Monday, December 26, 2011

The latest on Daniel Patterson UPDATED 11:00pm MST 12-26-11

When news came to me last night that an arrest warrant for state Rep. Daniel Patterson had been issued by the Tucson Police Dept. -- for violation of court orders regarding child custody -- I knew there would be more to the story than I could find out at that time. So, I waited on it, hoping to get more information or a resolution before writing about it.

Before any resolution however, responding to a blog post by Three Sonorans which had reported the incident, Patterson tweeted:
Morales is wrong again. I'm enjoying a family vacation. Happy Holidays to all.
Neither Patterson nor Morales gave the whole story.

I replied to Patterson's tweet asking if he was certain there was no arrest warrant out on him. Thus far, I have received no response. He called me.

Here are the facts as I understand them at this time:

  • Schaffer called Tucson Police who came to her home, filed a report (TPD report number 1112250552) and (according to Schaffer) issued an arrest warrant for Patterson. Schaffer said she understood the charge would be domestic violence related. I did not see how it could have been a domestic violence charge.
  • Tucson blogger Three Sonorans reported the situation as he understood it, but it was still dramatically premature.
  • Three Sonorans told me he intended to get a copy of the police report, but because of budget cut related furloughs, TPDs records office was not open today. Patterson also tried to contact TPD and could find no one who knew anything about the situation. Which could have been a function of the furlough/holiday or that there was not any warrant to begin with.
  • Patterson tweeted (as cited above) that Three Sonorans was wrong, but instead of addressing the issues raised, indicated he was enjoying a family holiday.  There's not much more you can say in a tweet.
  • The family holiday -- a trip to California for several days -- was authorized and coordinated with Schaffer (she acknowledged this to me this morning). but he unilaterally decided -- contrary to court orders -- to skip the part where their daughter was to spend Christmas night with her mother.  

Based on conversations with other Tucsonans who know both Patterson and Schaffer, the general perception is that Patterson intends to portray the incident as an overreaction by Schaffer to a situation that should not have been any concern. Having endured an acrimonious divorce and several years of custody related drama myself, I can relate to what Schaffer experienced yesterday. I can also relate to the frustrations Patterson had to deal with. As was the case for me, I believe there are issues on both sides in yesterday's Patterson/Schaffer conflict. Nevertheless, that does would NOT excuse Patterson for violating court orders or interfering with the other parent's custodial arrangements. [Patterson says he has NOT violated ANY court order. It is up to the Family Court, not me or any blogger, to sort it out.]

One had to hope that after his divorce was final (last spring), the Democratic state lawmaker would settle down and conduct his affairs with a view toward his public responsibility to his constituents. He has a reputation as an avid environmental advocate in the Arizona House of Representatives. But he joins several members of the GOP majority in having plenty of public drama.

The bottom line is that there are questions [for] Daniel Patterson.  is hoping to deflect long enough so that he does not have to address them head on. I appreciate his environmental advocacy. Potentially, there are other Democratic politicians who can take his place and advocate effectively, if necessary. But other Tucson Democrats gave me similar insight on both Patterson and Schaffer. I hope recommend Mr. Patterson is able to keep his eye on the ball, rather than on the emotional drama he engages in by antagonizing with his ex-wife.


Daniel Patterson called me this evening to discuss this situation. He assured me that he is in full compliance with the court ordered custody plan. He also showed me that he IS willing to deal with things head on. As long as he is in full compliance with court orders, he has a right to not have to deal with the ongoing conflict in the media or on the internet.

He explained other details of the situation to me and asked that I respect his privacy.

In my childhood, my brother and I were separated in age by only 15 months. There was plenty of sibling rivalry. My parents often told me that it takes two to tangle. I believe that to also apply with Patterson and Schaffer.

My hope is that the two of them can successfully work out any additional necessary details of their co-parenting arrangements with either Pima County Conciliation Court or a private mediator. Patterson says he's willing. It also takes two to work out ongoing disagreements.


  1. I completely agree. People in positions of power (especially those elected by us) need to toe the line and not assume that they are above the law. Step up or step aside.

  2. This one-sided piece is not accurate. Steve Muratore never made an effort to contact me for the truth.

    Divorce issues are difficult private personal family matters and I am asking people to please respect that. Daniel Patterson

  3. Carolyn submitted a comment, which I approved. My blog profile says it posted, but it doesn't show up. So, I'm posting it again.

    "Steve, I used to be an practicing attorney doing Family Law, and had cases like these with child custody fights -- post divorce. Visitation issues were often acrimonious, so at one point, I set up a Drop off program at a neutral spot for divorced parents to transfer there kids."

  4. Carolyn's comment should have ended (my mistake, not hers), "transfer THEIR kids."