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Mesa Councilman Ryan Winkle Offers To Accept Censure, Pay Fine To Avoid Hearing

Ryan Winkle
(Photo courtesy of Mesa)
Ryan Winkle

Ryan Winkle is hoping to avoid losing his seat on the Mesa City Council. Winkle was arrested in Tempe in May on suspicion of driving under the influence. It was his second drunk driving arrest in eight years.

After pleading guilty to extreme DUI, Winkle was sentenced to six days in jail and 49 days of home detention.

The Mesa City Council has been moving forward with its own disciplinary planfor Winkle.

Attorney Tim La Sota is representing the councilman. He said to avoid losing his seat, Winkle has offered to accept a public censure from the council. Winkle would also agree not to drink for the remainder of his term and would pay a monetary fine of several thousand dollars.

The Mesa City Charter allows for punishment including the expulsion of a member but La Sota called the disciplinary process poorly defined. He said Winkle’s fate should be left to the voters.

“We should not get into the habit of having a city council sit in judgment of a fellow city council member to determine that council member’s fitness,” La Sota said.

Winkle’s disciplinary hearing is set for Thursday morning. La Sota said he hopes the council will review the offer before proceeding with the hearing.

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Jimmy Jenkins is a senior field correspondent at KJZZ and a contributor to NPR’s Election 2020 and Criminal Justice station collaborations. His work has been featured on Morning Edition, All Things Considered, Marketplace, Here and Now, The Takeaway and NPR Newscasts.Originally from Terre Haute, Indiana, Jenkins has a B.S. in criminology from Indiana State University and a master’s degree in journalism from Indiana University.Much of his reporting has focused on the criminal justice system. Jenkins has reported on Tasers, body cameras, use of force, jail privatization, prison health care and the criminal contempt trial of former Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio.