Az. GOPer Claims Immunity After Yanking Girlfriend From Car
February 27, 2011
(ChattahBox Political News)—A Republican state lawmaker from Arizona is claiming legislative immunity from arrest, to escape prosecution for domestic violence. State Sen. Scott Bundgaar the Republican majority leader, forcibly pulled his girlfriend, Aubry Ballard from his car Friday night during a heated argument, presumably to leave her stranded on the side of a busy freeway. But when the police showed up, the only one arrested and thrown in jail for assault was the girlfriend. Bundgarr, told police they couldn’t touch him because, as a state senator he was immune from arrest while the legislature is in session. What a guy!
Regardless of his assertion of immunity, Bundgaar claims he’s innocent and he was just defending himself from his girlfriend’s attacks.
“Thompson said police responded to a call at about 11:20 p.m. Friday of a man pulling a woman out of a gold vehicle, which was stopped northbound next to the median on Arizona 51, just south of Cactus Road.”
“When officers arrived, they said Bundgaard, 43, and Ballard, 34, his passenger, showed marks of a physical altercation, “which constituted an act of domestic violence,” Thompson said. After being taken into custody, Bundgaard told officers that because he is an Arizona state senator, he is immune from arrest. Thompson said the department confirmed Bundgaard’s statement and he was not arrested.”
Bundgarr, a co-sponsor of a controversial bill to end birthright citizenship to American-born children of undocumented immigrants, says he did nothing illegal and he “had no choice but,” to physically yank his girlfriend from his car, because she was attacking him.
“As he drove Ballard home, he said she started throwing his clothes out of his car on the freeway. He stopped to retrieve the items and then said Ballard “yelled that she was going to take my car and moved into the driver’s seat. I immediately returned to the car and asked her to get out. She refused. I had no choice but to pull her from the driver’s seat which resulted in marks on her knees. I had also had no choice but to stop her from punching me and risking highway safety, all of which resulted in a black eye for me and a busted lip.”
Since the incident, Bundgarr has been using his power and influence to go to the media with his version of events. He even delivered photos of his injuries to the local Fox affiliate and granted MyFox Phoenix an interview, in which he blamed the incident on Ballard’s insane jealousy.
“He claims that his girlfriend got upset after a “Dancing With the Stars” charity event. He said she was jealous after a rhumba dance.”
Bundgarr went on to say he was fearful of being stranded along a dangerous highway. But he apparently had no qualms abandoning Ballard. And despite the fact that he himself asserted legislative immunity to evade arrest, Bundgaar issued a defiant challenge to authorities to come and get him, if he’s indeed guilty of domestic violence.
“That’s not what this is about. If I’m guilty of something, they should charge me, and the constitution provides them with the ability to charge me if I have done something wrong,” Bundgaard said.
Ballard, after being released from jail, said she was traumatized from the Friday night altercation with Bundgaard, that ended with the state senator walking away while she was arrested for assault and spent 17-hours in a jail cell.
“To go from putting on a beautiful dress for a great date to a fundraiser to ending up on the side of a freeway? I don’t have another tear left to cry,” she said. “I’m still trying to get my mind around a few things: Scott’s actions, the 17 hours I spent in jail awaiting processing, my bruises, scrapes and soreness and his statements to the media.”
The provision in Arizona’s constitution affords lawmakers immunity from civil process and arrest “in all cases except treason, felony, and breach of the peace,” while the legislature is in session. Such immunity provisions have been in place in most states since the 1800s, to protect lawmakers from abuses from another branch of government, such as governors ordering the arrest of lawmakers to prevent a vote on a bill they oppose. U.S. Congressional lawmakers also enjoy immunity.
But some lawmakers seeking to evade arrest for more serious offenses, such as DUIs, and in Bundgaard’s case, domestic violence, are triggering a public conversation on the limits of legislative immunity.
And Arizona’s own Gov. Jan Brewer (R) is a case in point. While Brewer was a state senator in 1988, she rear-ended another vehicle. The police officers at the scene suspected Brewer of intoxication. In fact, she failed a field sobriety test. But Brewer avoided arrest and prosecution for a DUI, because law enforcement officials said she had immunity while the legislature was in session.
Meanwhile, Bundgaard continues to hold court before the media with his tales of victimization (the jealous bitch attacked me. It’s all her fault. “I had no choice but to pull her,” from the car and leave her on the side of the road), but regardless of his immunity status, Bundgaard comes off looking like a total dick.