A Pima County Attorney candidate was reprimanded four times — three for how he handled criminal cases and one for viewing pornography while at work, according to disciplinary records released by the office.
In a public records request by the Arizona Daily Star, the county attorney’s office released documents pertaining to reprimands given to Mark Diebolt, a deputy county attorney who has worked in the office for 23 years.
No reprimands are on file for candidate Jonathan Mosher, who is chief criminal deputy in the county attorney’s office, said Chief Civil Deputy Andrew L. Flagg.
Diebolt and Mosher are both on leave since they are campaigning to lead the office. The third candidate in the Aug. 4 Democratic primary is private lawyer Laura Conover.
On April 1, 2019, Diebolt received a letter of reprimand for neglect of duty and failure to satisfactorily perform job duties in the first-degree murder case of Paul Gasbarri. Diebolt did not respond to a defense motion to suppress the contents of a cell phone belonging to Gasbarri, even though Diebolt was given additional time to respond to the motion. The phone contained material evidence helpful to the state’s case, and it was not allowed to be submitted.
In response to the Star, Diebolt said he had 35 violent crimes cases pending, of which about 10 were homicides, and during the same time frame he was in a murder trial.
“I missed the deadline because I was swamped. It was my mistake. It was my fault.”
On Oct. 2, 2015, Diebolt received a letter of reprimand regarding his failure in 2014 to disclose potentially exculpatory evidence in the first-degree murder case of Roger Catalan. The document said Diebolt failed to tell his supervisor who was assigned to prosecute a man in the case.
The defense attorney in that matter filed a motion requesting a dismissal or a re-sentencing because of Diebolt’s failure to disclose the information, according to the records.
In response, Diebolt said he set up an interview between detectives and a man who disclosed the evidence to police, but Diebolt said he had left the interview session before the information was revealed.
“I left the interview to work on other cases. It is still my fault. I should have found out what happened from the detectives, and I did not,” Diebolt said.
Diebolt received a third reprimand for consenting to a plea agreement in 2015 for a defendant, Joshua Ortiz, whose record included eight felony convictions, including for drugs and burglary, and for aggravated assault, promoting prison contraband and inciting a criminal syndicate.
Under the plea, the defendant’s sentence was capped between two to 3½ years. Diebolt offered the plea agreement outside the office plea guidelines without supervisor approval, according to the records.
In response, Diebolt said: “I understand it is important to get approval. I felt I was making the right decision. To me it wasn’t an egregious error.”
And in a 2009 investigation, it was discovered that Diebolt was using his “office e-mail account to receive, intentionally view during work hours, and retain in your in-box materials of pornographic and X-rated nature, as well as transmit email of a discriminatory nature,” states a document.
The images entitled “Motivational Posters” were sent from Diebolt’s office computer to a former employee, according to the document. It also says that on about 20 other occasions within 60 days in 2009 Diebolt viewed during work hours emails and attachments containing pornographic photographs and videos, some graphically depicting sex acts, that were sent by two men.
The letter of counseling, which was issued May 18, 2009, said Diebolt was required to follow rules of the county attorney’s office and Pima County policies. He was to stop from sending and receiving inappropriate emails, and his office email account was to be monitored regularly to make sure he was following the rules. Also emails from the senders of the pornographic materials were blocked.
In an interview with the Star in response to the findings, Diebolt said, “My participation wasn’t intentional, but I am sorry that it occurred. I still regret this from 11 years ago.”
He said he never requested, solicited or downloaded images, but he did open the emails, which he knows was not appropriate to be on a county work computer.
Diebolt said he acknowledges he has made some mistakes but that he will keep working to improve his service to the community.
Contact reporter Carmen Duarte at email@example.com or 573-4104. On Twitter: @cduartestar