Posts tagged ‘Maricopa County Attorney’

God Forbid, Arpaio Running for Governor

Via Valley Fever:

There is a report circulating right now, which -- if true -- confirms what many Arizona residents have been dreading for years: Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio will run for governor of the state of Arizona.

ABC 15 is reporting that Arpaio already has made the decision to take the plunge and will announce his candidacy on Monday.

According to "several high-ranking sources within the Sheriff's Department," all the necessary paperwork "has been filled out and is ready to file."

Unfortunately, he may well win.  There are two things an outsider needs to know about people in Arizona

  1. They have an insane, irrational fear of Mexican immigrants, who they see as disproportionately made up of gang lords who make Tony Soprano look like a pansy.  Of course, no one seems to have any actual personal experience with such violence or to be an actual victim, but they heard that the lady who put her cat in the microwave was threatened.
  2. They believe that only Joe Arpaio has been standing between them and total annihilation at the hands of the brown-skinned hordes.

Yes, Arpaio is not only liked here, he is freaking beloved by a near majority of the population.  He is the single most potent Republican name in the state -- one only has to look at the number of candidates seeking his endorsement.  For example, we have people running for the US Congress in this state who tout Arpaio's endorsement on their every poster.  Think of that -- US Congressmen running around seeking a sheriff's endorsement.

Just check this out.  A local Republican privately thinks Arpaio is a dangerous idiot, but he still seeks his backing in the election

Bill Montgomery, the candidate for Maricopa County Attorney backed by Sheriff Joe Arpaio, strongly questions Sheriff Joe Arpaio's mental fitness and leadership ability in a secret tape made by county officials....

To Stapley [one of the county officials at the taped meeting], the Republican candidate made himself out to be a real Arpaio critic.

But, as we learned, Montgomery later teamed up with Arpaio in hopes of giving a boost to his campaign. Montgomery mailed a letter from Arpaio to the sheriff's supporters a couple of weeks ago, in which Arpaio praises the candidate and pledges to help him get elected.

We sort of feel bad for Montgomery in this situation -- no one likes to have a private conversation recorded without their knowledge. Yet getting beyond the ethics (and politics) of why the tape was made, Montgomery does come off looking fairly two-faced.

He's willing to take every cent Arpaio can raise for him, yet described the sheriff to Stapley as kind of a dottering old fool.

He also said he's not thrilled with Thomas' monolithic focus on illegal immigration. Yet that focus, of course, is shared by Arpaio.

Fellow Arpaio-haters will love this:

Montgomery related how he'd been talking about serious issues during a meeting with Arpaio when the conversation suddenly turned to "stories about his family, past Valentine's Days, that sort of thing."

An aide popped in to prompt the sheriff out of his daydreaming, and "it was a little bit like -- I don't want to disparage him -- but a little bit like someone coming into a nursing home and saying visiting hours are over now."

Andy Thomas Apparently Toast

Our absolutely awful, self-serving, abusive County prosecutor seems to finally be getting the scrutiny he so richly deserves:

PHOENIX -- The Arizona Supreme Court has appointed a special investigator to look into accusations of misconduct against Maricopa County Attorney Andrew Thomas.

That's bad, but it's not the end of Thomas's troubles.  The next shoe is the tort case.

Malicious prosecution is a tort and if a civil litigant obtains a ruling that Thomas abused his office, it could cost the County tens of millions of dollars.  Multiply that by the number of people whom Thomas has targeted, intimidated, abused or prosecuted and we are dealing with a very large number indeed.

Our Out of Control County Attorney

Radley Balko has a great article on Maricopa County Attorney Andrew Thomas, the wingman for Sheriff Joe Arpaio in any number of abuses of power.  I have tried to write about Thomas before, but some of his exploits are so bizarre and complex that they make simple description difficult, but Balko is clearly a better journalist than I and does a good job summarizing some of his most egregious actions.

The common denominator for both Thomas and Arpaio tends to be their near vendetta responses to anyone who either criticizes them or tries to limit their power (ie by denying a search warrant or dismissing one of their cases).

The most recent mess in Maricopa pits Thomas and Apraio against...well, just about everyone else. The two have been squabbling with members of the county board of supervisors for years over the construction of a $341 million county courthouse tower, which both feel is a waste of money. They might have a point. But Arpaio and Thomas are using criminal law as a cudgel in the dispute.

Last month, Thomas indicted two county supervisors on some petty financial disclosure violations. When Maricopa County Superior Court Judge Gary Donahoe issued a ruling pertaining to the court tower investigation that Arpaio and Thomas didn't like, Thomas then indicted Donahoe for bribery, on the absurd premise that as a judge who works in the courthouse, Donahoe (who is retiring soon) would have benefited from the new tower. That indictment came shortly after Donahoe held one of Arpaio's deputies in contempt after a highly-publicized incident in which the deputy was caught on video stealing documents from the file of a defense attorney in open court.

Using criminal charges"”or the threat of them"”to silence political opponents has become something of a habit for Thomas. He has indicted more than a dozen public officials who have criticized him or Arpaio. He has launched or threatened criminal investigations into dozens of others, including politicians, columnists, and other media figures who have dared to criticize him or the sheriff. When Phoenix Mayor Phil Gordon asked for a federal investigation of Arpaio's immigration enforcement tactics, Arpaio and Thomas investigated him too, attempting to snoop on Gordon's email, appointment book, and phone records. Thomas even recently threatened to criminally investigate a defense attorney for issuing public statements in support of his client.

These guys are from the bad, statist end of the Republican pond.  Interestingly, Thomas and Arpaio have alienated most of the Republican leadership in Arizona, and rely on their continued popularity with national conservative media and the local populace.   The latter is hard to describe to outsiders.  Its often hard for me to understand.  My best guess is that people ignore Thomas and Arpaio's worst behavior as aimed at people who somehow "don't count," particularly immigrants from Mexico.   Balko quotes Clint Bollack of the Goldwater Institute:

Bolick says their perseverance is also due to the polarizing effects of the immigration debate. Immigration "is extremely divisive," he says. "In the eyes of a lot of people, because they're cracking down on illegal immigrants, Thomas and Arpaio can do no wrong. So there's justification for whatever they do, and any criticism of them on any issue is a betrayal of the cause. It's really unfortunate that it's causing a lot of good people to turn a blind eye to ineffective law enforcement and abuses of power."

I don't want to violate Godwin's law here, but this quote springs to mind about the reactions to Thomas and Arpaio (from a member of the German protestant clergy in the 1930s)

First, the Nazis went after the Jews, but I wasn't a Jew, so I didn't react. Then they went after the Catholics, but I wasn't a Catholic, so I didn't object. Then they went after the worker, but I wasn't a worker, so I didn't stand up. Then they went after the Protestant clergy and by then it was too late for anybody to stand up.

Pink Jumpsuit for Sheriff Joe

Via Expresso Pundit:

It's becoming increasingly clear that Sheriff Joe--and probably County Attorney Andy Thomas--are going to be indicted on multiple felony counts.Maricopa County Manager David Smith issued this statement today.

Today's grand jury appearance was a welcome opportunity to tell our story on behalf of County employees.  Dozens and dozens of County employees, and some County vendors, have been targeted by Sheriff Arpaio and Maricopa County Attorney Andrew Thomas with retaliatory criminal investigations without cause, and disruption of their working lives without justification.

Sandi Wilson and I expect to return to the grand jury to give even more detailed testimony in three or four weeks about the many abuses of power by Sheriff Arpaio and his office that were generally described to the grand jury today.  We look forward to that next opportunity in the interests of justice.

Downfall, the Sequel: Arpaio and Thomas Go Into the Bunker

These guys have totally lost it. OK, they have always been bonkers, but they have finally lost their ability to paper over their nutty paranoia and quest for power in the media.  Remember I told you the other day that Arpiao and Thomas keep filing wider and wider criminal conspiracy charges against their critics.  Basically anyone who criticizes them or seeks to keep their power limited within Constitutional boundaries is a criminal in their eyes.

Maricopa County Attorney Andrew Thomas called for investigations into the chief prosecutors of two neighboring counties on Thursday because they publicly criticized him and Sheriff Joe Arpaio earlier this week.

Yavapai County Attorney Sheila Polk and Pinal County Attorney James Walsh sent separate letters to the Arizona Republic, criticizing what they called "abuses of power" by Thomas and his close ally, Arpaio.

Polk, a Republican who described herself as a passionate believer in limited government, accused the two men of "totalitarianism" and said they have become "a threat to the entire criminal-justice system" because of a series of a investigations they have launched against their foes.

In recent weeks, Thomas and Arpaio have announced more than a dozen criminal investigations into public officials who have criticized them in the past. The pair has said their fellow Maricopa County officials are engaging in a massive conspiracy to obstruct justice and limit their power. The investigations have resulted in criminal charges against two elected officials and a judge.

Now, Thomas wants a former state Supreme Court justice to investigate his neighboring prosecutors as part of what he calls "an orchestrated campaign to pressure law enforcement in Maricopa County to drop charges against influential criminal defendants and suspects."...

In his request to McGregor [PDF], Thomas ... accused the other prosecutors of essentially breaking the law by criticizing him and the sheriff. He said the pair violated rules for attorneys in Arizona, as well as tainted the pool of possible jurors in the ongoing cases....

In his request for an investigation into the comments, Thomas alluded to a supposed campaign to enlist these attorneys "and possibly other third parties" to criticize him and the sheriff.

Arpaio is the same paranoid who cost the County hundreds of thousands of dollars when he demanded extra security because he believed himself to be an assassination target.

If it wasn't so overdone, I would do another Downfall mash-up on this for YouTube.

Good News

The case discussed here and here has been dropped against the Phoenix New Times

At a press conference on Friday afternoon, Maricopa County Attorney
Andrew Thomas announced that all charges against New Times, its owners,
editors and writers have been dropped "” and that special prosecutor
Dennis Wilenchik has been dismissed.