Know who had a bad week this week? Joe Arpaio


By Craig McDermott, crossposted from Random Musings

Note: there are a couple of changes to adapt this post to BfA’s format.

It is far too early to gloat – Arpaio has a seemingly uncanny ability to weasel out of trouble, often by throwing others under the bus.

He did that a lot this week, only to see many of his “throwees” drag him under the same bus.


First up: a primer (see the video linked above).

Note: it isn’t perfectly accurate (for example, the infamous nativist bill SB1070 became law in 2010, not in “the 2008 – 2009 time frame“) and most lawyers will cringe at it (much of the terminology used is for laymen, not those with JDs).  However, it effectively explains the factors that lead up to the current situation.


Second up: what happened this week in federal court in Phoenix.

A. A civil contempt hearing looking into possible violations of a court order by Arpaio took place.

B. At the hearing:

1. Arpaio threw his lawyer under the bus.

2. One of Arpaio’s senior officers threw Arpaio under the bus.

3. Arpaio’s lawyer withdrew from the case.

4. Arpaio admitted, under oath, to news broken last year by Stephen Lemons of the Phoenix New Times – that he had the wife of the judge in this case, Murray Snow, investigated.

Personal observation: I don’t know if Arpaio is a praying man, but if he is one, he should give a heartfelt prayer of thanks that Snow is the judge hearing this case.  Upon hearing that admission, most other people, including many judges, would have simply turned to the nearest court officer and ordered that Arpaio be taken to the darkest, dankest hole in the federal prison system and dropped in it.

Because Snow is the judge, Arpaio is still sleeping in his own bed.

So far, most of Arizona’s Republicans haven’t publicly weighed in on Arpaio’s travails, though a couple of “fringe-y” folks have (in this case, “fringe-y” speaks to their likelihood of holding office in the near future, not to their political positions.  At this point, most members of the AZGOP espouse positions that are pretty “fringe-y.)

One that is (very) mildly critical of Arpaio: Christine Jones, a 2014 candidate for governor.  From her Twitter feed:

Another, stridently supportive of Arpaio: Jack Harper, a former state legislator and legendary whackjob.  From Donna Gratehouse, friend and fellow blogger:

Personal observation2: If one thinks about the ramifications of it, Harper’s “logic” would ultimately preclude court actions against public officials who are corrupt or otherwise abuse the powers of their offices.


Anyway, it really is too soon to start gloating over Arpaio’s political demise (this is a long way from over), but that hasn’t stopped some people from quietly speculating over who among Maricopa County’s Rs will angle for the sheriff’s job should Arpaio not run for reelection next year.

My (not-so-quiet) speculations:

1. Someone from MCSO who is unfamiliar to the general public but who is an Arpaio lifer.

2. Russell Pearce, former legislator and longtime Arpaio ally.

3. John Kavanagh, current legislator and also a long-time Arpaio ally.

One thing all have in common:  If they gain the office, they almost certainly won’t investigate the previous administration.

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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. A party should not be able to create its own conflict and then use it to recuse a perceived unfavorable judge. Especially when the alleged conflict is created by the party’s own conduct that is subject to contempt. That’s way too easy and way too obvious.

    • I agree, but regardless of what we think, if a situation arises in which a Judge’s actions become affected by personal biases, then the reality exists that he is no longer an impartial judge and he should recuse himself. This judge actually took the unusual position of questioning Arpaio about the specific subject of his wife being investigated and in doing made it clear he is being affected by the situation.

  2. Does this create a conflict for Judge Snow because he is now biased against Sheriff Joe because of the unvestigation into Snow’s wife? Especially since Judge Snow took the unusual step of cross examining Sheriff Joe on the subject.

  3. Stephen Lemons deserves high praise for his pursuit of scum bag politicians in Maricopa County. Remember his unveiling of sham candidate Olivia Cortes?

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