Enemies List

Paranoia aside, Sheriff Joe Arpaio and County Attorney Andrew Thomas just may be targeting you

Deputies kicked in the doors of Watkins' rental property, too. Then they headed to Cactus Towing and took just about everything that wasn't bolted down: records, computers, cash, even employees' cell phones.

Because it was the last day of the month, and the company bills on the first, it was disastrous. "They timed it to put us out of business," Watkins says.

And they very nearly did. The raid was covered heavily on TV newscasts and in newspapers. (Watkins' lawyer, Kent Nicholas, says he received his copy of the search warrants from a reporter.)

Sheriff Joe Arpaio enjoys getting his face on TV, when the spin is positive.
AP/Wide World
Sheriff Joe Arpaio enjoys getting his face on TV, when the spin is positive.
Maricopa County Attorney Andrew Thomas has formed an alliance with Arpaio. Wags in his office now refer to him as "Little Joe."
Matt York/AP Images
Maricopa County Attorney Andrew Thomas has formed an alliance with Arpaio. Wags in his office now refer to him as "Little Joe."

Naturally, the municipalities that contracted with Cactus didn't like the bad publicity. At least one police chief told Watkins that a sheriff's deputy called and urged him to stop using Cactus.

Watkins sold the business for much less than what it was once worth. "We were getting beaten up so bad in the press every week, I had to." He's also paid "an army of lawyers," he says, proceeding to list nearly a dozen.

The raid was nearly three years ago. Last year, Arpaio told one reporter that he'd finished the investigation and was sending the case to prosecutors.

Not a single charge has been filed.

"Everybody says, 'Don't say anything, and it'll go away,'" Watkins says. "And probably, it would. But some of us should stand up and say that enough is enough.

"We got accused of so much stuff. And my belief is, it was all because of politics."


In the 2004 election, Arpaio managed to beat Dan Saban in the primary, and Lee Watkins' old pal, W. Steven Martin, in the general election. Sheriff Joe would get his mug on TV for another four years.

But everything around him was changing. Arpaio's old nemesis, County Attorney Rick Romley, had retired after 15 years in office. The moderate Republican was to be replaced by Andrew Peyton Thomas, an ambitious Harvard-educated lawyer. Though Thomas had previously campaigned unsuccessfully to become attorney general, he was known for writing books on conservative theories, not for his courtroom experience.

Thomas' conservative credentials proved to be the key to his election. Because an open seat in the County Attorney's Office is a rarity, the primary drew five Republican candidates. Thomas distinguished himself by running far to the right while the others duked it out in the center.

Then, in the general election, Thomas drew a Democratic opponent, Don Harris, so controversial that the party's own chair announced that he wasn't supporting him. Thomas won handily.

When he took office in January 2005, Thomas made it clear he was following Arpaio's playbook. Politics and retribution would be the order of the day.

The prosecutor who ran the county's sex crimes unit, Cindi Nanetti, a widely respected and well-liked veteran, had openly campaigned for Thomas' opponent. Despite being the reigning "Arizona Prosecutor of the Year," Nanetti was demoted.

Meanwhile, Thomas packed his eighth-floor "executive team" with political activists with little experience in criminal prosecution:

• Tim LaSota was appointed after being active in the far-right Federalist Society. (His father Jack, a well-known lobbyist and former Arizona attorney general, chipped in money for Thomas. And Tim LaSota is connected in other ways: He's married to the niece of Congressman Ed Pastor, D-Phoenix.)

• Miguel Martinez is Thomas' brother-in-law. He isn't a lawyer, but he was nevertheless given a job as a community liaison.

• Rachel Alexander was a GOP activist once named "Republican babe of the week" by a New Jersey-based Web site. She was made Thomas' policy adviser, a job that seems to consist mostly of blogging about conservative issues, prosecutors say.

• Phil MacDonnell, a fellow Harvard grad, is a veteran lobbyist who'd represented everybody from the Arizona Newspaper Association to R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company. Although MacDonnell hadn't worked as a prosecutor in 20 years, he was named chief deputy county attorney

• Mark Goldman was Thomas' oddest choice. Though trained as a lawyer, Goldman made his money in the mortgage business. (Records show he still owns two brokerage companies in Arizona.) Goldman was Thomas' top donor, chipping in a staggering $10,000 during the 2005 campaign. His reward was a volunteer position on the eighth floor.

Veteran prosecutors say the appointments wouldn't have been so terrible under a different boss. Everybody pads their payroll a little bit. But Thomas is distant, they say. He's more interested in writing articles about legal issues and giving press conferences than day-to-day operations. Some former prosecutors suggest that they were at the mercy of Thomas' ideological gatekeepers.

Some of the office's most questionable decisions have involved Arpaio. The two have worked together so closely that some of his own prosecutors privately deride Thomas as "Little Joe."

And some prosecutors have been troubled by Thomas' close relationship with Arpaio. It isn't just that they believe Arpaio is more interested in building his reputation than in following the law. It's that they believe the prosecutor must serve as a check on all law enforcement agencies.

"It's a matter of checks and balances," says one former deputy county attorney. "We represent the sheriff civilly, but sometimes you have to tell your client, 'No, you can't do that.' If the sheriff was about to do something illegal, Romley would tell him he couldn't do it. And the sheriff didn't like that.

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28 comments
Befuddled by Babeu
Befuddled by Babeu

Hey, Babeu. How's that big investigation of Hendershott going. It's been in your hands 2 1/2 months now.

Uh, duh. I've been busy and I saved a frog in that time.

Thanks, Gomer

Enemies List needs updating
Enemies List needs updating

"Enemies List" by Sarah Fenske was written in 2007, with Thomas and Arpaio getting revved up for the election. This is a reminder of how they operate. It is very timely now but needs updating - they've added many more voice they want silenced in the state, which needs to be added to the list.

former republican
former republican

PNT, Thanks for keep archives. You are doing a great public service as the matrix keeps snaking through Maricopa County and the state of AZ.

WITJ 1
WITJ 1

I thought that every one in Phoenix the surronding Counties knew that they are all suspect of something or another in the eyes of the county atty and his henchmen I my self have been under scrutiny for the Last 12 years ,and yes they have done quite a bit of damage to me and there is no-one that I can tell ,and believe me I have tried to tell my city council member and others no one wants to hear what these so -called big shots are doing to the citizens until it happens to them ,I have had 3 heart attacks as a result of the equiptment that they are useing and for the period of time that they have been useing this stuff on me ,I am sure that I am radio active I don't know the correct coarse to take or who to get in touch with I have had Graves desece ,hypo thyroid,leg and muscel gramps that won't go away for a time ,medical bills that are running in access of 450,000 @ this point and it continues ,I don't know what kind of criminal I must be to have the county atty's office concentrating on me day and night all I know is that I must've steped on some big shot 's toes some where ,I don't know what to do @ this point ,but I do know that I am not going to take this to the grave

pedro
pedro

thank god america is changing and hispanics and minorities are taking over. Soon, fat white trash like Joe whatever his wop name is will be gone. He talks about how people need to speak english in america. That dago white trash is about to be obsolete. All you white trash should stay in Arizona with your monkey looking cops. If that guy came to Los Angeles we would be having Joe Ar pig io sausage for breakfast for 10 years. HA HA HA HA

I hate pigs
I hate pigs

man, nobody is scared of that stinky fat pig. He's only big in stinky hick arizona which is the butthole of america. How is he gonna teach people english when he drawls in that dumb american drawl that all blue collar working class idiots have.

Michele
Michele

Lisa? You are kidding with this statement, right? "the criminals belong behind bars...they shouldnt get any privileges and they shouldn't have any fairness"

WHICH of the people who died before they EVEN GOT TO TRIAL was a criminal? How do you KNOW they were a criminal? SIMPLY for being arrested? The arresting office is not judge and jury -- and the sheriff's office shouldn't be executioner.

One of the women who died was arrested for RIDING in a car that had been reported stolen. RIDING in it. A PASSENGER, who may or may not have even known the status of the car! But she'll never get to tell her side of the story because she died a horrible and excruciate death as all of her body organs shut down when she was REFUSED the insulin that would keep her alive.

Thank god THAT "CRIMINAL" will never get to RIDE in another stolen car again!! We are SO much safer as a community now!

gladiata
gladiata

Intimidating politicians and blatant disrespect to the justice system and human rights in general...hang at tent City and experience the rats,cold,no hot water, or heat,noxious fumes,unidentifiable (sic) food,bird crap in your sleeping cot,inches of water and soaked sleeping mats.DO's that graduated from evil college,who change the rules daily.I could go on but you would throw up.

Peggy Simpson
Peggy Simpson

Anyone who still supports Joe Arpaio is either just as corrupt, immoral and mean as he is or they have a personality disorder that prevents them from admitting when they have been wrong. The fact that he is still sheriff is probably the most amazing thing that I have known in my life.....and I'm 65 years old!

Lisa
Lisa

you people are really scary...Sheriff joe is the only one that CARES about the citizens of phoenix...the criminals belong behind bars...they shouldnt get any privileges and they shouldn't have any fairness...they are criminals...I kinda figured it, though as New Times always has tried its best to show the bad side of everything..that's the only way they get any readers....readers, who in my opinion are less than intelligent...to print something like this about a public official...shows your level of intelligence...shame on you...

Anyone in Maricopa county who respects the laws of this community and state will continue to stand behind our Sheriff....YOU GO JOE....WE LOVE YOU.

Sue
Sue

Clint Bolick is the biggest hypocrite of all time - now he signs on to Andrew Thomas re-election campaign - are you kidding me

Larry
Larry

If we are to get rid of corrupt tyrants like Candy and Joke, don't sit back expecting an investigation by the state or fed to get rid of them. If it even happened, it would take well over a year. Next year we all have the chance to vote both of these scums out of office. Don't expect other people to wake up and go out and vote for Sabin and whoever runs against Candy. Make sure YOU are registered, and get off your asses and go to the polls and put your vote where your mouth is . Really, you don't even need to do it on election day, you can ask for a mail in ballot or go to County Elections and vote early the week before,if that would be convenient. If you can't be bothered to vote, then shut up about it, because you aren't helping anything. You can bet your ass and the farm that every hard headed brainless geezer in Sun City & Sun Lakes will be out there voting for both idiots. Only you and the rest of us can make a change at the polls. We can be rid of both of them in a year!

Morris1
Morris1

I agree with #12. The FBI and US Attorney General needs to be notified of this. Why with all this information would the State of Arizona allow this to continue? If your politicians are this weak you really need some Federal help. Call in the BIGGER DOGS!

Emma
Emma

This really absolutely blows me away! How stupid can one county be? I guess maybe it's just the San Francisco Liberal in me that is just screaming!!!! The sherriff and Thomas have got to go... Beware you have no rights in this county. Great Article!! Paints the entire picture! I've never voted for him and never will!!!

Patt
Patt

The scariest thing about Joe Arpaio, is the people who continue to elect him.

Angel
Angel

It just goes to show that power in the wrong hands corrupts, the next thing you know they will have us all running around in short pants shouting Joe is God, frankly i think that instead of taking it to the Arizona Attoney General they should take it to the US Attorney General and the FBI to investigate the multitude of injustices at the hands of Andrew Thomas and Sherrif Joe.

They make me not want to vote or to change parties, as for what he did to Dan Saban all I ca say is this, from what I have heard of the man (which is quit alot from my own source) He is a fine leader at his job, who has integrity ad loyalty to those who deserve it. what was done to him is a shame and i hope that he runs agains Joe again and wins. This is not a police state.

Anonymous
Anonymous

Ode to Sheriff Joe Arpaio.

Out in Arizona there�s a sheriff named JoeA man you really don�t want to know. He seeks praise in the morning, praise at nightHe bellows and blows, with all of his might. His tongue is his drum his lips are his fifeHe needs attention to survive in this life. With his trusty .50 he rides on his tankIs he there, I wonder, to protect the bank? No the reply, a long way from it, Such media hype, it makes some want to vomit. Says Joe to Critics, �But my toys are essentialThere really important, because I am special. . �I�ll lock e�m up with underwear pink,To eat old bologna that�s green and stinks. Those programs are sacred, according to JoeBut many know better, it really just for show. Still lacking in honesty and truth like in the pastHis ranking in openness, really, that�s last. His treatment for those who have crossed the lineHe becomes a tyrants, he gives them little time. With the demeanor and grace of a hungry boar hogHis fellow men and associates he treats like a dog. With those of his ilk, Adolph, Stalin and others,No question at all, he�s one of their brothers. Joe�s retribution is sharp like a swordDeputies and others dare not say a word.Officials and citizens will all cringe in fear Whenever our egotistical tyrant is near. They must watch their tongue, they used to be freeJoe says, �They still are as long as they agree with me.� For county Maricopa, Joe has not come cheapOf lawsuits and such you�ll never hear him peep. Among us friends, �its a million here or there?After all its only money, the taxpayers shouldn�t care. .When came this Lone Ranger on the scene minus TontoHe promised to cleanup crime very pronto.But the dark little secret, in his war against crimeHe�s a sadist, a Neanderthal, way behind the time. He�s a very quick study, he�s all about blusterOf humanity to man, he�ll never make muster. Just like his ethics his stature is small, But sine die is not his nature at all.Like the tyrant he is, he can�t understandWhy his days to rule we would like to see end. When he departs this wonderful world The one in which he made many twirl,Without his consent or even a wordHe�ll be sent very quickly off to the morgue.From that time he�ll certainly discoverIt�s too late now to run for cover.Like fabled Marley, he�ll then be a ghostAnd start the journey, will it end in a roast? Will he then find, to his utter dismayDecent treatment of people is a much better way.With chains self-forged heavy, weighted downWill he soon be wandering all around town?Chain gangs, tent city and other locations To see inhumanity he set in motion. Some have been fooled and think he�s a giftBut he certainly has put the law adrift, A wretched creature, sad to look upon The chains he forged go on and on. In his wanderings he may have to viewThe many wretches he once knewHe could have helped them to a better lifeBut his cruel intent was grief and strife.Now through eternity he may goTo his proper fate, yes, ol�e Sheriff Joe. Questions asked will certainly not beAbout the tent city you wanted the public to see, Or how much pain, no it wasn�t necessary, For those in your charge that had to tarry. Mans welfare is your business, that you already knowYou�ll get your reward when you get below. With lies you belong, you are full of hatred and deceit, Those warm coals may soon be toasting your feet.Do unto others, didn�t he ask that of you? But, No, self-promotion was all you knew. What did you do with your days that were numbered?Make people miserable, no help for those who hungered. Did you ever extend your hands out to all?No, but you did all you could to make them look small. Your days they are numbered, no one knows how manyBut you, who could have helped did not �give a fig or a penny�You lacked compassion for those in your chargeWith you, little old sheriff, that order was too large.Don�t you know keeping us safe in the landDoes not call for brutalizing those in your hand? Now in time your body will lay on that slabAs your alumni cheer, their heart is very glad.Mr. O�Dell, The undertaker Digby by name Has come to let you down, last, yes, that is his game. The problem he has with you is that of a blevie and To find the answer, Digby must think very heavy. A blevie, you ask, just what might that be But the answer is really not hard to see. A blevie to most can best be describedAs a 5 pound sack, with 10 pounds of manure inside. Now back to old Digby, so solemn around town If he accomplishes this feat, he�ll soon be renowned Ole Digby will pull he will push and then thrust Cause Joe�s box is too small, but in Digby there�s trust. With Digby the light goes on, he�s a genius not a foolThe answer was something he learned back in school.Inserting the tube in the appropriate spot,Turning the switch the device getting hot. Joe�s middle it slowly starts to subside As the contents flow into the sink from his insidesOld Digby then left the room His lunch to eat, you see it was noon. But on and on churned the trusty machineIt worked and it worked, Joe�s insides became clean. When it was finished, awe filled the airThere was room in the box and plenty to spare. Now the original box planned for his worshipCould hold 50 his size and not one would slip. Digby knew of a box, how great it would fitSo much room, in it Joe upright could sitAway to a closet he flew like a flash Gleefully dancing and singing, back he did dash.By now you will know or probably guessedAlthough in this small box, Joe would not be compressed.Yes, the size of this box will certainly do, There�s plenty of room without shoe number two.The story is legend and causes wry smilesReally its true, Digby�s without guile. No matter the size be it large, medium or smallDigby can find the right box for all.

Anonymous

Erika Page
Erika Page

Thanks for all the info. Regular Citizens like me ignore whats really going on. People please weak up this is hurting our state we can have this people on our public offices. Keep the good work to inform the society.

P.S. Burton
P.S. Burton

For more then a decade you have offered detail on the sheriff. To what end? If anything the popularity of Joe Arpaio reveals what a lot of worthless indifferent individuals the majority of Phoenicians are. Our leaders reflect more or less the kind of people who elect them.

CooperG
CooperG

So where is the rest of the "main-stream media" on this? Why are they so cowardly about reporting this stuff? This should be on the cover of every newspaper in the state. They should be ashamed of themselves. Maybe we ought to organize an effort to write complaint letters to the FCC when their licenses are up for renewal that they're ignoring the public good.

Clint Bolick
Clint Bolick

Thanks to New Times once again for its probing investigative journalism. One small but significant nit: in its description of Tim LaSota, who is a fine attorney, the article refers to his membership in the "far right" Federalist Society. The Federalist Society is comprised of thousands of attorneys and law students who run the gamut from conservative to moderate to libertarian. It includes the likes of Richard Epstein and Robert Bork, who fundamentally disagree on constitutional interpretation. The Society does not take positions on any public policy issues, but hosts hundreds of debates every year, always including moderate and liberal perspectives. Several law school deans have remarked to me that their schools would have no debate whatsoever were it not for the Federalist Society. I have been a card-carrying member of the Society for two decades yet sided unequivocally with New Times in the subpoena dispute with the County Attorney's office. The only thing one can infer about an attorney associated with the Federalist Society is that he or she believes strongly in the Constitution---though what that means varies widely among individual members. Neither the Society nor all or even many of its members are "far right." For a newspaper that values intellectual diversity, membership in a truly diverse organization shouldn't count as a strike.

Clint BolickGoldwater Institute

Lucinda
Lucinda

The ongoing stories about abuses by the sheriff are horrifying.

Doesn't the federal government have the authority to investigate the repeated civil rights violations?

Donny Brook
Donny Brook

Attention Sheriff Joke, Adolf Hendersh_tt and Candy_ss Thomas! Your days of running roughshod over the rights and lives of the good people in this County are over! The Citizen's Selective Enforcement Unit is at this very moment amassing evidence that will bring an inglorious end to your blighted (and bloated) careers. Any and all missteps are being recorded, your activities and daily routines are being followed and even the company you keep is being scrutinized.Remember, this is only the beginning. The heat will be continually increased until you are publicly humiliated and unceremoniously and permanently ousted from public service. You are violators of the public trust and deserve a heaping dose of citizen justice. It's on the way!

Dr. John
Dr. John

Kudos to New Times for having the moxie to stand up for what's right, call an ass, an ass, and shine the spotlight on the evil of what has become politics in the Valley of the Sun. No southern good ol' boy network, including the infamous Macon County, has ever eclipsed the shenanigans Arcarupto and his gang have pulled in MC.

Now, if the residents of Sun City would just get a clue, you might be able to get rid of him and all his flunkies, including his boy toy Thomas.

Jim Cozzolino
Jim Cozzolino

After reading this again.....You know what I find so offensive about all this ?

There are no safety measurers in place, no checks and balances, no morals or ethics, and no one to protect any of us against tyrants running wild like Joe Arpaio, Dave Hendershott or Andrew Thomas. We are on our own against a system that is truly blind.Expect help from other elected leaders ? Don�t hold your breath, their more worried about protecting their own political asses than come to anyone�s aid or do the right thing when it comes to votes and politics�. Politicians = totally worthless, nothing but whores.

Yes, people will say you can sue them if they violate your rights and have your day in court. What those people don�t realize is what you go through during the violation of your rights, the during, the aftermath, the financial cost fighting for your innocence, the unwarranted publicity and slander or the toll it takes on yourself and family.

When it�s all said and done, then comes the civil suit and you get to relive the entire ordeal again mentally. Imagine spending 8 years of your life living this nightmare. I did, except it wasn�t a nightmare, it was reality.

What kind of country is America when we allow tyrants like this to run ramped over our lives ? What kind of country do we live in that the law enforcement and prosecutors we trust to uphold the law are the ones that violate the laws the most ? Criminals commit crimes, eventually get caught and go to prison. Arpaio, Hendershott, Thomas and many others associated with these clowns do it routinely but get to hide behind badges and titles and go free while spitting in the face of justice along the way.

I was a victim of all this, just one of many. At least I didn�t lose my life or spend years in jail or prison as so many have. So I guess I�m lucky.

Wonder why so many have no trust in law enforcement, the prosecutors or the justice system anymore. Maybe it�s because they have been also a victim and have learned the hard way that none of them can be trusted to be honest, fair or protect the rights of those outside their circle. Assholes like Arpaio, Hendershott and Thomas show us that everyday.

When the law breaks the law and the justice system looks the other way, there is no law, just a fight for survival. It�s a sad, sad time when any of us can sit back and allow this to happen in America.

Arpaio, his Goons and Thomas need to be sent packing in 2008. Jail would be better�.

This is not the America I grew up in and spent 4 years in the US Marine Corps fighting for.

Nice job Sarah !

Jim Cozzolino

Jim Cozzolino
Jim Cozzolino

:-)It's time to show the public just who Bozo Joke Arpaio and his Goons just really are and why they represent everything bad in law enforcement and politic's.Well done Sarah. Looking forward to the rest of the series.Jim

 
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