Sheriff Arpaio’s Attorney Quits During Contempt Hearing, Former Staff Turn on the Sheriff

by Mother Mags –

Sheriff-Joe-Arpaio

In Phoenix, Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio’s civil contempt hearing began, and the first day was a doozie. Judge Murray Snow ordered Sheriff Arpaio to appear at the hearing because the bigoted blowhard had arrogantly defied the judge’s orders following Melendres v. Arpaio. In that 2007 incident, argued by the ACLU, the court found that the sheriff’s office did indeed use race as a determining factor in traffic stops and other detainments, the very definition of racial profiling.

Following the Melendres verdict, in 2013 Judge Snow ordered Arpaio to end his infamous immigration roundups (neighborhood “sweeps”), turn over video evidence from traffic stops, and install a court-appointed monitor to develop training programs and oversee compliance. Arpaio did none of this; in fact, he destroyed video evidence and continued his sweeps. Having run out of patience, last month Judge Snow, a George W. Bush appointee, ordered Arpaio and several key deputies to appear at this week’s four-day contempt hearing.

Immediately after the judge announced the hearing, Sheriff Arpaio tried to buy his way out of the mess—admitting his guilt and promising to donate $100,000 to a civil rights organization if the judge would cancel the contempt hearing. Judge Snow said no and the proceedings began yesterday; he will decide if Arpaio and four key deputies are guilty of civil contempt or perhaps whether the case should move to a criminal phase.

The hearing’s first day was explosive, and not in a good way for the sheriff. First, his lead attorney resigned, stating a conflict of interest since he also works for Maricopa County.

Tom Liddy, one of Arpaio’s attorneys, abruptly quit, citing a conflict of interest and saying he was “filing an application to withdraw from the case.”

Another long-time Arpaio attorney, Tom Casey, had jumped ship back in November, leaving only one of the original three-person legal team. The worst turn for Sheriff Arpaio, however, was the testimony of two former deputies, who essentially said the sheriff willfully ignored Judge Snow’s orders. “Willful” is key here, since it would lead to a criminal trial.

Sgt. Brett Palmer testified Arpaio’s immigration tactics were driven by public relations and media attention, and never complied with court orders to stop Arpaio’s highly publicized immigration roundups.

ACLU attorney Cecilia Wang said the sheriff ordered Palmer to detain immigrants, even though there was no cause, so he could “come and do a press conference.” What a surprise, Sheriff Arpaio seeks the cameras! Another former deputy corroborated Palmer’s testimony.

Another of the sheriff’s top brass, retired Executive Chief Brian Sands, testified he made several suggestions as to how the sheriff’s office should comply with the court orders, all of which he said the sheriff ignored.

According to the Arizona Republic, the two “statements were the strongest support yet for claims that Arpaio’s failure to abide by Snow’s orders were deliberate.” And that was Day One—better than any soap on TV. It looks like Sheriff Arpaio will take the stand today or tomorrow. Stay tuned.

 

Reprinted with permission from Daily Kos