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Arizona politics can be as thorny as the beautiful saguaro cacti that bristle on nearly every corner here. For a smallish state, it certainly has caused more than its share of heartburn on the national stage. Read more»

A tractor is used to work a field on a farm near Chandler.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture said Tuesday it could appoint “socially disadvantaged” farmers in six state counties where the elected county committees may be lacking in representation by women and minorities. Read more»

Michael Morton stands in a Williamson County, Texas, courtroom with his attorneys, John Raley of the Houston law firm Raley & Bowick, and Nina Morrison of the New York-based Innocence Project. Morton was officially exonerated Dec. 19, after spending nearly 25 years in prison for his wife's murder.

The University of Michigan Law School and the Center on Wrongful Convictions at Northwestern University School of Law on Monday released the first national registry of exoneration cases with data on more than 2,000 cases from the last 23 years. Read more»

Officials displayed posters with some of those arrested for outstanding warrants as part of Operation Justice IV, a collaboration of federal, state and local officials in Maricopa and Pinal counties.

Maricopa County Attorney Bill Montgomery said that officers in the county averaged 45 arrests per day during the operation thanks to cooperation among offices and jurisdictions. Read more» 1

Manuel Muñoz Viramontes

A Zacatecas, Mexico, man was sentenced to 51 months in jail for illegal re-entry of a felon. Read more»

From 2005 to 2010, the Census Bureau says, Maricopa County led the nation in the number of counties that new residents were coming from as well as the number of counties across the country that residents were moving to.

Maricopa County led the nation in the number of counties its new residents came from and the number of counties its former residents moved to. For several years, Maricopa led the nation in growth and experts said a sour economy could have sent people back to their previous hometowns. Read more»

An immigration protest at the Texas Capitol in Austin on Feb. 22.

When the government issued a report condemning Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio's "discriminatory" policing policies, some immigrant rights groups lauded it. Others are worried it was nothing more than a conveniently timed political ploy. Read more» 4

Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio in Sept. 2010.

While admitting that it mishandled more than 400 investigations into rapes and sexual assaults, the Maricopa County Sheriff's Office claims its failures did not lead to additional crimes. But in the pile of ignored cases is the alleged rape of a 17-year-old girl in 2006. Sheriff Joe Arpaio's detectives largely disregarded the case. Read more» 2

Local brew at Borderlands Brewing Company.

Microbrewers are eyeing Arizona as the next big market for beer, with 39 microbreweries in the state in 2011. The lastest microbrewery in Tucson, Borderlands Brewing Company, will open its doors Saturday. Read more»

The government’s 'solar energy zone' program aims to speed development of solar power by identifying areas where business opportunity is high and environmental risk is low, then tailor regulations to fit the specific site.

The Department of the Interior has dropped one of three proposed “solar energy zones” in Arizona because of environmental concerns about the site, the department said Thursday. Read more»

Jacob Avila Perez

A 28 year-old man from Guadalajara, Mexico was sentenced to 51 months in prison for crossing the border illegally, U.S. Customs and Border Protection said Friday. Read more»

Marco Castro Díaz

A 40-year-old Mexican man who was arrested by Nogales Station Border Patrol agents in March was sentenced to four years and nine months in prison for attempting to illegally re-enter the United States. Read more»

The Sun Corridor - a megapolitan area stretching from Tucson through the Phoenix valley - will support fewer people than many previous studies estimated, according to a report from ASU's Morrison Institute for Public Policy. "Do you want growth, or do you want a lifestyle?" Read more»

The proposed Sempra Generation solar power plant, west of Phoenix, is uniquely suited to Arizona, planners say, because it will not need water to operate like most other solar plants.

Construction should begin within a month on a “waterless” 700-megawatt solar power project in Maricopa County that won a $359.1 million conditional loan guarantee this week from the Department of Energy. Read more» 1

Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio poses in this file photo taken in his office in 2008.

A federal appeals court Thursday said a Maricopa County special prosecutor can be sued by two Phoenix New Times editors who said they were arrested after running stories criticizing Sheriff Joe Arpaio and other county officials. Read more»

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