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For better or worse: Arpaio’s investigation of the judge

I’m not a lawyer, so this is just my personal opinion.

What Joe Arpaio admitted to in court, that two investigations, one by the Sheriff’s office, and one by a private investigator, looked at Judge Snow and his wife really doesn’t offend my sense of propriety. This is in contrast to editorials in the newspapers.

In the case of the judge’s wife, someone told the Sheriff that Judge Snow’s wife had made a comment that would lead a reasonable person to suspect bias against Arpaio, and this veracity of this report was checked. In the case of the judge himself, Arpaio said the judge was not targeted, but that the investigation was broad and that Judge Snow was only incidentally included in it.

One would be hard-pressed to make a claim of intimidation, when the victim was not made aware of what was supposed to be intimidating them.

While I’m not bothered by what Arpaio admitted, I am suspicious that there may be more to the story than what Arpaio admitted. I certainly hope Joe Arpaio didn’t commit perjury. I say that because I’m not happy when anyone, even someone I dislike, does wrong. I also don’t think Sheriff Arpaio is that stupid.

Nevertheless, certainly more investigation will occur, and we may get some confirmation as to whether Arpaio acted reasonably, or not. We’ll just have to wait and see.

Read more:

  • Arpaio Hearing Raises Ethical Questions – KJZZ

41 Responses to For better or worse: Arpaio’s investigation of the judge

  1. avatar
    Keith April 29, 2015 at 6:17 pm #

    The voice of reason, as always.

    WTF do we want to be reasonable for? 😎

  2. avatar
    Paul April 29, 2015 at 6:21 pm #

    “In the case of the judge’s wife, someone told the Sheriff that Judge Snow’s wife had made a comment that would lead a reasonable person to suspect bias against Arpaio”

    But it involved his upcoming election, not the trial, didn’t it? So how would that be any different than Arpaio investigating any citizen who made it known they didn’t want him re-elected?

    And I can tell you right now, if I were the judge and I found out you had investigated my WIFE for a public comment… if you weren’t worried about bias before, you’d damned well better be worried about it now.

  3. avatar
    wrecking ball April 29, 2015 at 6:22 pm #

    it would seem to me that the appropriate thing would have been to directly address judge snow with the concern. if he didn’t recuse himself, and arpaio still felt there was bias, it would be something for a higher court.

    don’t know, i’m not a lawyer, i just find it hard to accept as ethical behavior.

  4. avatar
    Reality Check April 29, 2015 at 6:59 pm #

    Doc, in this case I cannot agree. You have to put this in the context of Arapio’s past acts including falsely charging a judge with a crime and going after the county supervisors. This is Arpaio’s MO. He was attempting to do the same thing again.

  5. avatar
    Dr. Conspiracy April 29, 2015 at 8:41 pm #

    Arpaio didn’t make any accusation that Snow was guilty anything, and even if you could infer a bad intention from prior bad acts, intentions aren’t actions. I mean, you can’t arrest someone for drunk driving if they pass out trying to start the car.

    Reality Check: This is Arpaio’s MO. He was attempting to do the same thing again.

  6. avatar
    Jim April 29, 2015 at 8:46 pm #

    Reality Check:
    This is Arpaio’s MO. He was attempting to do the same thing again.

    It will be interesting to see the final cost to the county for the Montgomery fiasco. They got conned and had to admit it in open court. He runs for re-election, that should be plastered everywhere in Maricopa county. 😀

  7. avatar
    Notorial Dissent April 29, 2015 at 8:47 pm #

    Doc, I have to go with Reality Check on this one, there was nothing harmless or appropriate about the Shurf’s actions. He has a clear and proven, and very expensive for the county, track record of using false investigations and judicial actions against those he considers enemies, and Snow was/is clearly an enemy for having sanctioned him and interfering in his dog given right to sun the MCSO any way he chooses. The “story” of how the investigation came about keeps changing to the point that it is doubtful there is more than a kernel, if that, of truth in it. The Shurf was looking for someway to short circuit Snow’s supervision and threat and he fell back on his old and favorite standby of investigating and then trying to force them to quit, this time it never got off the ground and has since blown up in his face. There was nothing innocent or appropriate about his actions.

  8. avatar
    Arthur B. April 29, 2015 at 8:53 pm #

    BTW, has there been any news on the underlying issue? Has Judge Snow succeeded in improving the treatment of Hispanics in Maricopa County?

  9. avatar
    wrecking ball April 29, 2015 at 8:54 pm #

    Dr. Conspiracy:
    I mean, you can’t arrest someone for drunk driving if they pass out trying to start the car.

    you can in california if the keys are in the ignition.

  10. avatar
    Sluffy1 April 29, 2015 at 9:11 pm #

    wrecking ball: you can in california if the keys are in the ignition.

    In Michigan too.

  11. avatar
    Hektor April 29, 2015 at 9:23 pm #

    Dr. Conspiracy:
    Arpaio didn’t make any accusation that Snow was guilty anything, and even if you could infer a bad intention from prior bad acts, intentions aren’t actions. I mean, you can’t arrest someone for drunk driving if they pass out trying to start the car.

    Doc, i agree that if we take Arpaio at his word, then by itself what he claims happened is if not a non-issue then certainly does not rise to the level of a crime. However, a couple of points. One, I don’t believe the Sheriff. His past behaviour with false charges and intimidation of officials is a good reason to not take him at his word. Further, I feel that an investigation of a presiding judge or his or her family is a very delicate matter which again, I am unable able to give Sheriff Arpaio the benefit of the doubt to properly handle what I see is a very delicate situation. And I do find the explanation to be, well, a conveniently vague denunciation.

    Do I think that further investigation will yield something that is even indictable (let alone a conviction)? No, but I want this investigated. I’m not sure that anything will come from it, but I think there is enough of a warning bell to warrant the measures of document preservation and possible further investigation that Judge Snow has ordered.

  12. avatar
    Arthur April 29, 2015 at 10:06 pm #

    Arpaio gave a news conference today. When asked about fellow Republicans’ reaction to his latest legal woes, Old Joe claimed he had calls of support from a lot of “high officials.”

    How high were they, Joe?

    http://www.fox10phoenix.com/clip/11439620/Joe%20Arpaio%20holds%20news%20conference%3B%20remains%20defiant%20after%20court%20hearing

  13. avatar
    Curious George April 29, 2015 at 11:23 pm #

    Arthur
    April 29, 2015
    “Arpaio gave a news conference today. When asked about fellow Republicans’ reaction to his latest legal woes, Old Joe claimed he had calls of support from a lot of “high officials.”

    How high were they, Joe?”

    Joe’s Republican supporters are as plentiful as ZooLows VIPs. (Scarce as hen’s teeth.)

  14. avatar
    Andrew Vrba, PmG April 29, 2015 at 11:26 pm #

    wrecking ball: you can in california if the keys are in the ignition.

    In Missouri, you’re not allowed to be outside in public with an “open container” unless its a special function or something, let alone behind the wheel.

  15. avatar
    Kate April 29, 2015 at 11:50 pm #

    Dr. Conspiracy:
    Arpaio didn’t make any accusation that Snow was guilty anything, and even if you could infer a bad intention from prior bad acts, intentions aren’t actions. I mean, you can’t arrest someone for drunk driving if they pass out trying to start the car.

    I think that possibly the investigation was halted due to the story by Stephen Lemons. If it had gone further, there’s no telling what could have occurred. Arpaio’s history indicates that he doesn’t do anything that doesn’t directly benefit him. If he was going to accuse the Judge of bias, he could have done so with just one call to his attorney and asking him whether or not they should or could check on the veracity of the comment allegedly made by Judge Snow. If Arpaio had someone who was ready to testify under oath that they heard this from the Judge’s wife, I can’t imagine him not using it to his advantage.

    Has Judge Snow revealed in any way whether or not he actually said that? I haven’t read anything yet that he said the statement was true or not. In remembering how Arpaio tried repeatedly to stop this hearing from going forward, why didn’t he use this statement by Snow? It must be due to lack of proof IMO, otherwise, Arpaio would be shouting about it in front of allt he cameras, claiming the Judge was out to get him. He won’t miss a moment of publicity if it’s available. That movie was called ‘The Joe Show’ for good reason.

  16. avatar
    Rickey April 29, 2015 at 11:51 pm #

    The legality of the investigation of Judge Snow’s wife probably depends upon what actually was done. If all they tried to do was verify that the conversation took place, they likely did nothing illegal. However, if they ran a full background investigation of Mrs. Snow – DMV records, credit records, etc. – they could well have run afoul of the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) and the Drivers’ Privacy and Protection Act (DPPA) because Judge Snow and his wife weren’t parties to the litigation,

    I expect this is why Judge Snow ordered Arpaio to turn over everything pertaining to the investigation. He wants to find out if anything illegal was done.

  17. avatar
    John Reilly April 30, 2015 at 12:45 am #

    My guess is that DMV and credit records show an audit trail of who checked the file. Sort of a computerized CCTV. Judge Snow may already know if his DMV or credit file was touched and by whom, and it’s a test to see if the Sheriff is an honest man.

    In any event, the investigation of Judge Snow’s wife was done deliberately so that the Sheriff would have an argument on appeal that Judge Snow was biased against him because of the investigation.

  18. avatar
    alg April 30, 2015 at 2:41 am #

    The question is whether or not this is the tip of an iceberg of effort intended to find something with which to damage the judge’s credibility. Given how long ago this happened though, I doubt they found anything of merit and gave up, otherwise they would have said something publically some time ago. A review of the records involved will tell the story.

  19. avatar
    The Magic M (not logged in) April 30, 2015 at 3:31 am #

    Dr. Conspiracy: I mean, you can’t arrest someone for drunk driving if they pass out trying to start the car.

    In Germany, it’s usually enough to be sitting behind the wheel, even if you don’t even have the keys with you. Our legal definition of “operating a car” is broader than just “driving”.

    Notorial Dissent: The Shurf was looking for someway to short circuit Snow’s supervision and threat and he fell back on his old and favorite standby of investigating and then trying to force them to quit

    Agree 100%. Remember he did the same thing about Obama – sending someone else to do it (the CCP, versus private eye), using it for propaganda purposes (he never really tried to investigate a real crime in the Obama case or he wouldn’t have handed it to the CCP) etc.

  20. avatar
    Keith April 30, 2015 at 3:50 am #

    Arthur: How high were they, Joe?

    Dunno. How high are you?

  21. avatar
    Keith April 30, 2015 at 3:51 am #

    Andrew Vrba, PmG: In Missouri, you’re not allowed to be outside in public with an “open container” unless its a special function or something, let alone behind the wheel.

    So is a drunk guy considered an ‘open container’?

  22. avatar
    Keith April 30, 2015 at 4:14 am #

    The Magic M (not logged in): In Germany, it’s usually enough to be sitting behind the wheel, even if you don’t even have the keys with you. Our legal definition of “operating a car” is broader than just “driving”.

    In Victoria Australia the wording is “drives a motor vehicle or is in charge of a motor vehicle”

    To, whit:

    [blockquote]
    (Road Safety Act of 1986)

    Section 49 Offences involving alcohol or other drugs
    (1) A person is guilty of an offence if he or she—
    (a) drives a motor vehicle or is in charge of a
    motor vehicle
    while under the influence of
    intoxicating liquor or of any drug to such an
    extent as to be incapable of having proper
    control of the motor vehicle; or
    (b) drives a motor vehicle or is in charge of a
    motor vehicle
    while the prescribed
    concentration of alcohol or more than the
    prescribed concentration of alcohol is present
    in his or her blood or breath; or… etc
    [/blockquote]

  23. avatar
    RanTalbott April 30, 2015 at 4:58 am #

    Kate: If he was going to accuse the Judge of bias, he could have done so with just one call to his attorney and asking him whether or not they should or could check on the veracity of the comment allegedly made by Judge Snow.

    He claimed that’s what he did, and his attorney sent the P.I.

    However, the attorney denied it. Sorta: the wording of the denial was a little weaselish.

    Kate: If Arpaio had someone who was ready to testify under oath that they heard this from the Judge’s wife, I can’t imagine him not using it to his advantage.

    Reports are that the P.I. talked to the two family members who were with the tipster, and they confirmed it. But notice that the wording changes from one account to the next. It could be that they couldn’t remember clearly, or that the statement was more innocuous than the first report. Also, the legal ethicists in the newspaper article someone linked to said that the statement was made after the judge had heard (most of) the case, so it wouldn’t necessarily mean “bias” if he’d formed an opinion based on what he heard in court.

    Kate: Has Judge Snow revealed in any way whether or not he actually said that?

    It hasn’t been reported, that I’ve seen. And I would expect that he’d neither confirm nor deny until he saw the exact words alleged. If his wife indicated he’d said something like “I’m disgusted by the evidence I’ve seen, and he’s not fit to hold office”, and the witness garbled that into “He hates you, and he’s going to try to get you removed”, it would be different from his actually expressing an intent to act officially based on personal feelings.

  24. avatar
    bovril April 30, 2015 at 6:10 am #

    Whilst I agree with Doc C’s comment around demonstration of or lack of actual ‘intimidation’, the root concern is the intent of Arpaio, based on the extensive historical background of identical behavior.

    If Arpaio had come across something that COULD have been used to intimidate, derail or obscure they legal actions of the judge, it is more than reasonable to suppose that he would have used it.

    In addition unless the informant had some background with the MCSO or some demonstrable proof of sincerity, why on earth would the Sherriff of an organization with a 330+ million dollar budget take the random word post of an effectively anonymous Facebook poster as sufficient evidence to launch an ‘investigation’..?

    To do so implies either a staggering level of paranoia, excessive credulity, desperation to fight real AND apparent slights, enormous self worth, feelings of extreme entitlement or some or all of the above…….

  25. avatar
    Lupin April 30, 2015 at 8:10 am #

    It seems to me that the worse “crime” here is the misuse of public funds, no? I mean, is the taxpayer supposed to fund Arpaio’s personal vendettas?

  26. avatar
    Notorial Dissent April 30, 2015 at 8:21 am #

    They certainly have been for the umpteen years, and the county has had to settle several law suits over false arrest and harassment to the tune of millions of dollars due to the Shurf’s legalistic vendettas, so yes would be the answer. Incidentally they just got hit for another as a result of one of his arrest first and investigate later efforts.

    Lupin:
    It seems to me that the worse “crime” here is the misuse of public funds, no? I mean, is the taxpayer supposed to fund Arpaio’s personal vendettas?

  27. avatar
    Kate April 30, 2015 at 9:17 am #

    RanTalbott: He claimed that’s what he did, and his attorney sent the P.I.
    However, the attorney denied it. Sorta: the wording of the denial was a little weaselish.

    Reports are that the P.I. talked to the two family members who were with the tipster, and they confirmed it. But notice that the wording changes from one account to the next. It could be that they couldn’t remember clearly, or that the statement was more innocuous than the first report. Also, the legal ethicists in the newspaper article someone linked to said that the statement was made after the judge had heard (most of) the case, so it wouldn’t necessarily mean “bias” if he’d formed an opinion based on what he heard in court.

    It hasn’t been reported, that I’ve seen. And I would expect that he’d neither confirm nor deny until he saw the exact words alleged. If his wife indicated he’d said something like “I’m disgusted by the evidence I’ve seen, and he’s not fit to hold office”, and the witness garbled that into “He hates you, and he’s going to try to get you removed”, it would be different from his actually expressing an intent to act officially based on personal feelings.

    I just find it highly unlikely that Judge Snow’s wife would be so lax as to speak about her husband’s cases in the manner described by Arpaio’s supposed tipster. Although I can believe they might have spoken in the way you suggested. It wouldn’t be unlike Arpaio or his ‘friends’ to change the wording to suit their needs.

    No matter what happens, I’m hoping Arpaio is long gone, even before the election. He needs to be gone now considering the ridiculous sums of $$$ he’s cost the taxpayers of Maricopa Co. and many of his surrounding officers should be let go, too. They overlooked the illegality of what they were doing, knowing Arpaio was on their side and likely the one pushing them to do what they did.

  28. avatar
    Kate April 30, 2015 at 9:29 am #

    bovril: To do so implies either a staggering level of paranoia, excessive credulity, desperation to fight real AND apparent slights, enormous self worth, feelings of extreme entitlement or some or all of the above…

    Definitely ALL OF THE ABOVE! Joe’s ego is massive, anyone else would be retired at his age. He obviously doesn’t get the dose of adoration he needs on a daily basis at home.

    Notorial Dissent:
    They certainly have been for the umpteen years, and the county has had to settle several law suits over false arrest and harassment to the tune of millions of dollars due to the Shurf’s legalistic vendettas, so yes would be the answer. Incidentally they just got hit for another as a result of one of his arrest first and investigate later efforts.

    Hopefully, this latest suit, combined with the ongoing soap opera will be enough to push him out the door. It makes me ill to think of all the good that could have been done with the money the county has paid on behalf ot this SOB’s egomaniacal behavior. It’s too bad they can’t sue him for any of it as I highly doubt he’ll leave office broke. I’m certain he’s tucked away more than enough cash to live the way he feels entitled to. Anyone who’s still defending him must be deaf, dumb and blind considering his outrageous antics. Say goodbye, Joe, the sooner, the better!

  29. avatar
    Dr. Conspiracy April 30, 2015 at 10:11 am #

    Yes, that’s what I think too.

    The way Arpaio put it, the investigation was of an alleged crime and Judge Snow’s involvement in it was incidental. If Arpaio is telling the truth, then Arpaio’s “crime” was gullibility. If not then it’s misappropriation of funds and perjury.

    The funds paid to Montgomery supposedly came from seized assets rather than public appropriations. I’m not sure what difference that makes.

    Lupin: It seems to me that the worse “crime” here is the misuse of public funds, no? I mean, is the taxpayer supposed to fund Arpaio’s personal vendettas?

  30. avatar
    Dr. Conspiracy April 30, 2015 at 10:35 am #

    The words “recreational drugs” come to mind.

    Arthur: How high were they, Joe?

  31. avatar
    Curious George April 30, 2015 at 11:23 am #

    Dr

    “While I’m not bothered by what Arpaio admitted, I am suspicious that there may be more to the story than what Arpaio admitted. I certainly hope Joe Arpaio didn’t commit perjury. I say that because I’m not happy when anyone, even someone I dislike, does wrong. I also don’t think Sheriff Arpaio is that stupid.”

    Arrogance is the word that comes to mind.

  32. avatar
    Dr. Conspiracy April 30, 2015 at 11:33 am #

    It’s possible that Joe is lying, arrogantly feeling that he is untouchable, but I have faith in the process now playing itself out in the Melendres case.

    Curious George: Arrogance is the word that comes to mind.

  33. avatar
    alg April 30, 2015 at 2:17 pm #

    Dr. Conspiracy:
    The funds paid to Montgomery supposedly came from seized assets rather than public appropriations. I’m not sure what difference that makes.

    It makes no difference whatsoever. These are still public funds which must only be put to a legitimate public purpose.

  34. avatar
    bgansel9 April 30, 2015 at 4:10 pm #

    “I also don’t think Sheriff Arpaio is that stupid.”

    Personally, I don’t think Arpaio considers himself subject to accountability. I think he is only concerned with what he thinks he has the power to do, and he always seems to overestimate his own power.

  35. avatar
    Notorial Dissent April 30, 2015 at 8:11 pm #

    I think you are quite right. The Shurf is a petty tyrant and bully, and like all petty tyrants and bullies thinks he is above the law and that rules simply don’t apply to him, and he has been remarkably good at getting away with it for lo these many years.

    To be quite honest, I also have a very hard time believing anything he says at this point. I think he will say anything that comes to mind or that maybe makes him looks less guilty. I would question the claim of where the Montgomery money actually came from until there has been a real honest audit of the MSCO Dept. I think he has been lying, and will continue to lie as suits his needs of the moment. I think his lawyers had best beware.

    bgansel9:
    “I also don’t think Sheriff Arpaio is that stupid.”

    Personally, I don’t think Arpaio considers himself subject to accountability. I think he is only concerned with what he thinks he has the power to do, and he always seems to overestimate his own power.

  36. avatar
    The Magic M (not logged in) May 1, 2015 at 4:17 am #

    RanTalbott: If his wife indicated he’d said something like “I’m disgusted by the evidence I’ve seen, and he’s not fit to hold office”, and the witness garbled that into “He hates you, and he’s going to try to get you removed”

    That again is something I wouldn’t put past the tipster because that’s the way many right-wingers’ brains are wired.
    She wasn’t lying, she was paraphrasing with a bias. Now it makes sense.

  37. avatar
    The Magic M (not logged in) May 1, 2015 at 4:23 am #

    Notorial Dissent: like all petty tyrants and bullies thinks he is above the law and that rules simply don’t apply to him, and he has been remarkably good at getting away with it for lo these many years.

    But eventually that hybris will be the bully’s downfall, simply because at some point he would actually believe himself to be untouchable and no longer care to cover his rear end.
    I remember an older co-worker back at my university (who had been there for about 10 years when I started) who first abused the network storage as his private backup, then started downloading pirated stuff to his work machine. All the while covering up his traces quite expertly, and became so full of himself he told many people how clever he was and how he’d never get caught.
    Ultimately, he started running a warez site from the institute’s web server, and of course he was caught. Don’t know if he went to prison, but his well-paid job was no more.

  38. avatar
    Notorial Dissent May 1, 2015 at 10:29 am #

    Magic M, I quite agree with you, the usual result for most bullies is a really nasty downfall, sooner or later, and the ironic part is that when it finally happens the former bestest of friends are suddenly among the ones throwing the most stones. I don’t think it will be any different for the Shurf. His once friends will all turn on him as soon as they see the way the wind is blowing. Considering the enemies he has cultivated over the years, I expect there will be quite a line standing to watch his downfall.

  39. avatar
    bgansel9 May 1, 2015 at 12:27 pm #

    The Magic M (not logged in): Don’t know if he went to prison, but his well-paid job was no more.

    Unfortunately for those of us in Maricopa County, Arpaio has a following who would elect him even if he were caught in a pedophilia sting. They would say that it’s an Illuminati conspiracy designed to separate them from their hero. I honestly do wonder if we’ll end up seeing the sheriff running the MCSO from a federal prison cell.

  40. avatar
    RanTalbott May 8, 2015 at 9:43 pm #

    New story on the people who reported Snow’s wife’s comment:
    http://www.azcentral.com/story/news/local/phoenix/2015/05/07/mexican-food-drew-grissom-couple-heart-sheriff-joe-arpaio-civil-contempt-case/70990098/

    Still no actual quote of what was said. But the paraphrase this time could also be interpreted as meaning that the judge had formed an opinion based on the trial, not before it.

    One piece of new info: it wasn’t something overheard. Mrs. Snow was speaking directly to the woman, having mistaken her for her sister, who was a childhood friend of Mrs. Snow.

  41. avatar
    James M May 8, 2015 at 10:02 pm #

    RanTalbott: One piece of new info: it wasn’t something overheard. Mrs. Snow was speaking directly to the woman, having mistaken her for her sister, who was a childhood friend of Mrs. Snow.

    One other piece of info that was new to me: The restaurant was Someburros! One of my favorite local chains! (after El Pollo Loco).