Arizona Eagletarian

Arizona Eagletarian

Friday, September 5, 2014

Better know a candidate -- Crystal Nuttle, Republican for AZ Senate

Crystal Nuttle qualified for the general election ballot as a Republican candidate for the state senate from LD29 by filing 327 nominating petition signatures -- and being unopposed in the primary, garnering 3,734 votes from Republicans and Independents.

So, just who is Crystal Nuttle? Here's what she says on her website.
Hello! My name is Crystal Nuttle, and I am here to help Shake, Bake and Awake America back to the original roots that our great Country was founded on! I paid a high price to say what most people cannot say through receiving an education that I would not have chosen if I had a choice. Having asked my Heavenly Father, through the name of Jesus Christ, many years ago to use me as He saw fit in impacting America, I learned a deeper truth that His ways are not our ways. Raised by a mother who knew how to call upon the name of Jesus, she taught me to do the same. As a result, I witnessed many miracles; and expecting miracles became a natural way of life. Therefore, God knew what kind of fiber I was made out of in order to allow me to go through fiery furnaces and not get burned to a crisp.
In and of itself, there is, of course, nothing at all wrong with believing in God. In America, that is especially true when one believes in the Christian God. But not all Christian believers are necessarily qualified to represent citizens in lawmaking bodies.

Not much of the information on Nuttle's website seems capable of instilling confidence in voters that she has a grasp on a broad range of key issues. She appears to be a crusading candidate with a focus on one issue -- that state Child Protective Services improperly takes children out of safe homes.
Crystal has been on the battlefields of the Superior Court Justice System. She has seen first hand the devastation inflicted on families by the hands of Judges, Lawyers, Psychologists, Counselors, Child Protective Service and Law-enforcement. She witnesses children’s lives being destroyed on a daily bases with NO intervention from whom God holds responsible! The Church (Body of Christ)! Out of her tragedy to triumph court trial she became a certified court watcher and lobbyist for family law. Her passion is to be God’s mouthpiece to separate the precious from the vile according to Jeremiah 15:19. Also to administer justice as it is written in Proverbs 31: 8, 9 "Open your mouth for the dumb [those unable to speak for themselves], for the rights of all who are left desolate and defenseless. Open your mouth judge righteously, and administer justice for the poor and needy."
Then there is the July 2013 incident that resulted in Nuttle being charged with felony (class 6, the least serious) custodial interference. Along with her [then] campaign treasurer, Nuttle went to Tucson to assist a mother in "rescuing" her son from CPS custody.
Police say on July 26th, Nuttle and three other women, including the treasurer of her campaign, entered a secured facility where Teketa Riley was visiting her child on a CPS supervised visit.
Police believe the women helped Riley take her 6-year-old son during the visit. The child was later found safe. Now all but one of the women are charged with custodial interference.
In August 2013, the Arizona Capitol Times reported,
Crystal Nuttle of Glendale, 55, who filed her committee for Legislative District 29 near the end of April, was arrested along with Debbie Ramos, 49, Paula Flowe, 56, and Teketa Riley, 37, the mother of the 6-year-old boy. Ramos is listed as Nuttle’s campaign treasurer [Ramos is, as of September 2014, no longer listed as Nuttle's treasurer]. The district covers portions of Glendale and west Phoenix.
Court records show that the four women each face a felony charge of custodial interference and, in addition, Ramos is facing two counts of misdemeanor assault.
Sgt. Chris Widmer, a spokesman for the Tucson Police Department, confirmed that the Glendale address Nuttle listed for her campaign is the same address listed for her in police arrest records.
Nuttle, Ramos and Flowe are suspected of helping Riley escape with her son by causing a distraction in the lobby of Aviva Children’s Services, a company that the state contracts with to facilitate supervised visitation. While one of the women caused a disturbance, the police report says Riley walked out the front door with her son. The woman causing the distraction then followed Riley into the getaway vehicle parked outside and the four women drove away with the boy, the report said. [...]
Nuttle confirmed that she did help Riley take her son from CPS and that she was arrested for doing so. However, she believes that she and the three other women did so lawfully under a state statute that allows, under very specific circumstances, for a parent to take a child from the custody of the other parent if there is “good faith and reasonable belief” that the child is in danger.
That statute, ARS 13-1302, does not allow for a parent to remove a child from the custody of an institution and only allows for the removal of the child from the other parent if custody has not yet been determined or if the parents share custody.
Nuttle said the women were removing Riley’s son from an abusive foster parent and that they can prove it, though she would not give details other than that they have “clear and convincing exhibits” proving the abuse. Nuttle also accused CPS of generally kidnapping children from their parents and selling them into sex slavery. [...]
The group was later tracked to Nuttle’s Glendale home, where her car was found. According to the police report, Riley, who was detained when she walked outside the home, admitted to taking her son and told officers that Nuttle and Ramos were with her when she did it. Nuttle was detained later when she also left her house.
Rosalie Triviz, an LD29 precinct committeewoman, encouraged Nuttle to run for office and had hoped she would “take down Steve Gallardo,” a Democrat and the current LD29 senator. But over time, she became uneasy with Nuttle’s ideas and activities and felt that something was “just not right,” about her.
Triviz said she was a ward of the state as a child, and Nuttle’s rhetoric about children being kidnapped and abused by CPS didn’t track with her experiences. [...]
Court records show that in 1996, Nuttle was convicted of custodial interference, a class 6 felony, for fleeing with her two children after a court awarded her husband full custody in their divorce.
Nuttle was sentenced to 360 hours of community service, three years of probation and was ordered to pay court fees and about $3,000 in restitution to her husband.
Her probation was extended for another three years in 1999 because she had not paid the court fees or restitution. Though her probation appears to have been terminated in 2002, she was ordered as recently as 2006 to pay the restitution she still owed.
Matt Roberts, a spokesman for the Secretary of State’s Office, said that voting rights are revoked after a felony conviction, meaning that person is not a “qualified elector” and is ineligible to run for office. If it is the first felony, Roberts said that after all the terms of the sentence are satisfied, civil rights are automatically restored and the felon must simply re-register to vote.
Maricopa County elections officials confirmed that Nuttle is registered to vote in LD29 and has been registered since 2002. 
In a telephone interview, Nuttle told me that she believes her actions were heroic.

Given the CPS scandal -- discovery of thousands of uninvestigated reports of abuse and neglect -- that gave way to breaking the agency out from the massive Department of Economic Security, it's difficult to see how this could be a winning issue, even if Nuttle were otherwise qualified to serve. 

Nuttle filed $5 contributions hoping to qualify for Clean Elections funding. Just today, the Citizens Clean Election Commission indicates that Nuttle failed to collect enough valid contributions to qualify. Since the qualifying period ended on August 19, 2014, Nuttle will not be receiving public funding for her campaign.

Nuttle also told me that, despite the disappointing Clean Elections development, she does have volunteers, including from Litchfield Park, who plan to help her. She does still intend to wage a campaign against Democratic candidate and current state Rep. Martin Quezada.

The latest voter registration numbers for LD29, from August 2014, shows 26,738 Democrats; 14,206 Republicans; 28, 091 Independent/Other; and 850 Libertarian.

Oh, and about that class 6 felony charge, Nuttle is currently represented by a Pima County Public Defender, Mark Ulmer. A jury trial is pending, scheduled at present to begin on January 13, 2015. That happens to be the day after the start of the 2015 Regular Session of the 52nd Legislature. 

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