The U.S. Department of Justice appears to have two classes of criminals whom it will not prosecute to conviction: the banksters of Wall Street, and a racist sheriff in the state of Maricopa. This is inexplicable to me.
I share Stephen Lemons’ disgust at this turn of events. DOJ Caves on Arpaio’s Abuse of Power, Again:
Once again, the U.S. Department of Justice has disappointed us when it comes to reining in Sheriff Joe Arpaio’s abuses of power, this time with a Neville Chamberlain-esque agreement that the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors approved on Wednesday.
The board unanimously voted to settle on three areas of dispute in United States v. Maricopa County: worksite raids, how the sheriff’s office treats so-called Limited English Proficiency inmates in the jails, and Arpaio’s retaliatory tactics against his critics, political opponents and anyone else who gets in his way.
In June, federal Judge Roslyn O. Silver issued a summary judgment in U.S. v. Maricopa County in favor of the DOJ on counts related to biased policing, which largely are covered in the ACLU’s big civil rights case Melendres v. Arpaio.
Arpaio and his agency were found guilty of racial profiling county Latinos in a 2013 decision in Melendres by federal Judge G. Murray Snow.
The MCSO was ordered to stop, given a large number of reforms to enact, and placed under the scrutiny of a monitor to make sure those reforms got done.
Essentially, the plaintiff lawyers in Melendres, attorneys from the ACLU and the firm of Covington and Burling, had already succeeded in the discriminatory policing aspect of the case.
This, in turn, comprised more than half of the DOJ’s June “win” in U.S. v. Maricopa County. Silver set a bench trial for August 10 to deal with the other issues involved.
After the BOS declared an armistice, Silver issued an order Wednesday, instructing the parties to file a joint statement by Monday, “setting forth what claims, if any, remain.”
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[H]ow does the DOJ do justice to the judges, newspaper execs, political rivals, community activists, county employees and others who were wrongly arrested, jailed, harassed, and charged with crimes sans cause?
Laughably, it allows Arpaio to admit he’s been a bad boy and write that he’ll never do it again on a blackboard for all to see.
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How incredibly lame. And how typical of the DOJ.
Some of us around here remember “Black Friday,” August 31, 2012, when the local U.S. Attorney’s Office announced at 5 p.m., at the start of a three-day weekend, that it was closing its criminal investigation into widespread abuse of power allegations by the sheriff’s office and the county attorney’s office, with no charges being filed.
What I wrote then reads like deja vu all over again:
“We all know crimes were committed. That is as plain as the bulbous Mr. Magoo nose on Joe’s aged face. The feds have shown themselves unwilling and impotent to take on the biggest criminal in Maricopa County…”
Oh, death, where is thy sting?
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So what confidence should we have that the DOJ’s lackadaisical approach to the MCSO will work?
None. Zip. Zero. Nada. At least, as long as Arpaio and his Chief Deputy Jerry Sheridan remain in charge.
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There is no way to polish this caca. The DOJ has failed to corral Arpaio’s unconstitutional and often criminal behavior, leaving it up to entities such as the ACLU, private law firms, and the residents of Maricopa County to seek the “justice” that, ironically, is part of the DOJ’s name.
County Supervisor Steve Gallardo, the only Democrat on the board, voted in favor of the DOJ-Arpaio settlement, but he did not sound pleased with the document.
“I was shocked to read what I’ve read,” he told me. “I was expecting the Department of Justice would want more oversight over the sheriff’s office. I was expecting more than what the [DOJ] has suggested.”
He said he voted for the agreement in the hopes of avoiding another lengthy, expensive trial in federal court.
Similarly, Lydia Guzman, a longtime anti-Arpaio activist whose work helped ensure the victory in Melendres, told KJZZ’s Jude Joffe-Block that she was disheartened by the settlement.
“After all of these years of doing research bringing victims to Department of Justice as well as gathering evidence, I feel like I’ve been cheated,” Guzman explained.
There is one positive out of this development, however: If there’s no trial before Silver, then it will be full speed ahead on the second round of contempt proceedings before Judge Snow, which hopefully will result in a criminal referral for the prosecution of both Arpaio and his top henchman, Jerry Sheridan.
Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio is asking a federal judge to delay proceedings in a racial profiling case while Arpaio prepares to appeal the judge’s refusal to disqualify himself.
Saying Arpaio is entitled to a “fair and impartial legal proceeding,” the sheriff’s lawyers asked for a stay Tuesday while they prepare to file an appeal with the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals later this month.
Lawyers for civil rights group pressing the case responded Thursday, arguing that the sheriff’s request lacks any legal basis and would delay the resolution of the case and the implementation of any court-ordered steps to protect people injured by racial profiling.
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On July 10, Snow denied a motion by Arpaio for the judge to step aside. The judge’s ruling said the disqualification motion was tardy, “legally insufficient” and stemmed from Arpaio’s own actions.
Arpaio’s lawyers had argued in the disqualification request that Snow put his impartiality at issue by questions he asked during an April 23 hearing about secret investigations involving the judge that were done on Arpaio’s behalf.
Crazy Uncle Joe Arpaio evades “Justice” again, and he may delay his contempt proceedings. We’ll have to wait and see what happens.