By Joseph Altman Jr. and Mary Fan
ASUA vice president a fugitive
A Pima County justice of the peace has issued a warrant for the arrest of ASUA Executive Vice President Casey Cuny after he did not appear in court last month following an arrest on a misdemeanor disorderly conduct charge.
Cuny, a 21-year-old marketing and communication senior, said yesterday he was aware of his Dec. 23 court date but flew home to Colorado for winter break because he had already purchased a ticket.
"I already had a plane ticket my parents had bought before I came back to school in the fall," he said. "As far as I know, if you have a failure to appear in court, then you just go and fill out the paperwork - it'll be taken care of."
Cuny and three of his housemates were each arrested on a charge of disorderly conduct in the early hours of Dec. 13. Cuny's neighbor, Ramona Cajero, had called Tucson police about 1:15 a.m. and complained about a loud party at Cuny's home, in the 400 bloc k of North Sawtelle Avenue.
"They promised me, promised me it would be done by 1 o'clock," Cajero said in an interview last night. "I gave them until 1:15, and the police gave them until 2. Essentially, I was tapped."
Besides Cuny, Malcolm Paul Davies, 22, Johann Emmery, 22, and Gregory John Evans, 21, were arrested, taken to the Tucson police midtown substation and later released.
If convicted of disorderly conduct, the men could face as much as six months in jail or a $2,500 fine. A failure to appear conviction could add up to four months in jail or a $750 fine.
Cajero, 45, said Cuny and his housemates canvassed the neighborhood near East Sixth Street and South Tucson Boulevard about a week before the semi-formal party, passing out invitations and hoping to secure the understanding of nearby residents.
The invitations advertised "three open bars, fully stocked with spirits, wine and fine beers" at a price of $25 per couple, Cajero said.
"It was an interesting party, that they were charging 25 bucks," she said. "They had a table set up out front and they were charging."
When police arrived about 2 a.m., many party goers hid, Cajero said. Between 75 and 100 people were at the party when police arrived, and the music could be heard as far as three blocks away, police reports stated.
"The people shut the door on the police," Cajero said. "They (the police) went around and around and kept knocking. It was bizarre."
According to Tucson City Court records obtained yesterday, Cuny signed a promise to appear in court on Dec. 23, but did not show up for his hearing. The next day, Justice of the Peace Jose Luis Castillo Jr. signed a warrant for Cuny's arrest.
Davies, a researcher in the University of Arizona Community Affairs and Economic Development Office, Emmery, a marketing senior, and Evans, who last attended the UA in the spring of 1996, also missed their court dates and have warrants out for their arrest, a City Court spokeswoman said yesterday.
Neither court officers nor police actively seek out people who do not appear in court. However, the warrant will show up in a record check if a wanted person is ever questioned by police or even stopped for a traffic violation, the spokeswoman said.
Cuny said he planned to go to court early this week but could not go because of an injury.
He said he was hospitalized at Tucson Medical Center Monday for strained muscles in his groin and abdominal regions. That injury also kept him from attending Wednesday night's meeting of the Associated Students of the University of Arizona Senate.
"I was supposed to do it on Tuesday but I was out of commission," Cuny said. "I'm just planning on getting it taken care of as soon as possible."
As executive vice president, Cuny heads the 10-member Senate and oversees clubs and organizations on campus.
Cuny, the 1997 UA Homecoming king, was a Senate aide before being elected to the Undergraduate Senate in 1996. He ran for executive vice president last year and won 64.77 percent of the vote.
Davies said yesterday that he also did not show up in court because he was out of town for winter break.
Evans, however, said, "I was the only one (of the four) in Tucson and I missed the court date, so I guess that's my fault."
Emmery refused comment.
Cajero said she decided to press charges because the party's hosts assured her the party would be over by 1 a.m.
"1 a.m. came and I was still awake. 1:15 came and the music hadn't stopped," Cajero said. "When the police officer called back asking if I was willing to press charges, I said, 'Absolutely. These folks gave me a personal guarantee that it would be over at 1 p.m.'"
Cuny said neither he nor his housemates recall making such a promise, but acknowledged that the party continued past its scheduled 1 a.m. ending.
"It wasn't a rowdy keg party," he said. "It was a nice formal party and it should have ended at 1 a.m., but I guess it was too nice of a party."
"The party was going and it was going very well and we lost track of time," he added.
ASUA Sen. Leslie Hunter, who was a guest at the party, confirmed Cuny's account.
"It was such a mature party and there was no need for the police to come, because nothing was out of hand," she said.
Sen. Justin Klump also attended the party and agreed that the arrests were unwarranted.
"Some people in life have a little less fun than people and those people who are anal choose to call the police and report petty violations," he said.
Cuny said his arrest was a surprise.
"I walked out of the house and he (the arresting officer) said, 'Do you live here?' and I said, "Yes," and he arrested me," Cuny said.
He would not comment on how he plans to plead to the disorderly conduct charge.
Cuny said that regardless of whether or not he is convicted, the charges do not reflect poorly on his ability to perform in office.
"I don't think it has any bearing," he said. "It shows my great organizational ability because it was such a great party."
Evans said the roommates hope to avoid a court battle.
"We're hoping to get an affidavit signed by the neighbor," he said. "We're hoping the neighbor will realize we're just a bunch of college guys - just good kids who partied a little too long."
But Cajero, who has lived in the neighborhood for eight years, said of all the students who have lived in the five-bedroom house, Cuny and his housemates have been the most obtrusive group by far.
"We've had lots of problems with them in the past," Cajero said. "With the neighbor to south, we kind of take turns calling the police on them."
After a party several months ago, Cajero said, "we woke up the next morning and there were beer cans everywhere. I've woken up to people peeing in my yard, sitting on my car.
"I've gone over personally and asked them not to park in front of my house. They line the streets with their friends' cars," she said. "I've picked up the beer bottles and taken them over and put them on their porch because they won't clean up after themselves.
"They're a real arrogant group of kids. I'm afraid for our future if this is what's going to lead us into the next millennium," Cajero said.
And as for Cuny, the only ASUA official in the bunch, "I don't really pay a lot of attention, but I know the big tall guy is the vice president," Cajero said. "He's a schmoozer; he's a politician. He told me I'm too old to have fun."
University police Cmdr. Brian Seastone, who also serves as an ex-officio member of the ASUA Senate, said he does not have an obligation to arrest Cuny if he sees him.
"I don't know that there is a confirmed warrant for him," Seastone said.
He said officers cannot check to see if Cuny has a legitimate warrant unless police come into contact with him in response to a call or have another reason to question him.
ASUA President Gilbert Davidson could not be reached for comment yesterday, but said Wednesday that he was not aware of Cuny's party or of any arrests made over the winter break.