‘Arpaio, Subordinates, Referred for Criminal Prosecution by Judge Snow, Could Face Prison Time’, via phoenixnewtimes.com: Aug 19:
“Late Friday afternoon, federal Judge G. Murray Snow issued his long-awaited ruling on possible criminal contempt charges for Arpaio, his Chief Deputy Jerry Sheridan, the MCSO’s [Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office] former Professional Standards Bureau Captain Steve Bailey, and ex-Arpaio attorney Michele Iafrate. [She resigned from his defense team on June 6]
In a 32-page order, Snow requested that the U.S. Attorney for Arizona, John Leonardo, prosecute all four for alleged criminal contempt. As Snow is required under federal law, he then referred the matter to another federal judge, to be randomly selected.
Not long after Snow ruled, a criminal case number was assigned to United States v. Joseph M. Arpaio, et al., and a judge was selected for the case — according to blogger Mitch Martinson over at Arizona’s Politics, that would be U.S. District Judge Susan R. Bolton, famous for her 2010 injunction against Arizona’s anti-immigrant law, Senate Bill 1070. (Unless Bolton recuses herself for some reason, that is; one other judge already has, which is how Bolton caught the case.)
If U.S. Attorney Leonardo declines to prosecute, he must inform the case judge of that decision so that a special prosecutor can be appointed, if the judge sees fit. The possible punishment for criminal contempt could be six months in the slammer — or more if the contempt charges are prosecuted as felonies rather than misdemeanors.
Snow already declared Arpaio and Sheridan guilty of civil contempt of his court in May of this year, finding that the two men had “deliberately” and “willfully” defied his orders in the ACLU’s landmark civil-rights case Melendres v. Arpaio, in which Snow had found Arpaio and the MCSO at fault for widespread racial profiling of Latinos.
Intentional defiance is the bright line for criminal versus civil contempt charges under federal law, and Arpaio and Sheridan crossed it long ago, according to Snow.
As early as December 2011, Snow issued a preliminary injunction — later to be made permanent — that the MCSO could not enforce civil immigration law and could not hold individuals solely on the suspicion that they may be in the country without authorization (which is, in itself, not a crime).
But Arpaio thumbed his nose at the judge, publicly stating that he would continue to enforce immigration law and turn over non-criminal aliens to federal law enforcement, saying he had a “backup plan” to get around the judge’s dictates.”
Now Sheriff Joe has been giving the finger to all sorts of court orders forever, , and Judge Snow had put his office under a federal monitor in 2013. He failed to attend meetings for ‘negotiations’ time and again, but even then a federal grand jury was allegedly looking into whether Arpaio used his power to investigate and intimidate political opponents and whether his office misappropriated government money. Clearly he was, but he must not have been indicted.
Allow me to borrow some of what I wrote about his grotesque abuse of power back in Sept. 2012: ‘Feds Shut Down Criminal Probe of Sheriff Joe Arpaio’, in which I’d interviewed (ahem) one of my alter egos extensively…:
On Friday night, Oct. 31, in another in a chain of Closed Probes, Ann Scheel issued a news release on behalf of US Attorney John Leonardo saying that after an ‘exhaustive’ four-year investigation of Maricopa County, AZ’s “America’s Toughest Sheriff” and cronies, there won’t be any indictments. The release was skimpy on details, but in a letter to County Attorney Bill Montgomery, Scheel mentioned several allegations that had been investigated: civil-rights violations, misuse of public money, and perjury.
She said prosecution had been declined because of a lack of evidence or an insurmountable burden of proof. Note that this was the same US attorney Leonardo mentioned above: ‘If U.S. Attorney Leonardo declines to prosecute, he must inform the case judge of that decision so that a special prosecutor can be appointed, if the judge sees fit. Well, now, this could get interesting… But onward!
You will remember Arpaio as the loathsome individual who kept suspected, sometimes apparent, undocumented immigrants in tent city prisons, fed them the now famous ‘green bologna’ meals, routinely withheld critical medical care of prisoners; paraded male prisoners in public wearing pink underwear; broke up families in his haste to deport thousands without due process; had his picture taken with White Supremacists…and with his political friend Janet Napolitano back in the day when they were useful to each other. Heh.
In point of fact, the FBI’s initial 2008 investigation was broadened to include the ‘abuse of power’ allegations in 2010 at the request of the Maricopa County Supervisors, asking for a parallel state investigation. Fibbies were apparently cross-deputized toward that end.
Given that this news release by the OBomba Justice Department was thrown out in the Friday Trash, this was a hard weekend to secure comments on the matter. I finally reached my relatively anonymous contact at The Unknown Bloggers Group; she simply self-designates with the alphanumeric wd666.
As luck would have it (good luck, that is) I reached her in her car, jammin’ lickety-split on the highway on her way to cover the Democratic Convention on Tuesday in Charlotte.
We agreed to meet, as she’s been covering the Arpaio story for years, and she ‘damned straight, had somethin’ to say about it’.
We met six hours ago at the local Laundromat; it was thankfully empty as I’d reckoned it would be. When I arrived, wd666 was seated in one of a row of grey chairs that were bolted to the floor, one leg crossed over the other, and wearing the sole piece of her group’s simple uniform: a brown grocery bag with cut-out eye and mouth holes…over her head. I sat two seats down, got out my tape recorder, and urged her to let ‘er rip.
“Have you heard that fat-ass Arpaio honking on about ‘being vindicated’ as he rushed back from Tampa? I’d like to vindicate him…with my Doc Martens or a ball bat (just joshin’ around, ya know).
Oh, yeah, let’s see…another closed investigation; did you read that frickin’ letter Schell wrote to Montgomery? Christ, he uses $84 million earmarked for jails, spent it on “unrelated expenses and salaries”, but they reckon it’s okay cuz no one personally profited from the “misspending”! So the prosecutors couldn’t claim there was criminal intent! Guess those prisoners mightta thought there was ‘criminal intent’ or ‘negligence’, eh?
And good god all-Friday; those MCSO P-credit cards the Supervisors were claiming were ‘misused’ by the department? Ha! No, no…the expenses they racked up were simply ‘not properly documented’! Kinda like MERS robo-signing, ya know; ‘Oops, we failed to document things properly; so sorree…what’s the fine for that, anyway? Hell, these fucks don’t even get fined, fer cryin’ in a barrel!
Shoot, you remember how Arpaio convinced County Attorney Andy Thomas and his other goons to file criminal charges against Judge Donahoe and two County Supervisors, claiming they were hindering an investigation into a ‘conspiracy’ on a court building’s construction? Yeah, well, a judge threw out the cases as bogus, and Thomas was disbarred by an Arizona court ethics panel, but these folks can’t find how anything he did could be construed as intentional harm to Judge Donohoe and the Supervisors? After Thomas and attorney Lisa Aubuchon were convicted of perjury for lying about Donohoe, the Feds reckoned ‘since they hadn’t lied in their papers to the court, they couldn’t charge them with perjury? Arrrggh!
Whaaat? They accidentally lied in court and conspired to ruin their political enemies? Oopsie!
“You know what I think? Besides the fact that this DoJ sucks in every way imaginable? I think this particular probe’s end is all wrapped up with Issa’s investigation into Holder and ‘Fast and Furious’. As soon as he testified to Congress the other day, AZ US Attorney Dennis Burke resigned, or more likely was asked to resign, and now it looks like Ann Scheel might be appointed to fill his job. Man, Burke was a rising star, too; that must suck.
Fox News has it that insiders are sayin’ Burke barfed behind the Committee’s closed doors, and AZ Rep. Paul Gosar says this goes all the way to the top, meaning Holder, even though Issa’s saying he doesn’t really think so.
But anyway, US Attorney is a Senate-confirmable job, and they’ll need McCain and Kyl to help get her okayed. Plus, this is a great week for Obama to…you know, make sure swing voters know his DoJ really and sincerely is all about ‘looking forward, not backward’, as he heads to the Convention. Heh, heh.
Piling onto the irony of all this, Miz Scheel reminded us that there are still those DoJ charges pending against Ugly Joe for racial profiling, immigrant sweeps, violating detainees’ civil rights, and more. She says that in civil matters, the burden of proof is far lower! Do ya think they might find some of his shit meets the ‘preponderance of evidence bar’? Sweet Jayzus; some days in Amerika are just too damned strange to believe!”
The Unknown Blogger then threw back her head over the edge of the plastic molded chair…and let loose with a rather demonic, yet somehow pleasant…laugh…that came all the way from her belly and out into the laundromat, brown paper bag a-rustle with portent. Heh heh heh heh…and so forth…
But back to the charges: the NYT emphasizes that “The referral does not mean the sheriff will face criminal charges; it is up to federal prosecutors to decide whether to pursue the case. Still, if the prosecutors do not take the case, the judge could appoint a special prosecutor.
Phoenixnewtimes.com goes through a short litany of the failures to produce which evidence, the actual hiding of evidence, lots of laptop hard drives, over a thousand illegally confiscated drivers’ licenses, lies told to him in Snow’s courtroom, and add toward the bottom:
“There is also the dilemma of an election year, and a local U.S. Attorney’s Office that has earned a reputation for inaction. Add to this the tortoise-like pace of the federal judiciary, plus Arpaio’s age, and Arpaio’s many enemies have no guarantee they will see justice done. Which is why Snow’s order, though welcome, remains so unsatisfying on so many levels.
It is also anticlimactic, considering that in a June hearing in the case, Snow telegraphed, for seemingly the umpteenth time, that he was going to lower the boom on Arpaio and Sheridan. Only the criminal referrals for Iafrate and Bailey were ever in any doubt.”
I wouldn’t call this ‘lowering the boom’ by any stretch of the imagination, especially after so many long years of Arpaio’s malignant criminal conduct, as well as the time the Judge waited to rule; Scofflaw Arpaio supporters are convinced that he waited until election season, but his opponent has almost no money in his ‘war chest’, while Arpaio has close to half a million Amerikan dollars in his. Judge Snow also ordered a $500,000 compensation fund and arbitration mechanism for those able to prove they’d been detained illegally violation of Snow’s injunction. Most have likely been deported already, but this fund/arbitrage only concerns the past seventeen months, not the past twenty-six years or so.
A$$hole Arpaio’s wikipedia entry. It notes that Arpaio built his tent cities in 1993. Fun stuff: MSM coverage of this stirs in Trump loves him (no doubt) and the WaPo says: “…this, in a nation that revere’s The Rule of Law…” Laugh track, please.
So stay tuned, but if I had to guess, the show might be worth the popcorn, save for Arpaio’s histrionics; it would be just fine to be wrong about that. He has been proud of his unconstitutional and malevolent deeds; fuck him. “I got meal costs down to 40 cents a day for prisoners. It costs $1.15 a day to feed the department’s dogs.”