Arpaio Admits to Investigating Judge’s Wife

Wow. I am so enjoying Joe Arpaio squirm during the contempt hearing going on in Federal court in Arizona. To say that it isn’t going well for him is a major understatement. On Thursday, he had to admit on the witness stand that he had hired a private investigator to go after the judge’s wife.

News that Arpaio, an elected official who was once the subject of an FBI investigation that he abused his law-enforcement power, decided to have someone investigate a federal judge who is overseeing efforts to reform the Sheriff’s Office was met with gasps and murmurs in the downtown Phoenix courtroom.

Arpaio made the confession to Snow himself, after the judge questioned him about allegations made in a New Times article in June.

Snow took center stage after plaintiffs’ and defense attorneys finished their examinations with Arpaio on civil-contempt of court allegations.

After a few questions on the contempt and immigration matters, Snow shifted his focus to some of Arpaio’s more unorthodox operations.

Arpaio carefully skirted Snow’s line questioning at the beginning, and only under intense scrutiny provided detail of the covert mission.

Judge Snow has already very public expressed his exasperation with Arpaio and that sure as hell isn’t going to help. On all the other allegations, Arpaio is claiming that he had nothing to do with it, it was all the fault of his deputies, two of whom have now turned on him and are testifying against him.

Earlier in the day, plaintiffs’ attorney Stanley Young primarily focused on just one of these allegations Thursday morning, attempting to demonstrate that Arpaio knew of Snow’s order, and flouted it anyway.

Young used press releases, interviews and previous depositions to establish a foundation that the lure of political popularity and campaign funds drove Arpaio to continue the now-illegal practice…

Like Wedensday’s testimony, Arpaio attempted to distance himself from the unlawful practices of his office. When shown a deposition of one of his human-smuggling supervisors, in which the lieutenant said Arpaio had ordered him to take undocumented immigrants to Border Patrol, Arpaio objected.

“I don’t give orders, I may give suggestions,” he said. “I’m not in the military. I may have suggested border patrol, but my deputies made the decisions, based on the circumstances.”

Arpaio finished his direct examination with Stanley Young repeatedly denying that his law-enforcement practices were rooted in campaign donations.

Young reminded Arpaio that the sheriff had offered $100,000 to help settle the contempt of court allegations.

“That’s not as much as the $8 million in campaign contributions,” Young said.

They really need to put this on pay-per-view. I have a feeling Judge Snow is going to throw the book at Arpaio. Put him in his own tent city jail, in the pink underwear he makes inmates wear because he thinks it’s so funny, and make him eat the rotten food he feeds them.

"Yep. Principally raking in a nice fat paycheck for hauling the party line."

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  • John Pieret

    he had hired a private investigator to go after the judge’s wife

    In a way, this may help Arpaio. If the judge really piles on him, it may look like he is seeking revenge for what Arpaio tried to do to his wife. Arpaio is, as with his deputies, trying to say that he had nothing to do with hiring the private detective but that it all was done by his lawyer, which may be why one of his lawyers has moved to withdraw from representing the shithead.

  • John Pieret

    BTW, I have the beer, anyone want to bring the popcorn?

  • StevoR

    @ ^ John Pieret : Doesn’t that mean the Judge will have to disqualify himself as having a personal interest / bias and stand aside leaving the case to another Justice?

    (wonder if the Teablaggards will want a tough on crime one for this case?)

  • grumpyoldfart

    If the judge and his wife are involved to the extent described, Arpaio will have no trouble getting a conviction overturned.

  • StevoR

    Grounds for a mistrial surely if the case keeps going under the same judge?

  • http://artk.typepad.com ArtK

    I would have had a great deal of trouble, as the judge, in not face-palming at the “It wasn’t my faul.” That and the “I don’t give orders, I just give suggestions.” Sheriff Joe really assumes that everyone else is as dumb or dumber than he is. Those don’t come anywhere close to plausible deniability.

  • John Pieret

    Grounds for a mistrial surely if the case keeps going under the same judge?

    Not necessarily. “Contempt of court” always has a certain “personal” connection … after all, it involves someone disrespecting the court by defying the judge’s orders. Judges have pretty wide discretion in enforcing their orders. As long as he doesn’t go overboard or go on a tirade, he can pretty much pick how he goes about it.

  • dingojack

    Uh — aren’t seeking to influence and/or intimidate a Federal employee in the course of their duties, and seeking to pervert the course of justice, serious Federal offenses?

    A word in your shell-like Joe – remember the first rule of holes.

    Dingo

  • John Pieret

    Incidentally, there are Federal sentencing guidelines for contempt of court. As long as he sticks to them, there will be little grounds for appeal, given the piles of evidence that Arpaio deliberately defied the judge’s order.

  • http://kamakanui.zenfolio.com Kamaka

    John Pieret @ 2

    This drama begs for better fare than popcorn. This is shadenfreude at its finest.

    Fancy crackers, smoked cheese, a bit of caviar, steak tartare, ahi….and a nice bottle of smoked porter.

  • dingojack

    I’d suggest, in light of the defendant’s personality, well-smoked ham.

    😉 Dingo

  • StevoR

    @ John Pieret : Okay – thanks for that.

  • http://timgueguen.blogspot.com timgueguen

    Does no one in Maricopa Count read or watch the news? Apparently not, since they keep electing Arpaio.

  • http://en.uncyclopedia.co/wiki/User:Modusoperandi Modusoperandi

    To be fair, Arpaio thought the judge’s wife looked Mexican.

  • sugarfrosted

    @13 Or they’re terrified of the prospect of what Arpaio’s department would do in reprisal if he wasn’t reelected.

  • John Pieret

    Kamaka:

    Don’t forget the fava beans and a nice Chianti.

  • http://www.ranum.com Marcus Ranum

    John Pieret@#2 anyone want to bring the popcorn?

    I make 2 varieties:

    garlic infused olive oil/butter with sea salt

    sriracha salt/butter

    Which would go better with your beer?

  • John Pieret

    That garlic infused olive oil/butter with sea salt popcorn sounds so good, I’ll buy whatever beer you think goes best with it.

  • http://www.pandasthumb.org Area Man

    Young reminded Arpaio that the sheriff had offered $100,000 to help settle the contempt of court allegations.

    Please tell me this is what it sounds like. Did he get caught offering a bribe?

  • http://onhandcomments.blogspot.com/ left0ver1under

    I have no doubt Arpaio is stupid enough to ask for a mistrial or for Snow to recuse himself. Arpaio wants to go after a new judge’s wife. Hey, he hasn’t been caught doing that yet, so….

    Given Arpaio’s behaviour towards one judge, it’s not hard to believe he’d do it again. Snow has no conflict of interest or personal bias since all judges and their families would be equally at risk.

  • http://kamakanui.zenfolio.com Kamaka

    @ Marcus Ranum

    Add a few drops of toyomansi.

  • robnyny

    The fact that Arpaio hired an investigator to investigate the judge’s wife is probably not grounds for recusal of the judge — otherwise any party to a court action could force the recusal of a judge by hiring a detective.

  • dingojack

    Kamaka – what, not six drops of sinister sauce?

    :) Dingo

  • Phillip Hallam-Baker

    Federal contempt is pretty broad and the standard for appeal is exceptionally narrow. In this case the contempt is barely disputed. There is absolutely no risk of an appeal on the civil contempt succeeding.

    At this point, Arapio is only being tried for civil contempt but the judge can and likely will make a referral for a criminal trial in addition.

    Judges can and do remove elected officials from office for contempt. Particularly when it is a federal judge and a minor local official. In this case the pattern of lawbreaking and contempt is clear and the only thing that will stop Arapio is a jail term and disbarment.

    No, racists do not have the right to elect a racist official to practice Klu Klux Klan justice.

  • Phillip Hallam-Baker

    I don’t think that Arapio has moved for the judge to recuse so the issue does not arise and cannot arise at appeal.

  • http://twitter.com/#!/TabbyLavalamp Tabby Lavalamp

    Arpaio finished his direct examination with Stanley Young repeatedly denying that his law-enforcement practices were rooted in campaign donations.

    Young reminded Arpaio that the sheriff had offered $100,000 to help settle the contempt of court allegations.

    “That’s not as much as the $8 million in campaign contributions,” Young said.

    Elected sheriffs, elected judges, and elected district attorneys are all so antithetical to actual justice that it would be laughable if so many lives weren’t destroyed in the desire for more votes.