Jan
01

Maricopa County Sheriff’s motion for summary judgment denied

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District court Judge Neil Wake recited the following undisputed facts:

That night, he had trouble sleeping because he did not feel well. Around 2:00 a.m. on Saturday, August 11, Lovejoy’s lieutenant at the Chandler Police Department awoke Lovejoy with a phone call. The lieutenant reported a possible sighting of a serial rapist that had recently been terrorizing the Chandler community. Lovejoy’s lieutenant asked Lovejoy to report for duty. Lovejoy agreed, but instead of getting out of bed, he fell back asleep because he was extremely tired. About an hour later, Lovejoy’s lieutenant called again. Lovejoy then got out of bed, put on his uniform, put Bandit into his police SUV, and began driving toward the scene. As he drove, he spoke with his lieutenant again by cell phone. In frustration, the lieutenant told Lovejoy to return home. Lovejoy did so and placed Bandit in his backyard kennel, but Lovejoy did not go back to sleep because he was upset with himself for falling asleep after his lieutenant’s first phone call that morning. By this time, Lovejoy had slept only about six-and-a-half hours over the previous two days. Lovejoy volunteered for an extra-duty traffic control shift that morning beginning at 6:00 a.m. He was not required to bring Bandit with him but he brought Bandit anyway because, he says, he wanted to be prepared if the serial rapist was again spotted. Although the record is somewhat hazy, it appears that Lovejoy and Bandit both remained in the SUV for the entire shift, which ended at 9:00 a.m. Lovejoy believes that Bandit had fallen asleep in his kennel by this point because daytime was Bandit’s usual sleep time. While driving home, Lovejoy received various cell phone calls and was still talking on his phone when he pulled into his driveway, exited his vehicle, and walked into his house. Lovejoy did not take Bandit out of the SUV. For the rest of the day, Lovejoy attended to various family obligations, including helping his stepson with a minor car accident, shopping with one of his daughters, and going out to dinner with his wife. He used his personal vehicle for all of these tasks.

At about 10:30 that night, he returned to his police SUV to get it ready for another extra-duty shift, smelled an unusual smell, and discovered Bandit dead in his kennel. Lovejoy was distraught. He soon called fellow Chandler Police Officer Ron Emary to help him report the incident, but he could barely do more than babble over the phone. Emary arrived on the scene soon after, as did Chandler Police Department Commander Joseph Gaylord, who photographed the scene, cleaned up Bandit’s kennel, and took Bandit’s body to an animal hospital for cremation.

As those who followed this story are aware, Officer Lovejoy was later charged by the County Attorney’s Office and found not guilty of animal cruelty.  If you or a loved one are charged with any criminal offense, you should immediately seek legal advice from a Phoenix Criminal Defense Attorney.

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