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Conflict! Arpaio vs Klayman

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What a pretty kettle of fish this is.

Larry Klayman appeared briefly before Judge G. Murray Snow in the Melendres case on July 20 to argue that certain material supplied by  Dennis Montgomery to Sheriff Arpaio should not be shown to the Department of Justice. Klayman has applied for admission pro hac vice to represent Montgomery’s interests in the case, although he is not a party to the litigation.

Speaking to the Court, Klayman said that he did not have a conflict with Sheriff Arpaio but in an Email from Arpaio to Klayman (the email was handled by Amy Lake since Sheriff  Joe himself doesn’t do email) Arpaio does, saying (in a document disclosed today):

Your e-mail indicates that you represent Mike Zullo and Denis Montgomery. That would, and does, create a conflict here in Arizona.

Klayman represents Arpaio in a lawsuit against Barack Obama, a frivolous matter IMO, but Arpaio wants noting to do with him in the Melendres case. Further interest is generated by the mention of Mike Zullo who in prior emails expressed displeasure with the work product produced by Montgomery (as did the Sheriff’s Office).

Arpaio paid Montgomery at least $120,000 for “junk” and Zullo paid him $10,000 or more for software that didn’t work, but  Klayman wants to participate in a case representing Montgomery (and I guess Zullo) where Arpaio is a party, and where Klayman might well be a witness!

This is all hopelessly tangled in conflicts of interest, and I cannot see any way that Judge Snow is going to let Klayman anywhere near the Melendres case.

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Redaction

Every nut-case Obama conspiracy theorist on the planet probably knows Barack Obama’s social-security number. It leaked out through a redaction error when Obama’s income tax filing was published. Remove the little black overlay, and voila, the number in all of its glory. The number was then publicized by Orly Taitz who included it in a court filing, marked out poorly (You can read about that in the article: “Somebody buy Orly a new black marker, please!”) at obots.org.

Millions of court documents are filed every year, and the federal PACER system makes many of them available to the public. Court rules require redaction of certain information such as social-security numbers and dates of birth, but that doesn’t mean it always happens. Sometimes it’s not redacted at all, and sometimes unredacted through a technical error. I found an unredacted social-security number in a court document once and I notified the clerk of court by email of the violation. The reply I got back was that it wasn’t the court’s problem, that I should contact a party in the case.

It turns out that there are literally thousands of examples of such unredacted private information in the federal court system and this is the subject of an article and study by Timothy B. Lee at the Freedom to Tinker blog: “Studying the Frequency of Redaction Failures in PACER.”

Over the years, I have seen several articles published for the legal community on redaction. (A pet peeve of mine is that one has to buy the Professional edition of Adobe Acrobat to get its redaction feature.) The NSA has tackled the issue in 3 papers included in the reading list that follows.

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County settles other Arpaio lawsuit–mostly

The Department of Justice’s civil rights lawsuit against Sheriff Joe Arpaio, alleging a pattern of behavior including retaliation against the Sheriff’s political enemies, was settled on most counts by Maricopa County this past July 16. A bench trial had been scheduled in United States of America v. Maricopa County of et al (2:2012-cv-00981) to begin in August and to last 15 days. (Joe Arpaio is part of the et al).

Basically, the settlement agreement states that Defendants will put policies and procedures in place so that these abuses won’t happen again and promises to stop doing bad things. Some of the issues had been addressed previously by changes in the Sheriff’s Department, the Melendres lawsuit, and prior lawsuits involving the retaliation issue.

Some have expressed concern over the settlement because it does not bring the retaliation issue to trial. The private lawsuits over this matter were settled and the County paid out millions (about 12 and half); however, there was no admission of guilt and no trier of fact has determined that Sheriff Joe actually used his law enforcement position to retaliate against political opponents.

The original May 2012 complaint contained 6 specific claims for relief:

  1. Defendants’ law enforcement policies and practices violate 42 U.S.C. §14141 and the Fourteenth Amendment
  2. Defendants’ searches, arrests, and detentions violate 42 U.S.C. 14141 and the Fourth Amendment
  3. Defendants’ treatment of Latinos violates Title VI
  4. Defendants’ treatment of Latino LEP (limited English proficient) prisoners violates Title VI
  5. Defendants’ treatment of Latinos violates the Title VI assurances
  6. Defendants’ retaliation against their critics violates 42 U.S.C. § 14141 and the First Amendment

The settlement agreement resolves items 2 and 6, and references a separate agreement on item 4. Judge Silver has ordered parties to provide clarification of the nature of their settlement agreement, whether it is indeed a settlement agreement or a consent decree or consent judgment.

In a subsequent brief (ECF 401), Maricopa County states: “In its Motion for Stay, Plaintiff represents that, if permitted to intervene in the Melendres case, it will pursue no additional remedies in this case.” So there is a motion to stay the proceedings before Judge Silver in the DOJ case until such time as Judge Snow rules on the motion to intervene by the DOJ. Joe Arpaio agrees (ECF 402) to the stay.

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Federal marshals seize evidence from Arpaio’s office

I suppose most of my readers have already heard about this. Judge Snow called an emergency session of court Friday after learning that some 50 hard drives of material related to Dennis Montgomery and the “Seattle Operation” still hadn’t been turned over to the Court Monitor. Further some 1,500 IDs (presumably drivers licenses, etc. confiscated by the office during traffic stops) were slated for destruction before Judge Snow ordered them turned over to the Monitor. These identify potential plaintiffs in the Melendres v. Arpaio class action lawsuit.

Six federal marshals went to the Sheriff’s Office and took possession of the material.

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Lafayette theater shooter commented at “bad” web site

John Russell (“Rusty”) Houser, who killed two women at a Lafayette, Louisiana, theater, earned a law degree, operated taverns, ran for public office and loved political debate. He also commented at a web site listed at Obama Conspiracy Theories as “bad.” The site, a very active commenting venue, is The Fellowship of the Minds. It has a fairly large section on Obama conspiracy theories.

Houser commented December 22, 2013 on an article titled “Moral Sickness at Root of America’s Decay”:

America is so sick that I now believe it to be the enemy of the world. I know next to nothing about Iran, but the little I do know tells me they are far higher morally than this financially failing filth farm.

and

It is possible, you might be the only one on the internet that has gotten through the censors.Though you probably are no less than a government information gathering devise, I will tell you how happy I am that the yield on the 10 year tres note is almost 3%. The end comes, and I love it.

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