Posts tagged ‘Sheriff Joe Arpaio’

Emulating North Korea

I have little tolerance for enforced patriotism of any sort.  In fact, having loyalty oaths and singing songs and genuflecting to flags all seem more consistent with totalitarianism than the values of liberty that patriots are nominally trying to promote.  If I were rotting in a crappy Phoenix jail for being caught with marijuana or busted for driving while Mexican, I would be even less patriotic

Dozens of Arizona inmates will eat nothing but bread and water for at least seven days in the latest punishment by one of America's toughest sheriffs.

Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio handed down the sentence after inmates defaced American flags hung in each jail cell. He says the men tore the flags, wrote or stepped on them and threw them in the toilet.

The flags are part of a push for patriotism in county jail cells. Arpaio has ordered thatGod Bless America and the national anthem be played daily in every jail facility.

This isn't Arpaio's first controversial move. He made headlines for keeping thousands of inmates outdoors in repurposed military tents in weather that was hotter than 117 degrees. He also made male inmates wear pink underwear.

He banned smoking, coffee and movies in all jails. And he's even put his stamp on mealtime. Inmates are fed only twice a day, and he stopped serving salt and pepper – all to save taxpayers money, he says.

Is Arpaio Running a Protection Racket?

This weekend the Feds raided the Phoenix-area's largest car wash chain "Danny's" for a variety of unspecified immigration issues, and carried a number of folks off to jail or away for deportation.   This is a very high profile and upscale business (I am looking at one outside my office window).  These are not your father's car washes -- they are large and well-appointed and tailored to an upscale crowd.

Given that this is easily the highest profile car wash chain in town and each location is staffed with scores of folks of Hispanic origin**, my first thought on reading this story was to wonder why Sheriff Joe Arpaio had not conducted the raid.  After all, he has practically made a career of immigration raids on car washes (here is just one raid, note by the way the horrific comments saying things like "God bless Arpaio" just under a video of normal, regular human beings being hauled off in handcuffs for ... working.)

Well, other folks in the Phoenix area wondered the same thing, and have observed that by some odd coincidence, the most obvious immigration target not raided by Sheriff Arpaio is also the largest donor to Arpaio's Sheriff's charities, and its founder can often be seen palling around with Arpaio at public events.   Note Danny's prominently displayed on Arpaio's web site.

From our local sheriff all the way up to the President, we are increasingly a country of arbitrary laws and special crony exemptions.  If you are not friends with Wesley Mouch, good luck to you.

 

** Not trying to profile here, just trying to think like the Sheriff

Arpaio Busted For Crime Sweeps

I am a little late to this, via the Washington Post

A federal judge ruled on Friday that Sheriff Joe Arpaio and his deputies had violated the constitutional rights of Latinos by targeting them during raids and traffic stops here and throughout Maricopa County...

The ruling prohibits the sheriff’s office from using “race or Latino ancestry” as a factor in deciding to stop any vehicle with Latino occupants, or as a factor in deciding whether they may be in the country without authorization.

It also prohibits deputies from reporting a vehicle’s Latino occupants to federal immigration authorities or detaining, holding or arresting them, unless there is more than just a “reasonable belief” that they are in the country illegally. To detain them, the ruling said, the deputies must also have reasonable suspicion that the occupants are violating the state’s human-trafficking and employment laws or committing other crimes.

Good.  Phoenix residents, even those who support Arpaio, all know people are routinely busted here for "driving while brown."    I remember one time Arpaio made one of his famous "crime sweeps" through the tony suburb of Fountain Hills (where he lives) and managed to arrest dozens of Hispanics -- more Hispanics than I thought one could even find in that neighborhood, much less find committing crimes.  Seriously, I don't think I could have found that many on a bet.

This was one of his more execrable raids

Deputies from the Maricopa County Sheriff's Office raided a Mesa landscaping company early Wednesday morning, arresting nearly three dozen people suspected of being in the country illegally.

The raid on offices of Artistic Land Management, on Main Street just west of Dobson Road, happened about 4:30 a.m., according to one workerwho was handcuffed and detained before being released when he produced documentation that he was in the country legally....

Juarez estimated about 35 workers were handcuffed with plastic zip-ties while deputies checked for documents. Those who could provide proof they were in the country legally were released, while others were put on buses and taken away.

Basically his deputies zip tied everyone with brown skin, releasing them only when they could produce their papers.  It has become a common occurrence in the Hispanic community here to have family members racing to work with identity documents to free loved ones from Arpaio captivity.

Here is just a partial roundup of links on Arpaio here.

Ugh - Proposals for Loyalty Oaths

Arizona is generally more intelligently managed, at least fiscally, than California.  But while that state still is treated seriously for all its dysfunctionality, Arizona is often a media laughing stock.  This is in large part due to the fact that Conservatives in the Arizona legislature just can't seem to stop themselves from proposing a few absurdly goofy pieces of legislation each session.

House Bill 2467, sponsored by Republican state Representatives Bob Thorpe, Sonny Borrelli, Carl Seel, T.J. Shope, and Steve Smith, proposes the following:

"Before a pupil is allowed to graduate from a public high school in this state, the principal or head teacher of the school shall verify in writing that the pupil has recited the following oath:

"I, _________, do solemnly swear that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic, that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; and that I will well and faithfully discharge these duties; so help me God."

Smith and Shope are also in on House Bill 2284. Whereas current Arizona law says students in public schools can opt out of doing the pledge if they so choose, Smith's and Shope's proposal says only a child's parents can let them avoid reciting the pledge.

So they want to make it harder to opt-out of the current loyalty oath (Pledge of Allegiance) and then add a new loyalty oath.

Historically, loyalty oaths are the hallmark of dictators, the Caesers and Hitlers of the world.  In a free society, loyalty is earned by a government.  When government officials demand a blank check in the form of a loyalty oath that pledges allegiance no matter what the government does, watch out.

A few other observations:

  • I love the part in the oath above that says "I take this obligation freely."  Sure.  We won't give you the diploma you have in every other way earned without taking the oath, a diploma practically required to function in our society, but the oath is voluntary.  This is the kind of double speak that is a hallmark, along with loyalty oaths, of a dictatorship.
  • Apparently to graduate in Arizona, this would force every student to acknowledge the existence of God
  • I understand what it means for the President to preserve and defend the Constitution.  But what does it mean for the average high school graduate?  Just what is this obligating them to do?  And what is the penalty for not doing it?
  • I would gladly trade having all high schoolers in the state embrace this oath for simply having our state officials, in particular our Sheriff Joe Arpaio, being true to this oath.

Protecting Public Employees From Accountability

Mark Tapscott writes:

Legislators in the California Assembly have approved on a 68-0 vote a bill that would exempt multiple categories of state and local government employees from having their names disclosed in public property records, according to Steven Greenhut....

Greenhut, who is vice president of the Franklin Center for Government Public Integrity points out that such a measure has implications far beyond public safety concerns: "Public officials and their family members will be able to hide their identities, which will undermine the reliability of property transactions. Dirty officials will pull off real estate scams without scrutiny," he said.

As it turns out, Arizona has a prohibition from publishing the home addresses of government officials over the Internet.  Which Sheriff Joe Arpaio (who else) has used to try to thwart investigations of his real estate dealings

In 2004, during an election cycle, reporter John Dougherty found that Arpaio had over a million dollars of investments in commercial real estate parcels.  Dougherty asked the question, how does a lifetime public official making $78,000 a year have so much real estate?  Arpaio could have replied that his family was independently wealthy or that he had parlayed his real estate investment from rags to riches.  Instead, Arpaio used an obscure law aimed at protecting the home addresses of government officials to remove access to any public records of his commercial real estate transactions at the same time he removed his home address from these data bases.  Instead of explaining where the money came from, he used his power to cover his tracks.

If passed, this means that California officials can take bribes with impunity, as long as they take these bribes in the form of real estate.

I Simply Cannot Believe This Is Our Chief Law Enforcement Officer

And he keeps getting re-elected by wide margins.  Unbelievable.  

In a performance worthy of a Mafia don, Sheriff Joe Arpaio dissembled under oath today in a disciplinary hearing for disgraced former Maricopa County Attorney Andrew Thomas, and Thomas' ex-underlings, former deputy county attorneys Rachel Alexander and Lisa Aubuchon.

During more than two hours of questioning, mostly by counsel for the State Bar of Arizona, Arpaio's favorite response was, "I don't recall," which he repeated numerous times.

He asserted that he had delegated all authority concerning the investigations of the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors, county judges, and various other county officials to former Chief Deputy David Hendershott, Arpaio's hand-picked fall guy.

For those who don't live here, I can assure you that at the time, Arpaio took personal credit for everything the department did, using his simply astronomical PR budget.

Here, for example, is one of the key cases Arpaio is being asked to discuss.  He and former county attorney Andrew Thomas waged a war for years against their bosses, the County Supervisors, who frequently had the temerity to try to circumscribe Thomas's and Arpaio's power.  Among other craziness, Thomas, backed by Arpaio, filed a RICO suit against the supervisors.  When a Judge hearing the case, Judge Donahoe, issued some unfavorable rulings in that case, Thomas and Arpaio filed a bribery case against Donahoe, their wacky theory being that since the Supervisors had authorized a new County Court building, this was a bribe to Judge Donahoe, whose court would now be in the new building.  Arpaio claims he had nothing to do with any of this.  Here is his uninvolvement, via the AZ Republic.

 

Maricopa County Attorney Andrew Thomas on Wednesday filed criminal charges against Gary Donahoe, presiding criminal judge of Superior Court, accusing him of hindering prosecution, obstructing a criminal investigation and bribery.

The three felony charges relate to Donahoe's handling of criminal investigations into county officials, particularly a controversial court tower under construction in downtown Phoenix.

Thomas and Sheriff Joe Arpaio, who stood side by side during a news conference Wednesday, have repeatedly questioned the $340 million joint project of the Superior Court and Maricopa County government.

By the way, it is a nice touch, right out of some place like North Korea, for a prosecutor to bring a judge up on charges for "hindering prosecution" merely for issuing a ruling form the bench which wasn't exactly what the prosecutor wanted.  Its more scary when you consider just how many judges truly are in the tank for local prosecutors.

Ridiculing the Innocent

Sheriff Joe Arpaio has a web site where he encourages the public to poke fun at the ugliest or most odd-looking mug shots taken by his officers.  He has a mug shot of the day contest, where citizens can vote for their favorite.

What do all the people pictured in these photos have in common?  The are all innocent -- by definition, since they have not plead in any court or gone to trial.

Sorry, I know he has added the reminder that these folks are innocent on that page, but this kind of public shaming and ridicule for un-convicted arrestees (part and parcel with other favorites like the perp walk) are absolutely inappropriate for the police to engage in.  It is absurd to see our Sheriff running his only little TMZ.

(Yes, I know there are private sites that engage in this, as the photos are public information.  I have always wondered why arrest records are not confidential, but that is another post.  There is a big difference between a private entity engaging in such a behavior and a law enforcement officer doing so.)

 

Utterly Without Class

Well, the execreble Sheriff Joe Arpaio, America's most-desirous-of-PR-exposure lawman, is at it again.  Phoenix will be mobbed by the press in a couple of weeks when the MLB All-Star Game comes to town, and of course Sheriff Joe will be hurt and depressed if he doesn't get himself in front of all those cameras.

So this is apparently his plan for doing so:

Sheriff Joe Arpaio's publicity stunt of choice for All-Star weekend: a female chain gang that probably will make a stop at Chase Field to pick up garbage as the national sporting press tries to cover a baseball game....

This particular gang is comprised of women convicted of DUI. They will be decked out in the standard striped uniforms. However, they will also be wearing pink T-shirts with messages about DUI.

Because nothing says "thoughtful and humane treatment for alcohol problems" like parading prisoners in front of national TV audiences like a modern remake of Cool Hand Luke.

We give special, unique powers to use force to the police, and it is horrifying to see them used for personal aggrandizement.

By the way, I will share my secret fear.  As you may know, Apriao enjoys leading raids on businesses that hire Mexican immigrants.  His MO is to zip-tie everyone with brown skin or an accent until they can produce proof of citizenship.  My deep fear is that he will run a raid of the concession operations at the ballpark during the game.

Our Local Enemies List. Is This Finally the End for Sheriff Joe?

Folks in other parts of the country hypothesize that their politicians may or may not have enemies lists, but these are all, frankly, wimpy initiatives when compared to our famous Sheriff Joe Arpaio and his treatment of enemies.  You see, if Sheriff Joe sees you as a political enemy, he brings you up on charges.  When he came in conflict with his bosses, he and his buddy former County attorney Andrew Thomas brought them up on racketeering charges.  When a judge failed to deliver the rulings he wanted in that case, he brought the judge up on bribery charges that fell apart even before the ink was dry (read about some of the hijinx here).

Now there is an ongoing investigation of Sheriff Joe and his department around Arpaio's attempts to get a political opponent, one of his bosses on the Board of Supervisors Joe Stapely, brought up on charges.  Or at least, be seen in the media as brought up on charges, because it is fairly clear that Arpaio was less interested with the strength of the case (which like many of his other political attacks fell apart nearly immediatley) as casting negative media attention on a political opponent.  Money quote highlighted in bold, from the Phoenix New Times which has a great history of staying on Arpaio's case but does not write very well organized articles.

About a month after the indictment, MACE [a division within Arpaio's organization] raided the offices of an associate of Stapley's, developer Conley Wolfswinkel. The claimed justification was that the Sheriff's Office was looking for evidence of additional crimes that detectives had uncovered in the disclosure-form case.

Knight [leader of MACE] had reviewed the search warrant before a raid on January 22, 2009, and believed that he had enough evidence based on testimony from Stapley's bookkeeper, Joan Stoops, to carry out the raid. Stoops told detectives that it appeared Wolfswinkel had inked an agreement to pay Stapley hundreds of thousands of dollars in a land deal when Wolfswinkel had business before the Board of Supervisors.

Knight said Sheriff Arpaio reviewed the search warrant personally — and asked Knight why he hadn't included more details about the case in the warrant. Knight, according to the report, told Arpaio that the details weren't necessary to establish probable cause, the legal term for the level of evidence needed to persuade a judge to sign a search warrant.

The report doesn't specify which details Arpaio wanted Knight to add, but it does describe how Arpaio pressed him on the issue, saying he wanted to make sure the warrant would hold up. Knight didn't buy what Arpaio was saying, believing that the sheriff only wanted the extra information so he could sensationalize the case.

"Are we writing a press release or are we writing a search warrant?" Knight said he asked the sheriff. "I just need to be clear on what we're trying to produce here."

The sheriff stared at him and said sternly: "Get the information in there," the report states. Arpaio then got up and walked out.

Knight did as he was told and included the superfluous information. He had the warrant signed and prepared his deputies for the raid on Wolfswinkel's Tempe business office. He recalled that Arpaio's right-hand man, then-Chief Deputy David Hendershott, called Knight numerous times, asking: "Are we in yet?"

Hendershott, Knight stated, told him that as soon as the search warrant was signed, Knight was to go to the nearest Kinko's and fax a copy to sheriff's headquarters.

"So we get in; we secure the place," Knight said to investigators. "I run over to the nearest Kinko's, which is three or four miles away, [and] fax the document over to him.

"By the time I get back to Conley's business, I've already got a news helicopter flying overhead."

Knight found out later that the search warrant had been handed to the media in conjunction with a press release.

A news conference was under way before Knight got back to his office.

Arpaio also tailored his public statement to emphasize the shocking revelation that Stapley and Wolfswinkel were being investigated in an alleged "bribery" scheme.

The bribery story fell apart within days, by the way, as the officers realized they had the dates wrong on the land deal such that the deal and the supposed political payoff could not be related.

Arpaio faces a myriad of charges.  His defense was that it all happened without his knowledge, which is laughable given the way he is known to run the department.   He is claiming in his PR that the whole department is created in his image but that he has no responsibility for what it does.  Like any good mobster, he apparently had a consigliere named Hendershott who he is attempting to claim now was a loan wolf rather than Arpaio's right hand man, in order to deflect accountability.

The entire article is worth  a read for Arpaio-philes and phobes alike.  It serves as a good summary of some of the worst excesses of Arpaio's reign.

Update:  By the way, does anyone feel comfortable with a police department (much less sheriff Joe) having the weapon shown in this picture.   Can one imagine any legitimate use, short of perhaps a full-blow zombie invasion?   (source)

This is What Happens When You Continually Excuse a Public Official's Lawlessness

Sheriff Joe Arpaio constantly gets a pass for some of the most outrageous hijinx from Phoenix's conservative population that sees him as the last bastion between them and brown-skinned people.  Tell someone he is above the law, and he is going to act above the law

​As Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio crows this morning about how his agency busted a total of six illegal immigrants for using fake IDs so they could work at a Mesa dry cleaner, county budget officials unveiled the results of a six-month investigation into how his office is misspending your money.

If you pay taxes in Maricopa County, it's not pretty.

In total, the county finds that Arpaio and his cronies misspent $99.5 million over the last eight years, the majority of which came from the sheriff's detention fund.

"For eight years, you have been signing paperwork that says your budget is balanced, but it's not," County Supervisor Mary Rose Wilcox reportedly told sheriff's officials at this morning's meeting of the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors.

Budget officers reviewed payroll records for 5,700 sheriff's employee salaries from February 2004 to February 2011 and found that much of what employees were actuallydoing was not what they were getting paid to do.

Two Lame People Who Are Even Lamer Together

Just when I thought I couldn't dislike either actor Steven Seagal or Sheriff Joe Arpaio any more, they team up to set a new low. The short story -- Arpaio sent Seagal in a tank to knock down the walls of a home that was suspected of having cockfighting on the premises.  Really.

The Perfect Story Will Combine Joe Arpaio and Sex with Dogs

This soooo reminds me of Dave Barry's Interview years ago with reason.

​The Maricopa County Sheriff's Office busted two guys -- one of whom was an elementary school music teacher -- last month who allegedly used Craigslist to try and have sex with a dog, and the sheriff seems to think it's becoming a trend -- despite it only happening once.

Sheriff Joe Arpaio earlier this week wrote a letter to Craigslist CEO Jim Buckmaster alerting him of his office's findings and advising him to re-examine security policies on the website to make sure people don't use it to coordinate sex with animals -- again, despite it only happening one time that the sheriff knows about.

Here is the quote from Barry's interview: And here is my post on it

John wrote about it and he got into the usual thing where he immediately got to the question of whether or not you can have sex with dogs. The argument was that if it wasn't illegal to have sex with dogs, naturally people would have sex with dogs. That argument always sets my teeth right on edge....

I got a few letters, mostly pretty nice. One or two letters saying, "Here’s why it wouldn’t work to be a libertarian, because people will have sex with dogs." Arguments like, "Nobody would educate the kids." People say, "Of course you have to have public education because otherwise nobody would send their kids to school." And you’d have to say, "Would you not send your kids to school? Would you not educate them?" "Well, no. I would. But all those other people would be having sex with dogs."

Aaaaaaarrrrrrggggghhh

http://ktar.com/category/local-news-articles/20110215/Arpaio-leads-in-poll-for-Senate-race/

The early returns are in, and right now it would seem Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio has the early edge in replacing Jon Kyl.

According to Roll Call, Arpaio led a field of potential Republican candidates by 21 percent in a poll of likely GOP primary voters.

Though this makes us feel better, a little

Maricopa County's self-proclaimed "toughest sheriff in America," Joe Arpaio, says he's considering running for the U.S. Senate seat being vacated by Senator Jon Kyl.

That said, New Times guaran-damn-tees he won't actually run.

"The issue is whether I want to leave this office and go to Washington and try to make a difference there, which I would do if I run and win," the 78-year-old Arpaio tells The Hill. "I think I could do that job."

Sorry, Joe, we've heard it all before.

As you may recall, Arpaio pulled a similar stunt last year when he claimed to be considering running for governor. And he did the same thing four years earlier, when he also claimed he was mulling over a run for the governorship.

In neither case did Arpaio actually run.

You see, Arpaio seems to get off on seeing his name in the headlines, and what better way to make that happen than to continually fuel speculation about potentially running for office -- and a poll showing he's the front-runner certainly doesn't help things.

Update: This was an interesting post about how TV has become far more accepting of police and proprietorial abuse in its heroes, comparing quasi-terrorist Steve McGarrett from the current incarnation of Hawaii 5-0 with the respectful and conscientious Jack Lord version.  Next up, the new show Arpaio 4-8?

Sheriff Joe May Finally Get Nailed

Most everyone knows that Al Capone was finally nailed for tax evasion, rather than murder, robber, extortion and all the more heinous crimes for which he was mostly likely guilty.  For years, an unfortunately relatively small group of us here in Phoenix have tried to see Sheriff Joe Arpaio brought to justice, or at least removed from office, for his numerous abuses of power.   Lacking the success so far, Arpaio may finally go down for fraud in his management of County funds.

In something that should be a surprise to no one, even his supporters, the supremely arrogant Arpaio did not like state law and the county supervisors rules on where he could spend different parts of his budget.  So it appears he created a shadow payroll system that has only just been discovered that has been paying different people different amounts for different purposes than what shows up in the official County payroll systems, and has been doing so for over a decade.

Deputy County Manager Sandi Wilson and her staff in the Office of Management and Budget for months have worked to figure out how extensive financial problems are, and she expressed shock at the hidden system.

"They've developed a system that basically tracks where they are working versus where they are being paid, and they did not update the official database, which led to the potential problems," Wilson said. "I think they deliberately hid this info from us."

The employee-tracking database was in a secure criminal-justice computer system accessible only to the Sheriff's Office. Control of access to that system, known as ICJIS, has been the subject of a long-running and expensive legal battle during the past two years.

County administrators say they were puzzled by the sheriff's willingness to sue over what they viewed as minor issues related to control of the ICJIS system. The fight by the sheriff to block county access to the system has cost more than $1.6 million.

County officials believe Sheriff's Chief Deputy David Hendershott sought to limit access to the system to hide the shadow payroll records it contained. Those records showed that potentially hundreds of employees who did no work in the jails were being paid with detention funds.

"That's a reasonable conclusion to draw, but we don't know for sure," Irvine said. "From Maricopa County's perspective, the ICJIS dispute and lawsuit has made no sense."

County officials sent information on the payroll system to the U.S. Attorney's Office for review. That office is conducting a separate abuse-of-power probe of Sheriff Arpaio, his employees and others.

The article fails to mention it, but I believe that the county computer facility mentioned above was the same one that Arpaio sent armed deputies storming in to take over about a year ago.  At the time, no one really bought his explanation that it was about protecting sensitive criminal information from prying eyes.  I hypothesized it was to take control of an email server that had incriminating information about Arpaio, but now it turns out it may have been to protect his shadow payroll system.

The Ever-Predictable Sheriff Joe

Via Valley Fever, Sheriff Joe is expanding his outdoor jail whose conditions are substantially worse than those at the nearby WWII POW camp where German prisoners were held.

In the words of the Maricopa County Sheriff's Office, 17 years ago today, "on a swelteringly hot day in 1993, Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio opened the doors to the nation's largest canvas incarceration compound. Tent City, as it became known, would prove to be one of Sheriff Arpaio's best known and potentially most controversial programs."

Today, Arpaio's celebrating the anniversary by unveiling a new section of the compound: "Section 1070," specifically designated for those arrested under Arizona's controversial, new immigration law.

The new section can hold an additional 100 inmates but Arpaio says he expects that number to grow.

"Citizens here sincerely hope that SB 1070 will result in large numbers of illegal aliens being captured and arrested by local law enforcement officers," Arpaio says. "I'm not so certain that will actually happen. But on the assumption it does, then as the Sheriff of this county, I am ready. Tent City is ready. There will never be the excuse that this jail hasn't enough room for violators of SB 1070."

Kobach's Defense of SB1070

I have had a bunch of people send me this article defending Arizona's SB1070, our now infamous immigration law.  A couple of responses:

1.  I have never been wildly worked up by SB1070 after it  was amended a week or so after its initial passage.  I have used the debate around SB1070 to reiterate my case, particularly to Conservatives, for more open immigration.  Our immigration laws are prohibition redux, though in this case we are messing with people's desire to work rather than drink.  As such, the laws to enforce the prohibition are less important to me than the fact of prohibition itself.   IOur immigration laws are an incredible restriction on commerce, free labor markets, and even private property (SB1070 redefines trespassing as not having the government's, rather than the private owner's, permission to be on a piece of property), and this is true with our without SB1070.

I would likely have dropped SB1070 coverage a while ago had it not been for the rhetoric that is used by SB1070 supporters.  When our governor is saying that the majority of Arizona's 500,000 illegal immigrants are all drug mules, that none of them are really looking for honest work, and that all they do is cause crime up to and including beheadings in the desert, I get angry to hear the same stupid arguments that many of our grandparents heard about their ethnic groups (though the beheading thing seems to lack historical precedent).  (more on the immigration non-crime wave here).

2.  The language of SB1070 has never matched the arguments supporting it.  SB1070 mainly gives the police power to be more intrusive at certain traffic stops and harass day labor centers.  What in the heck does this have anything to do with drug cartels and armed paramilitary gangs on the border?  If, as our governor says, illegal immigrants are not really looking for legitimate work, then why is most of our enforcement via employers offering legitimate work?

3.  When Kris Kobach says "In four different sections, the law reiterates that a law-enforcement official 'may not consider race, color, or national origin' in making any stops or determining an alien's immigration status," he is ignoring reality.  The law asks police to make a determination (e.g. probable cause that one is an illegal immigrant) that is impossible for actual human beings to make without such profiling.  It's like passing a law that says "police must drive their cars 30 miles a day but can't drive their cars to do so."  The reality on the ground here in Arizona is that, illegal or not, Sheriff Joe Arpaio has been using racial profiling to make arrest sweeps for years, and his officers have become masters at finding some pretext to pull over a Mexican they want to check out  (e.g. the broken tail light).   Words in this law about racial profiling are not going to change anything.

4.  Kobach makes much of the  revision of the law, post-passage, to narrow the circumstances under which police can stop and check for immigration status

But Section 2 of S.B. 1070 stipulates that in order for its provisions to apply, a law-enforcement officer must first make a "lawful stop, detention, or arrest . . . in the enforcement of any other law or ordinance of a county, city or town or this state."

The original wording made reference to "lawful contact"; this was revised to "lawful stop, detention, or arrest" to make clear that officers could not stop someone simply on suspicion and ask for his papers.

There are folks, including most in the Obama administration, that are still criticizing the original "lawful contact" language and need to catch up.  However, this seems a thin branch for Kobach to stand on in lashing out at the law's critics.  Because in fact this over-broad language did pass and get signed into law, and only the immediate and vociferous public backlash against the language caused it to be changed.  Kobach acts like it was changed based of some internal discussion or discovery of error, but in fact "lawful contact" was how Kobach himself helped write the law and wanted it to read, and was supporters like himself were forced to change it only after a lot of vocal opposition.  Its disingenuous to use the modified language as defense against critics when it was only due to the critics that the modified language was inserted.

At this point, I am done criticizing SB1070.  It is not a great law but it is not particularly worse, in its current form, than laws in some other states or federal law.  I don't really anticipate that it will get struck down by the Supreme Court, though its enforcement may be enjoined through the hearing process.

However, I am not done criticizing our prohibitionist immigration regime nor am I done calling out those on the eliminationist side of the debate, like Jan Brewer, who are starting to show their true stripes as the debate proceeds.  I know some of you are tired of it and to some disagree with me, such that I have lost about half my readers over this.  But this debate has been an eye-opener to me.

For years I have taken many of the AZ politicians at their word that they had no problem with Mexicans per se but were concerned with the load on social services and other government budgets.  I understand how the intersection of immigration and the welfare state causes problems, and have proposed solutions to deal with them.  I am willing to have a friendly agree-to-disagree discussion with such folks.  But when our leaders are talking about 500,000 drug mules and mysterious beheadings and crime waves that somehow exist in a state with rapidly falling crime rates, its clear to me something more insidious is driving some of the folks in the debate.

Can I Make the Opposition Response?

Do all your sheriff's waste their time on this kind of stuff?  Sheriff Joe is cranking on the old PR machine again, this time having an Oval Office fantasy emulating the President's weekly address:

Sheriff Joe Arpaio on Monday announced plans to use a live-streaming video Web site to deliver a weekly address to the media and public.

The Web program "JMA TV-1" will stream Wednesdays at 1:30 p.m. for five to 10 minutes, depending on the subject matter, according to a statement from the Maricopa County Sheriff's Office.

The Line of People Waiting to Kiss Sheriff Joe's Ass Just Floors Me

Barf.

With the amount of attention Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio has brought to his 78th birthday, you might think he's a 16-year-old girl.

First he "tweeted" that he needed ideas on how to celebrate his birthday. Then he claimed his special day was "ruined" because a blind-advocacy group uninvited him to speak at their convention. And now he's lending the occasion to J.D. Hayworth for the Senate hopefuls "Biggest Best Dang Birthday Bash" -- a fundraiser for Hayworth/ birthday party for America's self-proclaimed "toughest sheriff."...

The event will be held tomorrow -- nearly a week after Joe's actual birthday -- and for a mere $35 you could celebrate Joe's big day with Arpaio and Hayworth at The Silver Spur Saloon and Eatery in Cave Creek.

Or, with the flick of a match, you could set $35 on fire -- if given the choice, we'd prefer the latter.

Anti-Immigration Playbook

There is an anti-immigrant playbook in this country that goes back at least to the 1840's and the first wave of Irish immigrants.  Typical arguments applied to nearly every wave of immigrants to this country have been 1.  They are lazy; 2. They are going to take our jobs (funny in conjunction with #1); 3.  They increase crime and 4. They bring disease.

To date in Arizona, we have seen all three of the first arguments in spades, but until recently I had not seen #4.  But trust Sheriff Joe to be out front on this, issuing a press release stating:

Sheriff Joe Arpaio says that he has long argued the point that illegal immigration is not just a law enforcement problem but is a potential health hazard as well.

"This is a risk to our community and to my deputies," Arpaio says. "Deputies never know what they may face in the course of enforcing human smuggling laws."

Arpaio says that in the last two months, four inmates, all illegal aliens from the country of Mexico, were confirmed with having chicken pox, placing 160 inmates into immediate medical quarantine.

Earlier Apraio had this to say to GQ magazine (but he's not a racist!)

All these people that come over, they could come with disease. There's no control, no health checks or anything. They check fruits and vegetables, how come they don't check people? No one talks about that! They're all dirty.

Of course, like many of Arpaio's fulminations, this release fell somewhere between a grand exaggeration and an outright lie.

Maricopa County health officials denied reports by the Sheriff's Office that 160 jail inmates had been quarantined two months ago because of four illegal immigrants with chicken pox.

Officials also downplayed a news release issued by Sheriff Joe Arpaio's office last night about chicken pox found in immigrants busted yesterday, noting that such minor outbreaks don't normally make the news.

After our inquiries, MCSO Lieutenant Brian Lee said that Arpaio had, in fact, misspoken when he stated for the news release that a large-scale "quarantine" had taken place.

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."

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.

No Sh*t!

Via the Arizona Republic, from a deposition by Sheriff Joe Arpaio:

Arpaio says he was not well versed on the Fourth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, or its counterpart in the Arizona Constitution, which prohibit unreasonable searches and seizures.

Yeah, no kidding.  This is just kind of bizarre.  I get the whole ghost-writer thing, but at least Obama actually seems to have read the book that was ghost-written for him:

Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio has not read the book he co-authored in 2008, which includes information on Arpaio's philosophy on America's immigration problem and how to cope with the nation's porous borders.

Arpaio's lack of familiarity with the book, "Joe's Law - America's Toughest Sheriff Takes on Illegal Immigration, Drugs and Everything Else That Threatens America," was among the revelations to emerge from a nine-hour deposition the sheriff gave as part of a racial-profiling lawsuit filed against the Sheriff's Office.

Update: There is a spin in the article that Sheriff Joe is just a delegator, like any good corporate executive.  I am generally considered to be far more comfortable with delegation than average, and even I know a lot more about my business than Sheriff Joe does about his.    Part of the reason is likely that I don't spend 95% of my time on media and PR events to boost my name recognition at public expense.  And you can be dang sure that I know certain pieces of legislation that are important to my business, like the Fair Labor Standards Act and the Service Contract Act, better than my lawyers.

I am Willing To Believe No One is Clean

A blog that specializes in criticizing the Phoenix police argues that Judge Gary Donahoe, recent target of Sheriff Joe Arpaio, has a bad record of aiding and abetting overly-easy search warrants.  I am willing to believe that -- I think about every judge in the nation is too close to police and prosecutors on search warrant issues.  But I don't think this is why Sheriff Joe is after him.  Sheriff Joe likes to make the wrong-address no-knock raid as much as anyone, and protection of civil rights has never been in Arpaio's top 100 or so concerns.  So Danahoe may have issues, but I Sheriff Joe's charges against him are likely pure power play.

The Most Depressing Thing I Read Today

I hope JD is wrong:

Further complicating this picture is that Sheriff Joe Arpaio, despite erratic and confrontational conduct that has repeatedly put him at the wrong end of lawsuits and press coverage, is immensely popular with Maricopa County voters. In fact, recent polling suggests that the governor's office is his for the asking. He's a favorite for the Republican nod and an apparent shoe-in in the general election.

I was under the impression that the Repub's cut Arpaio loose in the last election, but I don't really follow the politics stuff much.  JD has an update on the latest Arpaio shenanigans, as does Radley Balko:

  • The Maricopa County Sheriff's Office announced on Tuesday that Stoddard would surrender to jail ahead of his midnight deadline to aplogize. But when Stoddard showed up, the jail refused to book him, citing a "clerical error." Stoddard insisted on spending the night in jail anyway.
  • Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio announced he has filed a federal lawsuit against the county and its judges, alleging a "widespread conspiracy" against Arpaio and his officers. Arpaio remarkably and apparently with no self-awareness whatsoever called the county a "good ole boys network," and commented that he had "never seen these kinds of things occur in the justice system." Arpaio also called Donahoe's contempt finding against Stoddard a "vendetta," and said, "For political reasons, [Stoddard's] been thrown to the wolves."
  • Yesterday, the day after Stoddard spent a night in jail, 19 sheriff's deputies scheduled to work security at the courthouse called in sick, throwing the day's court proceedings into disarray. The building also had to be evacuated after a phone-in bomb threat.
  • As crowds returned after the bomb threat was cleared, the law enforcement unions commenced with a conveniently-timed rally in front of the courthouse, calling Stoddard a "victim" and demanding that he be released from jail.

Wow, it sure is a real coincidence when a bomb threat against the public defenders (it was a public defender the deputy originally stole the document from) at the exact same moment the sheriff's were trying to disrupt the courthouse over a dispute involving the public defenders office.

Those who don't live here would be appalled and disgusted by how such a large segment of the local population absolutely revere this man.  He's like the right-wing Obama, living off a manufactured image.

Culture of Corruption in the Maricopa County Sheriff's Office

This may see obvious to those of you in the rest of the country, but there are real problems with treating a man uniquely allowed to use force against the citizenry like a rock star.  And that is how certain segments of the local population treat Sheriff Joe Arpaio.   As one abuse of power after another is revealed, his supporters respond  "Isn't he so colorful, just like an old-time western sheriff."

For the rest of us his schtick gets old.  The county has spent millions defending lawsuit after lawsuit against him.  The INS has stripped him of his power to track down illegal immigrants, but he still ventures out on sweeps to arrest folks for driving while Mexican, arresting more people of Mexican decent than I though even existed in certain neighborhoods.  He has arrested reporters who criticized him, and arrested people who applauded a speaker who criticized him.  He even launched a mini-coup attempt against the County which employs him, invading the County offices and taking over a computer system that contained emails he had been unable to subpoena.  In the latter case, the County had to seek a restraining order against its own Sheriff!

Unfortunately, Arpaio's indifference to due process and individual rights obviously has percolated to the entire staff.  Here is the most recent craziness -- during  a trial, a Sheriff's deputy starts going through the defendant's attorney's papers, and takes some of them  (all of which were attorney-client privileged).

The explanation was that the documents had not been screened for contraband and weapons, so the deputy had to take (what looks like a couple of sheets of paper) away to study them to make sure there was no gun  stapled to them or something.  This so lame I am not sure how they can even say it with a straight face, but true to form the Sheriff's office is rallying around its own.  More in the AZ Republic.

Why is it the organizations (ie police departments) whom we entrust with uniquely scary power to use force on us citizens tend to have the least well developed internal checks and accountability processes?

Update: Random example of police not getting prosecuted for abuse of power, from today's news.  Folks like Miller and Radley Balko can fill their blogs with these type cases every day and not get them all.