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]
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]
- 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]
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.
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)
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]
- Small favors dept.: police chiefs group supports use of drones, but concedes they probably shouldn’t be armed [USA Today; more on drones, Michael Kirkland, UPI, Paul Enzinna, PoL]. Earlier here, here, and here.
- Gibson Guitar settlement with feds controls what it can say about the case. Dangers in that, no? [Harvey Silverglate, earlier here, here, etc.]
- “Mission Creep Leads TSA to Racially Profile in Pursuit of Non-Terrorists to Arrest” [Virginia Postrel]
- Guestblogging at The Agitator, William Peterson outlines doubts about prosecutions that include the pursuit of Victoria Sprouse on mortgage-fraud charges in North Carolina, abuse accusations relating to the Creative Frontiers school near Sacramento, and the conviction of Courtney Bisbee at the hands of Maricopa County D.A. (and Overlawyered favorite) Andrew Thomas in Arizona;
- Canada: “Pay your dog license on time or we’ll arrest your wife!” [Sherwood Park News via @derekjamesfrom]
- “Overcriminalization, the comic” [Ted at PoL; plus videos from NACDL]
- “Police enlist young offenders as confidential informants. But the work is high-risk, largely unregulated, and sometimes fatal.” [Sarah Stillman, New Yorker]
Former Maricopa County, Arizona state’s attorney and frequent Overlawyered mentionee Andrew Thomas now faces disbarment for misdeeds that include launching unfounded prosecutions of local officials who had criticized him [Terry Carter, ABA Journal] The latest ABA Journal headline is an instant classic: “Defiant After Disbarment Ruling, Ex-Maricopa Attorney Andrew Thomas Compares Himself to Gandhi”
- Free-Range Kids highlight roundup: Tenn. mom faces child neglect charges if she lets her 5th grader ride bike to school (more); “An Alert for an 11-y.o. Missing for 2 Hours?“; “As recently as 1979, a first-grader could…”
- Political crusades against chain stores are nothing new [Perry]
- “Are You a Surgeon? Sorry, You’re Going to Face a Malpractice Claim By Age 65″ [WSJ Health Blog] Was patient an “obvious” stroke victim? [Duluth N-T via WhiteCoat] Malpractice risks with special needs patients [KevinMD]
- Ethics trial begins for former Maricopa County attorney and Overlawyered favorite Andrew Thomas [ABA Journal]
- Has defense lawyer in Connecticut home invasion case gone too far? [NYT]
- “Reason.tv: Regulation and the Entrepreneur”
- “A Decade After 9/11, Police Departments Are Increasingly Militarized” [Balko, Hinkle, more]