Joe Arpaio is America’s toughest sheriff, and he has been called out by Arizona’s government for ignoring a 2011 order which required his signature to ban immigration patrols, and hired a private investigator after federal Judge G. Murray Snow’s wife. Arpaio broke the law.
Arpaio has acknowledged his law breaking actions and apologized in the Phoenix courts on the second day of the hearing. He stated how heartbreaking it was to hold 55 years in his position, and have to be punished for failing to carry out court orders. Sgt. Brett Palmer, one of the counties deputy, argued a tense trade took place about the sheriff and court order, stating the sheriff’s office was managed to ensure collection of positive actions were always and only released to the public to keep Arpaio safe from the media.
Palmer has also declared he has drawn up training material to help officers agree with the 2011 orders, but nothing was done to push the training. He also stated Arpaio was upset when the immigrants he detained were not accepted by the federal immigration authorities. Since there was not a state violation against the immigrants the sheriff had to let them go. When Palmer was going to take the immigrants case to another federal immigrant authority Arpaio refused to release them.
The sheriff argued that his orders were left to his subordinates, but he failed at double checking if the orders were being done correctly and completely. It was then Arpaio announced his office was conducting a private investigation on Judge Snow’s wife, due to some comments she made about her husband Snow, not wanting the sheriff to win his re-election back in 2012. Again, Arpaio broke the law.
Since the four-day, contempt-of-court hearing took place due to the sheriff ignoring the 2011 order to stop racial profiling, his investigative proclamation took a turn to the case and extended the hearing to continue in June. In the sheriff’s defense investigating Snow’s wife helped him confirm his need to find out the truth about the judge. After the sheriff explained his reasoning the judge then asked about other accusations of Arpaio hiring investigators to spy on public officials. Which includes a claim stating the sheriff’s office used county funds, to investigate the U.S. Department of Justice, to fight back the Department of Justice lawsuit of racial profiling.
The sheriff admitted to breaking the law and hiring the private investigator, but he did it because he found out the feds were invading his computers. He also stated the feds were poisoning his bodily fluids. Once he argued his reasoning in hiring the investigators, he defended his accusations by stating the information was not accurate enough. All of his accusations that he is formulating with his office to fight against officials, are surfacing and getting him into a lot of trouble. Although the cases have been pushed back to June. The charges of the contempt-of-court hearing, sending private investigators to spy on public officials, and a testimonial from Palmer, of Arpaio telling him to ignore Snow’s order, have added many penalties to his case.
In final conclusion of the four-day hearing, Snow warned that the sheriff may have to pay fines out of his own pockets, if he is found to be in civil contempt. The sheriff has owned up to his wrong doings, but it has not helped him get dismissed from any of the charges. Although Arpaio knows what he was doing was wrong, he has no evidence to prove that it was all for a great cause, since he was determined to continue to run immigration patrols amongst those that were not citizens. None of his reasons helped explain why he retained immigrants, because any arguments he had in detaining them were because they acted suspiciously.
Arpaio broke the law in more than one way as a sheriff. Although his case has been pushed back to June it is possible that he will pay a fine out of his own pocket, and be criminally charged.
By Krystle Mitchell
Sioux City Journal
Photo By Gage Skidmore – Creativecommons Flickr License