Our local Sheriff Joe Arpaio is quite a story. On the one hand, he shows a casual disrespect for civil liberties, goes on raids where he zip-ties every person with brown skin until their family can produce their birth certificate, and has tried to pin RICO charges on judges who ruled against him. He likes to haul folks off to jail whose only crime is speaking out against the Sheriff . He arrested newspaper reporters and editors who wrote critically of him. This is a man who in his paranoia invented an assassination plot (against himself, of course) and got the city to spend $500,000 protecting him. If his deputies want to see a defense attorney's working papers, they just take them. If he can't get a judge to release computer records, he has his posse storm into the County computer center and take it over at gunpoint. And don't even get me started on the Steven Seagal thing.
On the other hand, despite all this, he has been re-elected by safe margins many times, has actual groupies who fawn over him, and is considered by much of our retiree population as the last bulwark against a Mexican-immigrant-led road-warrior-style apocalypse. At most local art festivals and other public fairs, he has his own booth where he hands out his trademark pink underwear to his many admirers (he makes prisoners wear pink underwear to try to humiliate them).
Several years ago, upon losing some Federal civil rights suits, a judge ordered as part of the settlement a series of defined actions and prohibitions (e.g. Arpaio had to stop certain immigrant roundups). He ignored these orders pretty blatantly, and now is in court again. He has actually essentially admitted to civil contempt of court and is just hoping at this point to avoid criminal charges. And then it gets weirder:
An upper echelon that willfully defies the orders of a federal judge and may have committed perjury on the witness stand.
A county sheriff and chief deputy with enough chutzpah to "investigate" the U.S. Department of Justice, the CIA, and federal judges, all on the word of a Seattle scammer.
A bogus "investigation" into the wife of the aforementioned federal judge for something that's not even a crime.
This is just some of the ground covered during a four-day hearing before U.S. District Court Judge G. Murray Snow in which Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio and his chief deputy, Jerry Sheridan, tried mightily to save themselves from criminal-contempt charges in the ACLU's big racial profiling case Melendres v. Arpaio.
Sheridan and Arpaio already have conceded that they are guilty of civil contempt, admitting they did not comply with Snow's December 2011 preliminary injunction in the case, which ordered the MCSO not to enforce federal civil immigration law.
The pair also have copped to defying a direct order from Snow in May 2014 concerning the gathering of thousands of videos taken by deputies, which should have been turned over to the plaintiffs before the 2012 trial in Melendres.
All that's left is for Snow to find that there's enough evidence that Sheridan and Arpaio acted willfully, so he can turn over the matter to another judge and the U.S. Attorney's Office for possible prosecution.
Yep, the best way to defend oneself against contempt of court is to... have all the other parties in court investigated. Oh year, and the CIA. Nothing says "mental health" like a local sheriff investigating the CIA. And don't forget, this is the same guy who used my tax money to take is cold case team and dedicate them for months to investigating Obama's birth certificate.