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Arpaio attacks enemies with questionable evidence

Door open for victim lawsuits

It’s not just Obama.

An Arizona Supreme Court disciplinary panel voted Monday to disbar former Maricopa County Attorney Andrew Thomas. According to TPM Muckraker:

With Arpaio’s help, investigators said, Thomas used the powers of his office to target his opponents with criminal investigations. He had some arrested and some charged with crimes. The evidence he and Arpaio used in the process was often questionable. The charges rarely stuck.

Arpaio and Thomas are also facing a lawsuit from, among others, retired Superior Court Judge Gary Donahoe over bogus criminal charges filed in 2009 reports the Phoenix New Times Blogs.

Yesterday, U. S. District judge Neil Wake ruled that “Arpaio, Thomas and their aides weren’t acting as true law officers” in a trumped up RICO suit against county officials, and hence are not immune from lawsuits. The judge said trial by press conference can be defamation reports the Phoenix New Times Blogs:

The negative claims about the judges and county employees by Arpaio and Thomas were not “merely opinion,” Wake ruled. Because the alleged facts were often distributed to the public in the form of news releases, and because the releases came from the highest authorities in county law enforcement, “the Court concludes that an average person could see the allegedly defamatory statements as implying facts.”

If you’re not up on all the wild stuff on Sheriff Joe, check out the link below.

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49 Responses to Arpaio attacks enemies with questionable evidence

  1. avatar
    Dr. Conspiracy April 11, 2012 at 10:07 am #

    If I were not on vacation, I would be writing a long article titled “Pattern of abuse” paralleling the Cold Case Posse and the county officer investigation in 2008-2009 by Arpaio.

    Reading details from the lawsuit against Arpaio and others, I was struck by the phrase “starting an investigation without probable cause.”

    http://www.scribd.com/doc/88799404/Order-re-2d-MTD-4-9-12#fullscreen

  2. avatar
    Lupin April 11, 2012 at 10:19 am #

    I posted a link to this here earlier today.

    DISBAR! DISBAR! DISBAR! I say!

  3. avatar
    Sam C April 11, 2012 at 10:50 am #

    The Judge Wake ruling is difficult for us non-lawyers to follow (many motions “granted in part and denied in part” doesn’t make it clear) – a precis by A Lawyer would be handy (hint!!).

    But the decision from the Arizona Supreme Court disbarring the Maricopa County attorneys, playmates of Arpaio, is well worth a read. Not the entire 247 pages, but the bits at the beginning and end which lay out the background and describe the decisions.

    The key parts of the decison:

    IT IS HEREBY ORDERED that Respondent, Lisa M. Aubuchon, Bar No.013141,
    is hereby disbarred for her conduct in violation of the Arizona Rules of Professional Conduct, effective May 10, 2012.
    IT IS HEREBY ORDERED that Respondent, Andrew P. Thomas, Bar No.014069, is hereby disbarred for his conduct in violation of the Arizona Rules of Professional Conduct, effective May 10, 2012.

    From the concurring opinion:

    [… Andrew] Thomas and his deputies Lisa Aubuchon and Rachael Alexander defiled justice and encouraged others to join in the desecration. Over a period of several years, Thomas, Aubuchon, and Alexander, exploited the power invested in them, undermined the public trust,and flagrantly misused the law for their own purposes.

  4. avatar
    bovril April 11, 2012 at 11:03 am #

    The Shurrif is already striving to distance himself from Thomas…Arpaio will turn up at the opening of a handbag if there’s a camera present but for this, the best he could come up with was a very bland, damn with faint praise, written response……

    “Today’s decision no doubt is a disappointment to Andrew Thomas, his family and his colleagues,” said Arpaio, dubbed “America’s Toughest Sheriff” by conservatives. “He was a hard-working professional who served the people of this county for many years.”

    “As there are several lawsuits involving some of the same parties and issues involved in today’s decision, it would be inappropriate for me to comment further,” Arpaio said.

  5. avatar
    Dr. Conspiracy April 11, 2012 at 11:11 am #

    I crib from the best!

    Lupin: I posted a link to this here earlier today.

  6. avatar
    Dr. Conspiracy April 11, 2012 at 11:12 am #

    Did you spot the typo in Wake’s ruling?

    http://www.scribd.com/doc/88799404/Order-re-2d-MTD-4-9-12#fullscreen

  7. avatar
    Dr. Conspiracy April 11, 2012 at 11:18 am #

    IANAL, but the really short version is that the defendants (Arpaio, Thomse, et al.) moved to dismiss the federal suit for wrongful prosecution, defamation and other stuff. The judge dismissed some of the plaintiff’s claims and allowed others to continue. I’m on page 59 so far, but the upshot is that if the plaintiffs can show by a preponderance of evidence that some of their remaining claims (those not dismissed) are true, Arpaio and Thomas will be liable for damages. I note that Maricopa County is also a defendant in the suit.

    At this point in the process, whether or not the allegations are true does not come into play.

    Some of the claims were dismissed as a matter of law and for other reasons the allegations were not sufficient to support the claim. However, just about every claim had some part of it survive for at least some plaintiff.

    Sam C: The Judge Wake ruling is difficult for us non-lawyers to follow (many motions “granted in part and denied in part” doesn’t make it clear) – a precis by A Lawyer would be handy (hint!!).

  8. avatar
    Dr. Conspiracy April 11, 2012 at 11:25 am #

    One wonders if Arpaio actually believed he had probable cause against County officials based on conspiracy-theory-minded processing of facts, a mental defect that also explains his birtherism.

  9. avatar
    JPotter April 11, 2012 at 11:46 am #

    Dr. Conspiracy: One wonders if Arpaio actually believed he had probable cause against County officials based on conspiracy-theory-minded processing of facts, a mental defect that also explains his birtherism.

    You mean, did Arpaio really convince himself his targets were guilty? As opposed to Nixonesque vengeance & paranoia? Or the type of malicious BS used in character assassination … the continuation of politics by other means?

    In short, is he nuts, or just dirty?

    Either way, it’s a desperate cycle, bound for over-reach and implosion either way. And here we are!

  10. avatar
    Sam C April 11, 2012 at 11:49 am #

    The blessed Doc:

    One wonders if Arpaio actually believed he had probable cause against County officials based on conspiracy-theory-minded processing of facts, a mental defect that also explains his birtherism.

    I think that’s highly likely. It’s a natural human trait to be optimistic and to place more weight on evidence that confirms one’s prejudices than on evidence that contradicts (yes, for us rational folk too!) but the characteristic of the birther mind-set that I find completely perplexing is the complete and total refusal to countenance any contradiction however well-founded while swallowing – and inventing – the most blatant garbage.

    Those folk “know” the “truth” and reality and rationality are dispensable inconveniences.

    As an atheist and skeptic, I wonder if there’s a correlation with the fundamentalist Christian mind-set and its insistence on having faith in many things despite (or even because of) the lack of clear evidence in the world about us.

  11. avatar
    Bob April 11, 2012 at 12:01 pm #

    Arpaio was motivated by political backscratching and wasn’t even looking at the merits of these cases. It’s the good-ol’-boy system of management but Arpaio is “out of it.” He wanders around in a fog. His cohorts hand him things to sign and he signs them. He doesn’t know what’s going on around him but this has consequences when you’re running a sheriff’s office.

    Time to take the car keys away from Grandpa.

  12. avatar
    Chef April 11, 2012 at 12:01 pm #

    All Joe’s shortcomings can’t unforge the LFBC PDF.

  13. avatar
    Dr. Conspiracy April 11, 2012 at 12:20 pm #

    I understand, and the Court in the lawsuit against Arpaio recognized, that a reasonable observer who sees an official statement from a top law enforcement official takes that statement on its face value as true.

    However, when I look beyond “face value” I see that there’s nothing underneath but unfounded accusations and junk science. Just as Arpaio used questionable evidence and press releases concluding guilt against his political opponents in the past, he is doing the same now against Obama.

    The LFBC is 100% genuine according the the people who are in charge of knowing.

    Chef: All Joe’s shortcomings can’t unforge the LFBC PDF.

  14. avatar
    sactosintolerant April 11, 2012 at 12:23 pm #

    Joe’s argument that he shouldn’t be held responsible for investigations he has delegated to others doesn’t bode well for Zullo.

  15. avatar
    Squeeky Fromm, Girl Reporter April 11, 2012 at 12:28 pm #

    Dr.C

    I am only about 80 pages through the document, and I have been keeping an eye open for the Cold Case Posse attorney, so far without luck. But this reads like a template for the Obama Investigation: Here are a few choice paragraphs:

    The malice of the Respondents was toughened by the dissolving of these long–existent protective layers of review. It was reinforced by the weakness of the virtuous. When caution was advised it was thrown to the wind. Any possibility of strong confrontation was purposefully removed and with no explanation. Veiled beneath the image of their smooth public masks was an apparent righteous indignation accelerated by an evident disgust of anything in government not within their control. Without these preliminary follies perhaps these unethical actions would have found neither temptation nor opportunity.
    Instead, unhindered by peer review, a vital link of the ethical chain that restrains every prosecutor’s office was willfully shattered. Unshackled, a treacherous power to “get” people, regardless of the fact that they were innocent,
    14
    was set loose.

    The result is unmistakable from the hundreds of exhibits and the mountains of transcripts within this case. Rather than do the serious work of real investigation and evidence based analysis, they discarded such required effort with a vengeance and replaced it with any gossip or innuendo that would serve their goal. They knew there was no evidence to find. News releases preceded news conferences and the news reports that followed became their verification. There was an intentional abandonment of even a semblance of true investigative techniques. They pretended to see “corruption” in everyone who disagreed with them and declared that vision as a noble cause.
    Motivated by such declared revelation they compounded their corruption by embracing duplicity, deceitfulness and deception. For them, the destruction of their enemies apparently justified their actions. They ignored the law and rules to achieve their objective. The national aspiration of “We the People of the United States” in the United States Constitution, “in order to…establish Justice…” became a tissue thin relic to be ignored. Respondents adopted an altered attitude towards justice; it would serve their selfish desires. They were all too willing to wrap the skin of a reason around an unsubstantiated premise and publically call it the truth.

    69. Commander Stribling questioned how Ms. Aubuchon could have prepared a draft indictment when no investigation had been conducted and no police report had been written.150 In his twenty-plus years as a police officer and detective, Commander Stribling had never seen an indictment prepared before the investigation was conducted.151 Sgt. Luth had his own concerns. He asked Ms. Aubuchon if handing out all the information would make her a witness in the case. She responded with words to the effect of “that’s why you’re going to recreate the books or redo what we’ve already done.”152

    Squeeky Fromm
    Girl Reporter

  16. avatar
    jayHG April 11, 2012 at 12:35 pm #

    I downloaded the document (it’s over 200 pages) and am reading it now. Andrew Thomas was good and crazy and was not the kind of person who could be trusted with power.

    I’m only about halfway through, but I think Arpaio was right there with him. Thomas can appeal all he wants, but with the document trail he left, there is no way he’ll ever be a licensed attorney again.

  17. avatar
    BillTheCat April 11, 2012 at 12:50 pm #

    Chef: All Joe’s shortcomings can’t unforge the LFBC PDF.

    I know it’s rough finding out the Sheriff isn’t the hero you believed he was, but in time you will get over it.

  18. avatar
    Thomas Brown April 11, 2012 at 12:51 pm #

    Chef:
    All Joe’s shortcomings can’t unforge the LFBC PDF.

    And you are a sterling example of how we can’t re-hinge the unhinged.

  19. avatar
    Thomas Brown April 11, 2012 at 12:59 pm #

    Squeeky Fromm, Girl Reporter But this reads like a template for the Obama Investigation: “They were all too willing to wrap the skin of a reason around an unsubstantiated premise and publically call it the truth.”

    FIFY

  20. avatar
    Bob April 11, 2012 at 1:05 pm #

    You’d think the Birthers could come up with some half-way credible leader. Isn’t there someone out there who isn’t an obvious kook, is well spoken, can make these arguments, isn’t in legal trouble and doesn’t have a sordid past who wants to step up to the plate?

    They don’t even have to really believe in The Greatest Conspiracy of All Time just pretend to.

    As I’ve said before, after all this time Orly cannot even articulate her case in a coherent SOUNDING manner.

  21. avatar
    CarlOrcas April 11, 2012 at 1:09 pm #

    Dr. Conspiracy: Reading details from the lawsuit against Arpaio and others, I was struck by the phrase “starting an investigation without probable cause.”

    If Arpaio and Thomas had stopped there they probably wouldn’t have a problem. Police and prosecutors “start” lots of stupid investigations.

    In that regard we have the current Cold Case Posse “investigation” which really isn’t an investigation and, in the end, won’t result in any person being charged with any crime.

    The more I observe this unfold I am beginning to consider the possibility that Arpaio is trying to positiion himself as the victim if and when the Feds charge him with abuse of his authority and power.

    My guess is the Feds will be talking to Thomas and Aubuchon soon. Question is whether they would charge them first and try to turn them against Arpaio or charge them all as participants in the conspiracy.

    Question is whether Thomas – one arrogant son of a gun – would turn on Arpaio.

  22. avatar
    Thomas Brown April 11, 2012 at 1:18 pm #

    Dr. Conspiracy:
    Did you spot the typo in Wake’s ruling?

    “publically”?

  23. avatar
    y_p_w April 11, 2012 at 1:53 pm #

    Bob: You’d think the Birthers could come up with some half-way credible leader. Isn’t there someone out there who isn’t an obvious kook, is well spoken, can make these arguments, isn’t in legal trouble and doesn’t have a sordid past who wants to step up to the plate?

    Alan Keyes is the closest they get.

  24. avatar
    Thrifty April 11, 2012 at 2:17 pm #

    Probably not. I think those people would be more concerned about their reputations, or have better things to do with their time, than to get down in the mud with conspiracy theorists.

    It’s sort of like how if you’re writing a really bad screenplay and it’s being produced by a really bad production company, you probably won’t get any big name, accomplished actors to join the project.

    Bob: You’d think the Birthers could come up with some half-way credible leader. Isn’t there someone out there who isn’t an obvious kook, is well spoken, can make these arguments, isn’t in legal trouble and doesn’t have a sordid past who wants to step up to the plate?

  25. avatar
    Jamese777 April 11, 2012 at 2:24 pm #

    Whatever happened to Alan Keyes?

  26. avatar
    Jim April 11, 2012 at 2:32 pm #

    Dr. Conspiracy:
    If I were not on vacation, I would be writing a long article titled “Pattern of abuse” paralleling the Cold Case Posse and the county officer investigation in 2008-2009 by Arpaio.

    Reading details from the lawsuit against Arpaio and others, I was struck by the phrase “starting an investigation without probable cause.”

    http://www.scribd.com/doc/88799404/Order-re-2d-MTD-4-9-12#fullscreen

    Enjoy your vacation…we’ll look forward to the article when you get back!

  27. avatar
    BillTheCat April 11, 2012 at 2:48 pm #

    Jamese777: Whatever happened to Alan Keyes?

    Hopefully relegated to obscurity where he belongs. He’s one of the original craziest of the crazies, a complete lunatic.

  28. avatar
    Paul Pieniezny April 11, 2012 at 4:19 pm #

    Bob: As I’ve said before, after all this time Orly cannot even articulate her case in a coherent SOUNDING manner.

    You may not know this, but most people found Orly’s argument on BBC Russian at the end of 2008 rather coherent. Crazy arguments yes, but coherent (and accidentally, accentless, which at the time made me doubt her official biography, people from Moldova do not normally talk Russian without a Southern accent).

    Two years later she got on Russian TV and her articulation had noticeably deteriorated a lot.

    Birthering is obviously a mental health hazard, like secondary smoking and being poor or fat.

  29. avatar
    justlw April 11, 2012 at 5:13 pm #

    There’s something I really like about this case, but I’ll have to leave that one to myself (and Doc, I guess).

  30. avatar
    Sef April 11, 2012 at 6:45 pm #

    Does this mean that the Shurf is PERSONALLY responsible for his misdeeds and the County doesn’t have to pony up for his defense and judgment? If true SWEET!!

  31. avatar
    Wile April 11, 2012 at 7:09 pm #

    Sef:
    Does this mean that the Shurf is PERSONALLY responsible for his misdeeds and the County doesn’t have to pony up for his defense and judgment? If true SWEET!!

    Well, there is this in regards to his cohorts…

    “””Aubuchon’s attorneys have so far handled her case for free, but Maricopa County administrators must now decide whether to continue to pay the legal bills for Thomas and Alexander.

    “We’ve given this guy far more than we’ve received from him in terms of benefit of the doubt,” said county Supervisor Andy Kunasek. “I cannot in good conscience spend any more taxpayer money when they found beyond a reasonable doubt that he’s abused his office and abused his obligations as a lawyer.”””

    http://www.azcentral.com/news/politics/articles/2012/04/10/20120410thomas-aubuchon-stripped-their-legal-licenses.html

  32. avatar
    Keith April 11, 2012 at 11:21 pm #

    OK, I have been saying that this is going to come down on Arpaio’s head for months now. He was “negotiating” with the Fed’s back in February about problems with the management of the MCSO. Apparently they came up with some kind of agreement, but he has now blown them off (to the extreme annoyance of the Feds). One can assume he was trying to negotiate his way out of this too. I am under the impression that there are misuse of departmental funds issues over his head too (but that might be somebody else in the department, not sure now).

    If you remember, he kept putting off the CCP ‘investigation’ results announcement, from January to February and finally March. Did he think he could use it as leverage (some might call it blackmail?) in those ‘negotiations’? Or is it simply his fall back exit plan, an audition for a gig at WND (or Pink Unicorn forbid, Faux News)?

  33. avatar
    CarlOrcas April 11, 2012 at 11:22 pm #

    Sef: Does this mean that the Shurf is PERSONALLY responsible for his misdeeds and the County doesn’t have to pony up for his defense and judgment? If true SWEET!!

    I doubt the county will get out of any liability judgments since Arpaio, Thomas, etc., were working as agents of the county when they went off the rails.

    That said, as Wile notes, time will run out on the county paying legal bills for these folks.

    The Supreme Court hearing that just ended was a civil procedure. It will be interesting to see what happens. if and when there are criminal charges against any of them. I can’t imagine the county would pay any of those legal bills.

  34. avatar
    Lupin April 12, 2012 at 11:47 am #

    The Justice Dpt to finally prosecute Arpaio:

    http://tpmmuckraker.talkingpointsmemo.com/2012/04/justice_department_to_sue_arizona_sheriff_joe_arpaio_over_civil_rights_abuses.php?ref=fpnewsfeed

    Frog march! Frog march!

    Wanted in Mexico:
    http://www.artotyrite.org/arpaio.jpg

  35. avatar
    CarlOrcas April 12, 2012 at 11:56 am #

    Lupin: Frog march! Frog march!

    Everyone needs to remember……this is the civil suit. No one is going to be arrested.

  36. avatar
    y_p_w April 12, 2012 at 12:41 pm #

    CarlOrcas: Everyone needs to remember……this is the civil suit. No one is going to be arrested.

    This is just Round One.

  37. avatar
    CarlOrcas April 12, 2012 at 12:49 pm #

    y_p_w: This is just Round One.

    The civil suit has the potential to bring more real change to law enforcement in Maricopa County and that’s what we (they) need.

    Criminal charges will just be icing on the cake.

  38. avatar
    MrBrown April 12, 2012 at 4:48 pm #

    Sef:
    Does this mean that the Shurf is PERSONALLY responsible for his misdeeds and the County doesn’t have to pony up for his defense and judgment? If true SWEET!!

    No – the county will be targetted because Arpaio and Thomas, et al were acting in their official capacities, and because the county has deep pockets. When voters see the resulting exposure of crimes and the size of the mega-bill to taxpayers, they will be sickened. This will unleash a series of political and fiscal earthquakes that will rock Maricopa County like sexual abuse rocked the Catholic church. It will go on and on. There are a long line of people who were done wrong. And that is aside from the criminal investigations against these same people , investigations which will turn into formal charges. How will courts and DoJ keep the overlapping parties sorted out ? Its going to be a costly, stressful mess. Best thing Sheriff Joe could do is fall on his knife or croak from a heart attack.

  39. avatar
    June bug April 12, 2012 at 8:12 pm #

    Dr. Conspiracy:
    Did you spot the typo in Wake’s ruling?

    http://www.scribd.com/doc/88799404/Order-re-2d-MTD-4-9-12#fullscreen

    “stated that they had withdrew the case”

    p. 9?

  40. avatar
    Horus April 13, 2012 at 12:30 pm #

    bovril: The Shurrif is already striving to distance himself from Thomas…Arpaio will turn up at the opening of a handbag if there’s a camera present but for this, the best he could come up with was a very bland, damn with faint praise, written response…

    I think you meant Feint and not faint.

  41. avatar
    CarlOrcas April 13, 2012 at 1:00 pm #

    Horus: I think you meant Feint and not faint.

    He/she used the word correctly.

  42. avatar
    Sef April 13, 2012 at 1:15 pm #

    MrBrown: Best thing Sheriff Joe could do is fall on his knife or croak from a heart attack.

    Sort of like that guy from Enron?

  43. avatar
    bovril April 13, 2012 at 1:45 pm #

    The Shurrif feigned a heart attack as a cowardly feint whilst he stabbed his opponent in the back, the audience to this more than faintly odious act fainted due to the sight of blood.

  44. avatar
    Wile April 13, 2012 at 2:48 pm #

    Uh-oh, bovril.

    Now your comma splice is showing.

  45. avatar
    Thomas Brown April 13, 2012 at 3:28 pm #

    Horus: I think you meant Feint and not faint.

    ‘Where is your Posse, Arpaio, my son?
    Where are your cronies, you bitter old scum?’
    They are disgraced and busted, as will I be soon,
    And I am weary a’ Birfing, and fain would lie doun.’

  46. avatar
    bovril April 13, 2012 at 3:32 pm #

    Weeeeellllll, Strunk & White would generally say that since this is whole sentence, linked via text and actions in the structure, the comma is situated at a natural pause and breath point.

    Since the sentence and actions construction is a singular flow, insertion of a semi-colon, colon, dash, seperation into two sentences, inserting a co-ordinating conjunction or use of a conjunctive adverb would be at best clumsy.

    p.s Shouldn’t that be “wHile” or “wHilst”. 😎

  47. avatar
    JPotter April 13, 2012 at 3:42 pm #

    Thomas Brown: ‘Where is your Posse, Arpaio, my son?Where are your cronies, you bitter old scum?’They are disgraced and busted, as will I be soon,And I am weary a’ Birfing, and fain would lie doun.’

    Has a great beat 😉

    C’mon, everybody, keep a level-head re: Arpaio & Co’s legal comeuppance. It’s long overdue, but not in the bag, and represents misfortune to all involved. No need for birther-y gloating.

    [ keeping a straight face ]

    [ … for now 😉 ]

  48. avatar
    JPotter April 13, 2012 at 3:49 pm #

    Lupin: The Justice Dpt to finally prosecute Arpaio:

    LOL! TPM used a photo from one of the “Cold Case Events” … makes it look like Mike “Mystery Man” Zullo has his back in these times of trouble. 😀

  49. avatar
    Wile April 14, 2012 at 12:37 pm #

    bovril:
    Weeeeellllll, Strunk & White would generally say that since this is whole sentence, linked via text and actions in the structure, the comma is situated at a natural pause and breath point.

    Since the sentence and actions construction is a singular flow, insertion of a semi-colon, colon, dash, seperation into two sentences, inserting a co-ordinating conjunction or use of a conjunctive adverb would be at best clumsy.

    p.s Shouldn’t that be “wHile” or “wHilst”.

    Nah. Strunk and White would’ve found your clauses a little too independent. They would’ve tried to sell you a semicolon.

    Lynn Truss, however, comes to your rescue by observing, “So many highly respected writers observe the splice comma that a rather unfair rule emerges on this one: only do it if you’re famous. Done knowingly by an established writer, the comma splice is effective, poetic, dashing. Done equally knowingly by people who are not published writers, it can look weak or presumptuous. Done ignorantly by ignorant people, it is awful.”

    As the original writer of such lines as “…Spider Eyes Weep Hate…”, I can only assume that you would fit into the first of her categories of writers.

    I hereby rescind my comment.

    *wink*