Friday, August 20, 2010

Say It Ain't So, Joe

Attorney General Eric Holder has been investigating Maricopa County Arizona Sheriff Joe Arpaio for being mean to illegal immigrants and various other charges of racial profiling. Sheriff Joe ("the toughest sheriff in America") has ticked off thousands of miscreants and their bleeding-heart supporters, but when Eric Holder thinks you're a racist, it's time to cash in your chips, isn't it?

To paraphrase our Race-Baiter-in-Chief, Barack Obama, Eric Holder is a typical black person, with all the prejudices that implies, who has seen a white man, and acted stupidly in trying to discredit the sheriff. Hmmmm. Sound familiar? With the shoe on the other foot, I'm quite sure Holder would not see the parallel. Perhaps instead of trying to persecute Arpaio, he could have his boss throw a beer summit at the White House and make the whole thing go away. Fat chance. Obama, Holder, and the open borders/amnesty now crowd are on a mission, and the opinion of the vast majority of Americans of all colors and ethnic backgrounds be damned.

Assisting the attorney general are local Maricopa County "officials" who are not in the sheriff's inner circle, who answer to special interest groups, and who claim that the corruption investigations by the sheriff against them are triggered solely by Arpaio's alleged vendetta against all who oppose him. In other words, they appear to have their hands in somebody else's pockets, but that's only because Sheriff Joe doesn't like illegals or the supporters of illegals. It couldn't possibly be that they are actually corrupt or serving the interests of illegals. Remember that within the professional "civil rights" establishment, only one word is necessary for a complete defense against corruption charges: "racism."

The same civil rights establishment would never, not now, not later, but never, accuse Holder of doing exactly what he accuses others of. Arpaio has thrown a real monkey wrench into the machinery of professional victimhood, and the left simply can't allow that. Holder hasn't proven a thing, and the charges against Arpaio are so nebulous and so one-sided that the only thing Holder can find to charge Arpaio with is not assisting in his own public hanging. And even that's only what Holder and his sycophants and leftist shysters say. Arpaio and his attorneys deny the charge, and have risked further persecution by publicly announcing that "the office has always fulfilled its responsibilities truthfully, honorably, and in full compliance with state and federal law."

At least now we know the source of the allegations. Arpaio and his lawyers have stated under oath that they have been completely cooperative with Holder's witch hunt, and have scrupulously obeyed the law. The poor benighted souls simply don't realize that the law as it is is irrelevant to an attorney general who thinks the law is what he says it is. If Holder charges you with something, you're guilty. In fact, in the matter of Khalid Sheikh Muhammad and the other terrorists who will receive pretty civilian trials, he has indicated that it's all just a show anyway, since he knows they're guilty and will be convicted. So watch out, Joe.

Turnabout is fair play, so Arpaio's attorneys have responded with: "While we have no quarrel with the assistant US attorney's handling the investigation, the attorney general's comments appear to violate federal regulations, departmental policy and state ethical rules designed to ensure the fairness of the criminal investigation." Aw, there they go again citing law, rules and ethics. Those are the concepts of dead white men. They're out of date and get in the way of true "justice."

We all know that anyone who would round up illegal immigrants is by definition a racist, guilty of crimes against humanity, and doesn't deserve the ancient Anglo-American concept of innocent until proven guilty. Pursuit and incarceration of illegal aliens is inherently wrong, and we'll change the law and persecute anyone who gets in the way to prove it.

So why pick on Arpaio? Two reasons. First, he is the most visible and outspoken law enforcement officer in the nation whose success rate in catching illegal immigrants is a slap in the face of the amnesty crowd. Second, he is a sheriff in a state which dared to defy the federal government over enforcement of immigration law. Holder already filed suit (successfully, at the early stages) against the state, so what the hell, let's go after the state's most successful cop.


Notawonk said...

gaaaa. you KNOW how i feel about my man joe. he's a freakin' american hero in this atmosphere of government intimidation. i need to get some shirts printed: TEAM JOE

USArtguy said...

I'll bet Arpaio doesn't "cross the street" when someone of color comes toward him as a certain political figure claimed about his white mother. Perhaps the Bamster should have a tequila summit with Holder, the New Black Panther Poll Intimidator and the sheriff. The sheriff would sip, Holder and the Intimidator would get plastered and then Apairo could arrest the both of them public intoxication, removing two clowns from the street at one meeting.

Hey, I can dream can't I?

Tennessee Jed said...

The Obama Administration has become the most transparent in U.S. History. Unfortunately, they are not transparent in the way they claimed they would be during the campaign. It's just they are so poor at lying convincingly. Every partisan witch hunt, indictment, or pork grant is so obviously politically motivated, it defies logic.

Unknown said...

Patti: I'm not big on the rah-rah front for public figures, but I definitely make an exception for Sheriff Joe. His determination to enforce the law in defiance of the lawless feds is a triumph of the American spirit. Doing the right thing without concern for the consequences is easier said than done. Arpaiao does it.

Unknown said...

USArtguy: Yes you can. And I like your dream a lot.

Unknown said...

Tennessee: They didn't realize that when they said transparent, it meant we could see through their lies and intimidation. The Obama administration is a product of the therapeutic society. "Don't tell us what you think, tell us what you feel." Well, I feel that I think they're a bunch of crypto-fascist crooks who reject the entire concept of American exceptionalism and the rule of law.

JB1000 said...

Sheriff Joe is not getting any younger I really hope he has a deputy ready willing and able to take up the standard when Joe retires

Unknown said...

JB: I'm with you on that. I've seen Arpaio on TV a few times, and just thought he was grizzled. Then I saw his age. I hope I'm in as good shape when I reach his age. He's one of a kind, and though he has some very loyal deputies, I'm not sure anyone could really replace him.

AndrewPrice said...

It really is beginning to amaze me how much Obama is using the Justice Department as a weapon to back up his political stances. This is the sort of situation that honestly will require a purge, followed by new legislation to de-politicize what had once been a very non-political agency.

wahsatchmo said...

As much as I usually agree with you, LawHawk, and as much as I admire Patti as a commenter, I have to disagree with you on your evaluation of Arpaio. After living with Arpaio as my county sheriff since 1992, I’ve come to realize that most conservatives have the wrong impression of the guy.

Holder’s investigation is being conducted incompetently, of course, and is definitely politically motivated, so I will certainly concede those points. I had emailed Hans von Sparovsky a while back about the investigation, and his sources in the Justice Department confirmed that the investigation was pure political theater. I would also concur that Joe’s actions don’t appear to be racially motivated, either, as much as I dislike the guy.

I suspect that this will actually backfire on Holder and have the effect of solidifying Arpaio’s reputation, rather than undoing it. I find this unfortunate, because Joe’s reputation as a stellar law enforcement officer is completely undeserved.

The most fair evaluation I’ve seen of Arpaio’s performance was done by the Goldwater Institute (here and here, which is obviously a conservative leaning think tank, not a Media Matters bastion of liberalism. In those reports, the authors conclude that the Sheriff’s office has done a substandard job of pursuing warrants and has a high incidence of closing cases without properly investigating them.

As far as immigration activities, his famous sweeps account for only a small percentage of illegals captured; most are identified after they are already admitted into the county jail system, where their immigration status is determined as a requirement of law.

Joe uses this latter statistic as proof of his success, except that it’s actually the efforts of local law enforcement that captured most of the illegals in the first place, who are then booked into one of Arpaio’s jails. After Arpaio’s jailers check their status with ICE, Arpaio takes the credit for the illegal alien arrest statistic.

So in reality, Arpaio’s immigration efforts are not yielding nearly the results he claims, yet the cost of the Sheriff’s office is skyrocketing (even excluding the cost of jails). Additionally, Maricopa County houses approximately one-sixth of the inmates of New York City, LA, Chicago, and Houston combined, yet had 40 times the number of prison-condition lawsuits filed against it (measurement period: 2004 - 2007). The county pays for legal awards and insurance premiums, not the Sheriff’s office, so there is a disconnect between those responsible and those who ultimately must pay. The county paid out over $40 million in claims and insurance premiums related to the Sheriff’s office from 2003 to 2007.

I’m not saying that the Maricopa County Supervisors are squeaky clean, either. There are a few who’ve certainly used their influence improperly and have misused county funds. But the fights between County Supervisors, Andrew Thomas (County Attorney), and Joe Arpaio boil down to who has the right to fleece Arizona taxpayers the most.

The response I usually get to all this is “At least Joe’s doing something!”

I agree. Joe is doing something: he’s conducting publicity stunts disguised as illegal immigration sweeps at great expense to the Arizona taxpayer to get himself re-elected, while simultaneously ignoring his primary responsibilities as Sheriff to pursue warrants, conduct investigations, and competently run the county jail system.

Unknown said...

Andrew: A political attack rather than one on the actual issues has become a daily routine for the administration.

Unknown said...

wahsatchmo: Thank you for the input. We're not here to squelch opinion from anyone, let alone our friends. This is valuable information, and given that Andrew and I have both dealt with the legal system most of our lives, we know that some of this had to by hype considering the division of duties between a sheriff and the local police. If Arpaio is neglecting his other duties in order to gain a rep for capturing illegals, that's a bad thing. Still, at the end of the day, he is a strong public face for the right to arrest, detain and deport illegals. Sad to hear that he may be cutting corners and/or grabbing publicity to do it.

And to quote Plunkett of Tammany Hall, "there's good graft and there's bad graft, and the good politician knows the difference."

I can't and won't dispute what you say about the local jails, since I have no specific knowledge, whereas you do. But I will say that even as a criminal defense attorney, nearly every lawsuit I saw for improper maintenance of the jails and the inmates was bogus, or damned close to it. The federal standards, which are the basis for most of these suits, make too many things "improper" as if these criminals should have a better environment than they ever had at home.

AndrewPrice said...

Lawhawk, I've honestly never seen an administration use the Justice Department as a publicity tool like this administration. Even Clinton was the first to politicize it, only went so far -- and that was to shift their focus to policies he liked. Obama is actively using the Justice Department as a weapon.

AndrewPrice said...

wastachmo, Thanks for the perspective on Joe. In all honesty, I've wondered about that sometimes. It sounds like a lot of what he's done has been for publicity rather than effective law enforcement.

I think that too often, conservatives fall for the idea of the loud anti-liberal hero or the "he's doing something" argument, when they should be asking "is he doing the right thing."

It's good to hear the perspective of someone who is actually there -- especially as I know that the information we tend to get nationally is rarely accurate of what is really going on locally.

Joel Farnham said...


Prison Conditions? Why are they being paid out? Why isn't the county fighting these tooth and nail?

The reason I LIKE Joe is because of his tent prison. His pink suits for inmates. His baloney for meals. His two channels on cable tv. Disney and the weather channel. These are the reasons why I like him.

BevfromNYC said...

Since the Mexican drug cartels have put a hit out on Sheriff Arpaio, you'd think that our DOJ would be trying to protect him ras he IS an duly elected American official and all.

Unknown said...

Andrew: Well, nobody's perfect, right? At least if Arpaio has the character defect of being a publicity hound, at least he's a practitioner of an art that his opponents have given all new meaning to.

After twenty plus years of criminal defense work, I can't get too exercised about the poor oppressed prisoners. I just hope Arpaio knows the difference between Spartan treatment and genuine abuse. The ACLU doesn't. They think being denied HBO is prisoner abuse.

Joel Farnham said...


Here is a stupid question. If Arpaio's department isn't doing it's job, then why does the administration waste it's time on this racism side show? This is such an easy slam dunk against Arpaio, if true.

The other thing, hasn't the increase in violent crime been linked with increased illegal immigration and his highly publicized round-ups are in fact a positive?

I think there is more to this. I don't think it is simply him not doing his job. I think that there is far more to this than meets even Goldwater Institute's eye.

Some of it could simply be internicene jealousies.

Unknown said...

Joel: I'm not sure if I'd go as far as Arpaio with the pink outfits, etc., but I still have to think that a major embarrassment is a long way from prisoner abuse. Again, the average person has no experience dealing either with criminals and prisoners, so they have nothing real to judge by. These guys would knife you in the back for a pack of cigarettes. The layman thinks of most of these prisoners as being like the bad boy teenager down the street who sometimes goes a little overboard with his pranks. Any sheriff who refuses to treat them like errant children is going to be accused of prisoner abuse. It's possible, but I'm not convinced that he has crossed the line.

Unknown said...

Joel: Doing the job, and doing the job within the rules are not necessarily the same thing. But when the ACLU shouts "prisoner abuse," my basic response is "why, weren't the jail duds made by Armani?"

As for why Holder would do what he's doing. Simplest answer, because he can. Arpaio stands for everything the left hates, so even if Arpaio is doing his job perfectly and by the book, and has the soul of Gandhi, he's going to be a target of the Obama administration.

The link between the influx of illegal immigrants, violence and the jail populations has been long proven. I can certainly tell you from personal knowledge how it has affected the jails in Los Angeles and San Francisco. How it relates to Arpaio's jail specifically is information I don't have readily available.

StanH said...

I like Sheriff Joe if for no other reason, he’s a good showman for conservatives, and he does it with zeal. Whether or not he’s a good sheriff, I wouldn’t know, I don’t live there, but he’s been elected with ease for quite some time now, so he must be doing something right?.

Unknown said...

Bev: Protect him? They're the ones funding the cartels to hit him. LOL

Unknown said...

Stan: Big personalities have big flaws. But in his case there's substance behind the personality, unlike a certain ex-Senator from Illinois, right?

wahsatchmo said...

Hey, thanks for responding back, guys, because I do appreciate your perspective. LawHawk, as far as the mere existence of lawsuits against the county, I agree that they don’t necessarily prove anything. I think this point is mentioned in one of those articles that I linked. But the sheer number filed against Maricopa (2,000+) compared to those filed against some of the most populous cities in the US combined (43 suits) seems indicative of something worthy of investigation.

It could be that most of those suits are from those incarcerated in Tent City, who almost have a default claim considering that during summer they are housed in 110 to 120 degree heat in tents with no real cooling system. But from my reading there are also those suits that allege a failure of the jails to provide medical treatment, which has resulted in some deaths.

As far as the payouts, they generally have been for wrongful death; the biggest payouts were for inmates who died while awaiting trial rather than those who were actually sentenced. The county does fight suits tooth and nail, it’s just that it has lost some pretty significant cases brought against the Sheriff’s office, and has significantly more to fight than most other far more populous areas.

I do appreciate that Arpaio has become the face of illegal immigration enforcement, but it pains me to see him trumpeted as such. For me, it’s like seeing Obama praised for winning the Iraq War, or Al Sharpton as a champion of race relations.

I don’t think you’re wrong to like those things you mentioned about Arpaio’s jails; he emphasizes those features for publicity’s sake. He also uses pink handcuffs, pink sandals, and pink socks to match the pink boxers. I don’t think any suits would succeed for humiliation from poor color choices. Tent City, on the surface, sounds like it would be an innovative way to solve the overcrowding problem.

The suits that are paid out usually relate to the failure to provide medical attention in relation to existing conditions at the jails. Inmates have died in Tent City from heat stroke (there isn’t any cooling system in the tents other than a couple fans which blow the dust around), and from exposure (no heaters in winter - some inmates used them to set fire to a tent one year so they were removed). Water is in inadequate supply during the summer, as inmates will line up for an hour or more in the direct sun to get some when additional water is delivered, which is usually only once per day. Gangs conduct their drug, cigarette, and weapon trade by throwing packages over the fences when the guards aren’t looking. Gang violence is pervasive as there are an inadequate number of guards, many of whom are poorly trained.

Both the tents and the permanent jails (Madison, Towers, Lower Buckeye, Durango, etc.) suffer from inadequate cooling during summer, sanitary problems (sewage backing up into cells, for example), as well as insect and rodent infestations. Arpaio’s policy is to refuse medical treatment for insect bites, even though bites from the black widow spider and the brown recluse are common. Gang violence is also common in the permanent jails, but it tends to be more structured (and deadlier) than in the tents.

Again, most of the successful suits relate to sickness, permanent injury or death in relation to these conditions.

I agree that jail should be punishment, but Arpaio’s jails house both the pre-trial and the sentenced inmates together (Tent City is the exception - only sentenced inmates are housed there). Inmates have been held up to three years in Arpaio’s jails before ever going to trial. Should the pre-trial inmates also be subject to this level of treatment even before their guilt is determined?

Unknown said...

wahsatchmo: If there's a direct causal link between Arpaio and wrongful deaths, then he deserves prosecution. It just doesn't seem that it has anything to do with what Holder is up to. Holder seems to be much more concerned with protecting illegals from deportation than from cruel or unusual detention.

The sheriffs in San Francisco and Los Angeles are petty politicians, and they don't get sued as often as they might because they make life very pleasant for their prisoners. Neither of them believes in punishment but constantly babble about redemption and rehabilitation (which works about 10% of the time). Both are part of the pro-amnesty, city council claque, including the city attorneys and the district attorneys. The ACLU and professional civil rights activists already have what they want there. I suspect it ticks them off that they don't have that kind of control in Maricopa County, Arizona.

None of this is to suggest that the smoke coming from Arapaio's opponents doesn't have some fire behind it. I'm just innately suspicious of politicians who go after law enforcement bosses with high visibility. Darryl Gates, the former police chief in Los Angeles got a reputation as a civil rights violator and a lawless lawman. The simple fact is, his biggest problem was he wouldn't kowtow to the civil rights establishment or the political establishment. They got rid of him, and the city hasn't been safe since. Of course they used a corruption scandal in Rampart Division as the excuse.

wahsatchmo said...

LawHawk: I absolutely agree with you on your points about Holder. His investigation of Arpaio is specifically based on allegations of racism, not based on anything that could possibly be relevant to the wrongful death issues. This speaks more to Holder’s incompetence as an Attorney General than it reflects upon Arpaio. And, as I stated before, this will serve to potentially improve Arpaio’s reputation rather than sully it. Hans von Spakovsky’s sources basically confirmed that Holder’s investigation isn’t looking into any issues regarding wrongful deaths, misallocation of resources, or professional incompetence; it’s limited to supposed racism and misuses of his office to investigate political opponents.

Arpaio may be many things, but he's done nothing to make me believe he’s a racist. There may be instances where he’s used his office to investigate political opponents, but 1) it is going to be very hard to prove malicious intent and 2) it will more likely reflect upon County Attorney Andrew Thomas in the end. Thus, I think Holder is doing an incredible disservice in his investigation of Arpaio, because his haphazard and frankly incompetent approach will likely exonerate Arpaio in the end, making him unbeatable in any election for as long as he chooses to run for Sheriff.

Unknown said...

wahsatchmo: I agree. I also look at Arpaio, and perhaps might be more lenient about questionable treatment of prisoners simply because of the overwhelming problem and the big-time hostility to any attempts to enforce the law and protect America's borders. It doesn't make crossing the line acceptable, but it certainly goes a long way toward making it understandable. In better times, with assistance from the federal government and coordinating agencies, I would probably be looking more closely into Arapaio's activities. All decent people are looking for someone, somewhere to cut the liberal crap and start punishing criminals along with "rehabilitating" them. Arpaio fills a need many of us have, and probably gets away with things we wouldn't ordinarily sanction.

I draw the line at clear violations of constitutional and human rights, but I rarely accept the definition of those terms that have come from leftist federal courts which routinely ignore the constitution or rewrite it. They tend to be unable to distinguish between a society dinner party and a prison.

Unknown said...

wahsatchmo: I neglected to answer your direct question. Pretrial detainees who do not have a record of prior arrests and/or convictions for violent crimes should definitely not be housed with the careerists, violent felons, and convicted criminals. Ditto for juveniles. That violates both the Constitution and plain humanity. We still maintain the presumption of innocence, and more importantly, the punishment portion of incarceration is supposed to occur only after conviction. Detention and imprisonment are two concepts which should be kept entirely separate to the extent humanly possible.

Joel Farnham said...


A few years back, I met a guy four days out of prison. He was healthy, buffed out and pretty much normal except for the tatoos and the attitude. I saw him two years later. He had stayed out but not away from drugs. He was a pitiful specimen of humanity.

I suspect that could be said for a lot of people going to prison. Unhealthy, barely able to move, close to death? I am not excusing the deaths, but a good portion of the career criminals aren't that healthy. 110 degree weather which would debilitate a healthy man, might kill an unhealthy man.

Medical care for prisoners is not and should not be state of the art. For instance, do you think violent career criminals in prison should be treated for cancer? I personally don't. I do think they should be treated for STD's though, to stop any spreading.

Unknown said...

Joel: I understand your frustration, and I don't think anyone is ever going to accuse me of being a bleeding-heart. But I do have to disagree with you somewhat on treatment of prisoners. I too have heard (in fact I've observed) royal medical treatment for prisoners, and it disgusted me. But there comes a point where I do have to have some of the milk of human kindness. I would afford any prisoner the medical care that I would find appropriate for the helpless indigent with no medical insurance. How much cancer treatment I would support is something I'd have to wrestle with. I'm much more concerned with paying for sex-change operations for career felons than I am about treating a fellow human being for a deadly disease, no matter how wretched that human being may be.

Joel Farnham said...


We can go around and around on this one about proper treatment of 'violent' career criminals. Maybe I have been subjected to actions too many times and witnessed too many victims from these specimens of humanoid form to be adequately objective.

I am glad I am not a guard. :-)

Unknown said...

Joel: "I am glad I am not a guard. :-)." That's a feeling I think we all can share. I've had a few unpleasant experiences, including a mugging, and as a lawyer I've seen the genuine underbelly of society. It's why we have the rule of law rather than the law of vendetta. We have to be able to stand back from the situation as it affects us personally.

But your sentiment is right on the money. My younger daughter's husband is a former LA County Sheriff, and currently a corrections officer at a California midi-max prison. He has to control his temper daily in a way I don't think I could. I've said more than once that I couldn't be a police officer. Don't give me a gun and a badge and then tell me not to use them when confronted by the dregs of society. It's one of the reasons I admire good cops so much.

Individualist said...


I remember hearing a state attorney here inFlorida speak to our club some 15 years back. He stated that the state of Florida has a rollback of sentences. I for get what they called it but essentially if you were in prison on such and such a day you got somting like 12 months taken off your sentence.

The reason was that a lawsuit protesting "prison" conditions was successful that increased the amount of floor space a prisoner had to have. Since the current prisons did not meet these requirements per person this was their method of reducing the population to manageable levels.

Quite frankly if Arpaio has done anything wrong then the state of Arizona has mechanisms in place to handle that and Holder should allow that process to take place and only step in if that was not sufficient. Holder's politicizing of this will only serve to delegitimize any finding he may have as political Jacobinism.

That is what is so thouroughly wrong with what they are doing. They are acting like Jacobins in the Terror making lists of individuals for their Public Relations Guillotines. This will only serve to bring about the kind of choas France incurred in the 1790's.

Andrew as to your surprise I heard on the Wilcow majority toda that Tom Delay was cleared of all counts of the indictment just as Kay Bailey Hutchinson was when she was accused by the same democrat attorney general in Texas. Both of these Texas Senators and now Arapio seem to be guilty of the same things GWC.

Governing While Conservative.

That is a terrible fcrime that holdr is determined to wip out.

Unknown said...

Individualist: I don't know if Florida had its own set of lawsuits, but that would be about the time that the federal courts (once again intervening in state matters on extremely tenuous grounds) decided on rigid rules for prisoner comfort. Not safety, not protection, but comfort. Every state has suffered from this federal intrusion which established rigid and arbitrary rules for pretty much everything. It instantly produced an over-crowding situation in almost every state (and federal) prison, requiring early release for some of the nation's most violent felons. I keep waiting for the next ruling which requires that they be given their choice of Sealy PosturePedic or Sleep Number beds.

God forbid any prisoner should be rendered uncomfortable in his cozy cottage.

The crime of "governing while conservative" will soon be made a capital offense (probably the only one left at the current rate).

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