Department of Justice to charge Crazy Uncle Joe Arpaio with criminal-contempt of court


The wheels of justice turn slowly, but they turn. Crazy Uncle Joe Arpaio may finally face justice for years of abuse of power and abuse of civil rights. The Department of Justice is to charge Crazy Uncle Joe Arpaio with contempt of court today. Federal government to pursue criminal-contempt charge against Sheriff Joe Arpaio:

Arpaio CartoonFederal prosecutors said Tuesday they will pursue a criminal-contempt charge against Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio for defying orders to halt the immigration-enforcement operations that made him a national lightning rod.

If convicted, Arpaio could spend up to six months in jail.

* * *

Arpaio has not yet officially been charged. U.S. District Judge Susan Bolton asked the federal government to write an order to show cause for her to sign by Wednesday. That will serve as a charging document for the case to go forward against Arpaio.

Announcement of the charge, which came minutes into the start of the criminal-contempt proceedings, surprised even those closest to the lawsuit.

“Usually a set status conference is a meeting between the court and council to discuss legal issues,” said Mel McDonald, Arpaio’s defense attorney. “We had no clue that they were going to come here today and make the announcements that they made.”

McDonald said Arpaio will plead not guilty.

Legal experts say the judge and attorneys have little historical guidance moving forward with the case.

“As rare as it is to have a federal judge refer the head of a law-enforcement agency for prosecution, it is even rarer that the Department of Justice would pick up that gauntlet and move forward with the charge,” said Paul Charlton, a former U.S. attorney for the District of Arizona. “It’s unheard of.”

U.S. Department of Justice attorney John Keller said the government will continue to investigate additional allegations against Arpaio, two aides and a defense attorney over concealing evidence — and therefore obstruction of justice — but will not proceed with a criminal case at this time.

Although the federal judge presiding over the racial-profiling case referred Arpaio and three others for consideration of criminal contempt, Keller said the statute of limitations may have run out for the allegations against the others.

Bolton said she is not sure, and asked for a pause on the statute-of-limitations clock so that all sides could discuss that issue.

* * *

A tentative trial date was set for Dec. 6. Arpaio’s attorney asked for a jury trial.

The six-month cap suggests the case will be tried as a misdemeanor, although it was not explicitly stated in court.

Only a felony conviction can force an elected official out of office in Arizona, according to state statute.

The others referred by Snow for possible charges of criminal contempt — Chief Deputy Jerry Sheridan, Capt. Steve Bailey and defense attorney Michele Iafrate — will not face immediate charges.

* * *

DOJ officials did not respond to requests for an interview after court proceedings but issued the following statement.

cartoon_61“The matter was referred to the Justice Department’s Public Integrity Section, and at a status hearing today before U.S. District Judge Susan R. Bolton, the department informed the court that it intends to proceed to trial against Sheriff Arpaio on the criminal contempt charges but, because of procedural defects, will not be proceeding against the other individuals. The court ordered the department to file a revised order redacting the contempt matters against the other individuals and set a preliminary trial date of Dec. 6, 2016.”

In related news, a new poll out today has Arpaio’s Democratic challenger, Paul Penzone, leading in the Maricopa County Sheriff race. New poll shows Penzone leading Arpaio:

A new poll of likely voters shows Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio trailing Democrat Paul Penzone by 10 points.

The live poll of 348 Maricopa County voters – people who voted in three of the last four general elections — found Penzone favored by 50.86 percent and Arpaio by 40.52 percent.

That narrows to 5 points, given the 5.2 percent margin of error.

The poll, conducted Oct. 2-5 by Sherpa Public Affairs, shows some big red flags for Arpaio.

Results indicate he’s losing among men (38%-55%), independents (38%-53%) and voters age 50-64 (45%-51%). The only age group he carried was the over-65 crowd (50%-41%) Women, meanwhile, appear up for grabs, supporting Penzone over Arpaio, 47-42%, which is within the margin of error.

Arpaio and Penzone split the white vote while Hispanics broke three-to-one for Penzone.

As expected, The Arizona Republic which has called for Arpaio to resign and to be prosecuted over the years, today endorsed Paul Penzone for sheriff. Our View: Elect Paul Penzone, not Sheriff Showboat.

Will residents of the state of Maricopa finally pull their heads out of their asses and vote Crazy Uncle Joe Arpaio out of office? To paraphrase President Gerald Ford, “Our long national nightmare may finally be over.”

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AZ BlueMeanie
The Blue Meanie is an Arizona citizen who wishes, for professional reasons, to remain anonymous when blogging about politics. Armed with a deep knowledge of the law, politics and public policy, as well as pen filled with all the colors stolen from Pepperland, the Blue Meanie’s mission is to pursue and prosecute the hypocrites, liars, and fools of politics and the media – which, in practical terms, is nearly all of them. Don’t even try to unmask him or he’ll seal you in a music-proof bubble and rendition you to Pepperland for a good face-stomping. Read blog posts by the infamous and prolific AZ Blue Meanie here.


  1. Off topic – BfA is a great blog, really enjoy reading it but what’s with the comments platform? Seems replies to specific comments should be under the comments being replied to instead of (as it seems) being scattered throughout. Any way to improve the comments platform? I’d be glad to kick in a few bucks for that if it would help.

      • It’s happened whether directly replying to a comment or replying to a main post. Or being a bit of a techno-twit it could just be me. To quote the late Bart: “I don’t get cable TV so what do I know?

  2. I hope you don’t set your hopes too high. My money is on Arpaio being re-elected. He is being tried on misdemeanors and will never see a day in jail. If he is found guilty he will be put on probation and nothing more. If he has a jury trial, he will be acquited by reason of a hung jury. I recognize the visceral hatred this blog site has for Arpaio sort of blinds everyone, but he still has a rather large cheering section out there that tends to be dismissed here.

    • Hopes not high at all, he may very well skate. BfA commenters calling out Arpaio’s character qualifies as visceral hate?

      • As for the visceral hate comment, conservatives like to claim they’re for small, limited, Constitutional government. Many of them claim to be Christian. All of them claim to be Patriots.

        But Joe pisses all over the US Constitution, which is why he’s in trouble, he wastes millions in taxpayer money because when he breaks the law, taxpayers pay the bill.

        And while the Bible clearly informs the pilgrim on how to treat the stranger in land, Arizona conservatives say no way Jose.

        But racists they just love the guy no matter what he does. Then they call others blind.

        It’s weird.

        Anyway, since I hold racists in the same esteem as child molesters, and I’ll point to genocide, slavery, segregation, and BLM among other things, to back up that statement, I’m comfortable with the visceral hatred comment.

        • Remember reading in MAD Magazine long ago “Conservatives love their country. They just hate everyone in it.”

          • This is absolutely succinct on the current conservative mind. They love the flag, and the cross, all the symbols, and they believe in none of the rights, responsibilities or principles behind the symbols. Certainly they don’t believe in any principles, especially if they apply to anyone they deem black, brown or speaking a foreign language, you know, like THEIR grandparents from Poland, Germany and Italy. Conservatives believe in being fiscally conservative, except for their pet interests, then the Feds should be all in. (Subsidized fish on the Colorado River, tree cutting, fracking or grazing on Federal lands, Medicare, military bases unneeded anymore, the CAP). And don’t forget, no new taxes for anything, anytime, “I don’t have any kids in school!”, but plenty of subsidies for private school tuition.

          • Do you actually know any conservatives, Frances? If you do, do they fit the profile you described?

          • Frances, I would directly reply to your post but there was no “reply button” on it. Hate to contradict you but today’s conservatives do have principles. The main being “what is our immediate benefit”. Most flagrant example is the 2000 election where their devotion to states rights got tossed over the side to benefit Bush the Lesser.

        • “…I hold racists in the same esteem as child molesters…”

          I have to tell you something, Not Tom, that others here won’t tell you: That is a whacked value to hold. You are either saying you condemn racism too much or you don’t condemn child molesters enough. You listed some potential effects of racism (genocide, slavery, segregation, and – oddly- BLM), some of which are serious enough to be compared to child molesting, but racism in and of itself doesn’t. In fact, you can have genocide and slavery without racism having anything to do with it. I have witnessed it and fought against it in my time in the Army.

          In any event, Not Tom, your position on racism is unbalanced. Neither the law nor common sense supports you on this. Of course, it is your position and you can keep it as long as you want!!! I just don’t think it has the effect you think it does…

          • Why is BLM an odd example of racism?

            It’s the ultimate modern example of a deadly, racist system, people are being murdered, people with families and wives and children, and the murderers nearly always go back to work the next day.

            Before you answer, keep in mind, I’m doing some extreme trolling here, which I know you can appreciate, but I’ll stop, it’s not fun anymore.

          • That is because you used initials that mean more than one thing. When I saw “BLM”, I did not think “Black Lives Matter”. I thought “Bureau of Land Management”. I think that is because I am buying a very large tract of land up north and I have had some dealings with the Bureau. Given that I was thinking Bureau of Land Management, I think you can understand why I thought it was a very odd choice to connect with racism. Black Lives Matter, on the other hand, makes perfect sense. I am sorry for the confusion.

      • Oh, yeah, and I expect creepy old Joe’s lawyers to run out the clock on Joe’s expiration date.

      • I read the comments and while the recitation of the issues they have with Arpaio may well have substance, their dislike of him seems to run deeper than that. There is something about Arpaio that brings out the worst in people who don’t like him. That is why I refer to it as a visceral hatred.

        • It’s probably all the racisim.

          It’s in Occam’s razor kind of thing. There’s no real mystery here.

        • Just maybe it’s the old bait & switch on who is going to pay his lawyers for yet another lawsuit.
          Sheriff Arpaio’s Re-election Fundraising Plea In Light of Criminal Contempt Proceedings
          If this keeps up we will have to declare him as a dependent on our taxes!

  3. If he’s convicted, it would be just if his sentence is to be served in an institution of similar quality to his own incarceration facilities. But he would probably wind up in a relatively cushy “Club Fed”. An he’ll moan and wail about that.

    • The sad thing about tent city? It’s just a political tool for Joe, it’s not needed and it’s costing us money.

      From Laurie Roberts via AZCentral:

      “Faced with the need to cut $8 million in spending, Arpaio had two choices.

      He could:

      a. Close a mostly empty Tent City Jail – …….. and move the inmates to another half empty jail.

      Or b. Eliminate pay raises for his detention officers and kill several programs, including MCSO’s special response team, a group of highly trained officers who handle the most dangerous inmates.”

      Joe opted to leave tent city open, and said later, (again from Roberts):

      “The tents are there and they’re going to stay there,” he told them. I don’t care what you hear, what garbage is circulating. I am the sheriff. I run this organization.”

      Arpaio told the employees basically to suck it up.

      “Let’s not go blaming certain lawsuits,” he said.”

      Joe’s not America’s toughest anything, he’s a standard issue lying politician dirt bag.

      I wish conservatives would spend more time questioning their leaders and less time claiming to not be Sheeple.

    • In the extremely unlikely event that Arpaio had to serve some time, he would serve it in one of his jails. He won’t be jailed for more than 6 months which means he won’t be transfered to a prison, but will stay right here and serve his time in jail. He would be kept in a very secure portion of the jail where they keep high profile inmates. He wouldn’t mix with the regular population at all. In other words, he would be handled with kid gloves and would probably be released early for good behavior.

      But the liklihood of him serving time is extremely remote. He is a first time offender being tried for a misdemeanor. Cases like his don’t go to jail, they get probation. And not just because he is Joe Arpaio…that is just what happens to people in his situation.

      • You seem to have some sympathy for the sheriff Steve perhaps if you shared your thoughts on multiculturalism with the class we would better understand your viewpoint

          • Good try, Not Tom. ;o)

            I don’t intend to share my opinions on multiculturalism anytime soon. You are going to have to go find your opportumity to be offended somewhere else tonight. Sorry…

          • So you admit your views are offensive.

            Yeah, I did go to the Lloyd Christmas school of law.

          • Offensive to you because you are so easily offended. I don’t intend to be mean in saying that, but experience has taught me that you are rather brittle and I really don’t need the hassle of responding to you on a variety of subjects that have drifted away from the central topic.

          • Actually, I thought I needed to expound a little more on whether or not my views on multiculturalism are offensive or not.

            Multiculturalism is part of the politically correct (PC) dogma that is simply accepted and allows no contrary opinions. Since I have contrary opinions, they would be offensive to the adherents of PC. Since many of the posters here are PC in their “thinking”, I would offend many more than just you. There would be no “discussion” of multiculturalism, there would only be name calling, death wishes and generally nastiness. Sometimes I am up for that; sometimes it is even sort of fun; but I just don’t need the hassle right now.

            Sorry for disappointing you. ;o)

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