Maricopa County (Phoenix) Sheriff and longtime Overlawyered mentionee Joe Arpaio did not keep close track of the military-grade gear the Pentagon gave him — in fact, his office seems to have lost some of it — and now the feds are lowering the boom: “Because of the agency’s continued failure to locate nine missing weapons issued by the Pentagon’s 1033 program, the Sheriff’s Office was terminated from the military-surplus program, effective immediately. The agency is required to return its cache of issued firearms, helicopters and other gear within 120 days.” Arizona Republic reporter Megan Cassidy quotes me regarding the interesting timing of the announcement, following closely after events in Ferguson, Mo. helped stir a nationwide furor over the 1033 program. It’s not specified (h/t Lauren Galik) whether they’ll have to give back the hot dog machine and $3,500 popcorn machine.
Longtime Maricopa County, Arizona sheriff Joe Arpaio talks quite a game as a populist defender of the ordinary citizen. His actual record, however, has been one of grave abuse of power. One of the worst incidents has now come home to roost: The Maricopa County Board of Supervisors has unanimously approved a $3.75 million settlement over an incident in which Arpaio’s deputies arrested two critical journalists at their homes in the middle of the night. [Phoenix New Times]
Taxpayers of the Arizona county are shelling out millions in settlements to compensate victims of the systematic abuses committed by Sheriff Joe Arpaio and D.A. Andrew Thomas. The latest settlement, $1.4 million, was to a developer whose office was ransacked as part of a series of raids conducted against Arpaio’s and Thomas’s political enemies, purportedly in search of evidence of political corruption. “Thomas was disbarred for his actions last year, but Arpaio was re-elected to a sixth term as sheriff in November.” When organized lawyers display higher ethical standards than an electorate, I’m not sure it reflects well on the electorate. [Aaron Kase, Lawyers.com, Phoenix New Times; earlier on Arpaio and on Thomas]
- Reason subpoena: “There’s no case here, and the Justice Department knows it.” [Kevin O’Brien, Cleveland Plain Dealer, Mike Godwin/R Street Institute, earlier]
- “Judge: Arresting Man For Criticizing Alton Selectmen Was ‘Pure Censorship'” [New Hampshire Public Radio]
- Billboard images of women “smiling for no reason” are now disallowed on grounds of sexism in Berlin’s Kreuzberg-Friedrichshain district; also, “Adult women — featured alone or not — must not be shown ‘occupied in the household with pleasure.'” [Anthony Faiola, Washington Post]
- Free speech, trademark law intersect in NAACP suit over critical parody [Paul Alan Levy]
- Without leeway for anonymous campaign speech, it’ll be hard to oust the retaliation-happy likes of Joe Arpaio [Robert Robb, Arizona Republic via Coyote]
- Legal blogger in court: “Partial Victory In Patterico’s Free Speech Case Before Ninth Circuit” [Ken at Popehat]
- European court: website liable for reader comments [ArsTechnica UK, Stanford CIS, Article 19, Delfi AS v. Estonia]
- Investigate the federal judge’s wife? Pretty much the sort of stunt you’d expect from Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio [Arizona Republic, Phoenix New Times, ABA Journal, Coyote, our coverage of Arpaio over the years]
- “State ‘Competitor Veto’ Laws and the Right to Earn a Living” [Tim Sandefur, Mercatus]
- Mississippi lawyer Dickie Scruggs gives first post-prison interview [Jackson Clarion-Ledger]
- New book by Judge and former Senator James Buckley makes case for eliminating federal grants to states [George Leef, Jonathan Adler; podcast interview, Liberty and Law]
- Neo-prohibitionists having conniptions over prospect of beer/Ben-&-Jerry’s combo [Baylen Linnekin]
- Priceless comment thread on value-of-law-school debate with Orin Kerr trying to talk patient off ledge [PrawfsBlawg]
- Big D.C. plaintiff’s injury firm can’t collect on insurance after not disclosing potential claim [Judy Greenwald, Business Insurance]
- Italian appellate court overturns conviction of seismologists on manslaughter charges following 2009 L’Aquila earthquake [Lowering the Bar, earlier]
- “The most ominous outcome in last week’s election: A band of big-bucks civil attorneys almost picked off an Illinois Supreme Court justice because they believe he’s a threat to their big paydays.” [Chicago Tribune on Karmeier retention] More: lawyers aren’t through with him yet [Madison County Record]
- They were expecting any different? “Landlords Say de Blasio Ignores Their Plight” [New York Times]
- “Liberties,” they said: New York Civil Liberties Union represented complainants who got couple fined $13,000 for not renting farm for a same-sex wedding [Ann Althouse]
- Michael Greve on citizen suits, deadline-forcing consent decrees, and “sue and settle” [Liberty and Law] Why Germany rejects the citizen-suit device [same]
- Harry Reid planning to push through large number of nominees in lame duck session, few more controversial than Sharon Block at NLRB [On Labor] (7 a.m. Thursday update: White House withdraws Block)
- Maricopa County, Ariz. sheriff and perennial Overlawyered favorite Joe Arpaio sues building owners after sidewalk trip/fall “as he headed to a restaurant to get a bowl of soup” [AP/Yuma Sun]
Three columns to read on the subject: Gene Healy, Glenn Reynolds (linking this site), and Nat Hentoff (like Healy, a Cato colleague) in his syndicated column (thanks for mention). I had a letter to the editor yesterday in the Frederick News-Post drawing connections with local lawmakers (as well as a blog post at Free State Notes with similar themes) and the Arizona Republic quoted me Tuesday on the federal subsidy programs that drive militarization, including transfers to the ever-controversial Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office of Joe Arpaio. Earlier here, here, here, here, here, etc.
P.S. Also quoted on NPR.
Never mind what rightish pundits have to say about the Perry indictment. Leftish pundits like Jonathan Chait are tearing it to shreds all by themselves. It reminds me of when prosecutor Andrew Thomas, sidekick of Sheriff Joe Arpaio in Phoenix, pressed charges against some of Arpaio’s political rivals over actions within their official authority, an episode that ended with Thomas’s disbarment. Chait:
They say a prosecutor could get a grand jury to indict a ham sandwich, and this always seemed like hyperbole, until Friday night a Texas grand jury announced an indictment of governor Rick Perry. The “crime” for which Perry faces a sentence of 5 to 99 years in prison is vetoing funding for a state agency. …
The theory behind the indictment is flexible enough that almost any kind of political conflict could be defined as a “misuse” of power or “coercion” of one’s opponents. To describe the indictment as “frivolous” gives it far more credence than it deserves.
When you’ve lost not just David Axelrod and Matt Yglesias but even Jonathan Chait and Scott Lemieux for a legal complaint against a conservative, you’re not just aboard a sinking ship, it’s more like you’re grasping a piece of random driftwood.
P.S. John Steele Gordon, Commentary: “the blow back from left, right, and center is so intense that Perry may well be the first public official to actually gain political clout from being indicted.” (& welcome Jacob Gershman/WSJ Law Blog readers)
After 17 months the federal government has released heavily redacted information in response to a FOIA request, shedding new light on the probe into the systematic abuses committed by Sheriff Joseph Arpaio and allied county D.A. Andrew Thomas. We’ve been covering them for years. [Arizona Republic, auto-plays]
- Domestic law enforcement use of drones should require a warrant [Richmond Times-Dispatch editorial] “Are license readers an invasion of privacy? ACLU asks police agencies to elaborate on use of readers, data collection” [Baltimore Sun]
- “Sheriff Joe Arpaio is hands down my favorite Sacha Baron Cohen character” [Matt Oswalt, background]
- “Protester accused of bank robbery for holding ‘You’re Being Robbed’ sign” [CBS Philadelphia]
- “How a Single Oxycontin Pill Nearly Ruined One Man’s Life” [Mike Riggs, Reason] Good Samaritan shields could help in overdose emergencies [Reason] Milton Friedman on the Drug War [Tim Lynch]
- After Washington Post exposed widespread unreliability in forensics, DoJ, FBI to investigate thousands of cases [WaPo]
- Lynne Stewart 10-year rap upheld: “stark inability to understand the seriousness of her crimes” [Reuters, earlier]
- “Illinois Supreme Court Upholds Eight-Year Sentence for Taking Pictures of Legal Sex” [Reason] One family’s nightmare with the sex offender registry [Mary DeVoy, Virginian-Pilot via Lenore Skenazy]