect lawmakers from very specific and small crimes which might keep them from casting votes in Congress. Langhofer told KPHO:
"It is a big no-no to claim legislative immunity to get out of a speeding ticket."
"It really is just a shameful thing. It also doesn't work."
Arizona's Republican Speaker of the House, J.D. Mesnard, agreed with Langhofer's assessment:
"Nothing short of an emergency justifies that kind of speeding, and assertions of immunity in that situation seem outside the intent of the constitutional provision regarding legislative immunity."
Now an AZ House ethics complaint has been filed against Rep. Paul Mosley. https://t.co/0PDXrKdeiI— Melissa Blasius (@Melissa Blasius)1531439123.0
Though no previously documented instances of speeding were found on record for Mosley, Cochise County Attorney Brian McIntyre is still considering the possibility of pressing further charges.
"I do not believe the ethical rules permit me to say whether I intend to charge the matter or not."
"However, I am able to say that it will be reviewed consistent with our ethical obligations and a charging decision will be made as time and resources permit."
Mosley is up for re-election in November, running against Democratic challenger Mary McCord Robinson. But his recent behavior, captured on camera, may hurt his chances of victory.
Additionally, the Arizona Fraternal Order of Police withdrew its endorsement over the incident with the sheriff's deputy. John Ortolano, the organization's president, released a statement condemning the Republican Congressman's actions:
"Rep. Mosley's recklessness, his demeanor and his utter disregard for the safety of the public represent the exact opposite of what the Arizona Fraternal Order of Police looks for in an elected official."
"Potentially lethal speeding isn't a joke."
"We will not stand with those who think it's acceptable or funny to risk the lives of others while behind the wheel of a lethal weapon."
Breaking: The Arizona Fraternal Order of Police withdraws its endorsement of Rep. Paul Mosley after he tried to use… https://t.co/LyNG65Sk6M— Dennis Welch (@Dennis Welch)1531421006.0
This just goes to show—reckless driving is never worth it! And come November, it may just cost Paul Mosley his seat in the Arizona House of Representatives.