In a June 17 editorial titled "Paranoia-ville," the Arizona Republic described what happened next: "Then, with tensions escalating, Assistant City Attorney Elaine Caldwell arrived along with four Phoenix officers. Reading the relevant statutes, Caldwell stated, for the second time that day, that Stern had as much right to view the records as they did."

In his internal report to Chief Deputy David Hendershott, Captain Miller proudly recounts taunting Stern, provoking the reporter with the barely masked intent of arresting yet another journalist. When the Phoenix Police intervened, Miller suffered a meltdown.

"The [Phoenix PD] Commander told me that I shouldn't arrest Stern because the documents were public record," noted Captain Miller. "I was flabbergasted at his response and became animated with him. I explained that if Stern touched any deputy, he would be arrested and it would not be wise for him to interfere with us if we took that action . . . I warned the commander that if he interfered with our arrest, there would be a problem."

For the record, Stern never touched, expressed an interest in touching, or moved to touch a deputy. This bogeyman sprang from Captain Miller's fervid imagination.

Captain Miller went on to conclude that he and his men were "humiliated" and believed, for numerous reasons, that the "City Attorney conspired in some way to partner with Stern."

This is stunning nonsense. At the very moment that Miller fantasized about a conspiracy, the Phoenix City Attorney was, in fact, prosecuting Stern in the Arpaio/Iafrate/Thomas case. They were hardly co-conspirators.

The confrontation over the City Hall e-mails was defused only when concerned staffers made available to Stern the documents the sheriff's deputies had already copied. With the Phoenix police as bodyguards, Stern reviewed the public records.


Ray Stern has taken photographs of public records, without incident, at the state Department of Public Safety. How did Stern legally take photographs of public records in that instance and then get a criminal complaint thrown at him by Michele Iafrate for the same activity?

In a rather remarkable exchange, Stern's city of Phoenix prosecutor provided a startling insight. Iafrate did not initially seek criminal charges against the reporter.

Suskin asked city prosecutor Diana Herrera why Iafrate had not called Phoenix police, or dialed 911, if she had a disorderly conduct situation on her hands?

Why had she called Arpaio's command staff?

Herrera informed Suskin that Iafrate had merely called the sheriff, her client, to update him on Stern's record inspection. She did not call seeking to file charges.

Herrera recounted her initial remarks to Steve Suskin during the deposition of another witness: "Her primary purpose of calling the sheriff's department at all, was to let them know [that] hey, this is occurring, because it's going to affect another case in which they're involved in."

Prosecutor Herrera added, "She was calling to let them know that this is going to affect the timeline."

Somewhere in "the gap" between Stern's visit to Iafrate's office at 9 a.m. and the phone call from Detective Graham to Iafrate, someone — not Iafrate — decided to go after the reporter on criminal charges.

And what timeline of another case might Iafrate have had in mind?

We do not know precisely, because Iafrate declared herself a victim of Ray Stern and asserted her right not to answer any questions.

But we do know that on the morning in question, October 18, Thomas, Arpaio, and Wilenchik were already preparing our arrests. Grand jury documents, subsequently released by the judge, show that on that day Wilenchik demanded from the court the arrest of Jim Larkin, Michael Lacey, and our attorneys, Tom Henze, Janey Henze, and Steve Suskin. The authorities also sought $90 million in fines. All this retribution stemmed from the article we published October 18 revealing the existence of the illegal grand jury.

We further know that another of Arpaio's attorneys, Wilenchik, was in direct contact that day with the Sheriff's Office.

What we do not yet know is: Who in the Sheriff's Office decided to roll Ray Stern into this ongoing assault upon the press?

When Michele Iafrate called to update the sheriff on Stern's review of the public records, who suggested she had the makings of a criminal complaint?

Who told Chief Freeman to tell Sergeant Gentry to order Detective Graham to snap the Selective Enforcement Unit into action?

By the end of the business day on October 18, everyone had their game faces on.

Around 4:30 p.m., New Times' lawyers received a fax from the courts: Dennis Wilenchik had asked the judge to arrest me, Jim Larkin, and three of our paper's attorneys.

Between 4:30 and 5, Gentry instructed Graham to file criminal charges against Ray Stern.

No deputy had interviewed Stern.

The men from Arpaio's Selective Enforcement Unit did not wait for a ruling from the judge. On the evening of October 18, they descended upon my home, Jim Larkin's home, and Ray Stern's home.


On Wednesday, September 3, nearly a year after knocking on Michele Iafrate's door, Stern will return to court, seeking to have the charge dismissed on constitutional grounds. Non-provocative speech directed at a government agent cannot be criminal because of the First Amendment of the Constitution, Suskin argues.

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My Voice Nation Help
33 comments
Jeff Turner
Jeff Turner

You guys are doing a great job reporting government corruption. Certainly (and unfortunately) there seems to be job security in that field. But who's job is it to police the police, or to prosecute the prosecutor. Whoever it is, they don't seem to be doing there job to well.

Emil Pulsifer
Emil Pulsifer

Thanks, "Native Arizonan since 1956". However, the items by me which were deleted consisted of some speculations about the identity, etc., of Equity & Friends, and as such were in fact off-topic; furthermore, once Equity's blather was deleted, my response referencing details of it would merely be confusing to anyone recently arrived on the scene. So, while I appreciate your kind words of support, in this instance I don't mind: I'm just glad to see the spam disappear.

E.T. Arnold Jr.
E.T. Arnold Jr.

I smell a movie in the making. What better time for a story based on government lies and abuse of the people? I was born and raised in Phoenix, Arizona (South Mountain area) and went to tempe schools (8 years at Kyrene)so, I know Maricopa county. As a teenager, 13 years old, freshman year at McKlintock, I ran away from home and was caught and held at the Durango juvenile detention center. I hid in the projection box in an attempt to escape. When they found me, I was repeatedly kicked by an officer wearing pointed cowboy boots. I understand from a brother that worked at a juvenile prison that the juveniles are still beaten and abused. Arizona must be proud. My problem at home was my stepdad was a full blown alcoholic. He was the sole survivor of a B-29 shot down over Tokyo in WWII. I saw him do things I can't relate here. I was a good kid, asked to address the graduation ceremonies at Kyrene a year earlier. I was abused at the hands of the staff of the Durango facility. It appears the county officials believe they can abuse people in perpetuity, now acting like Nazi SS thugs. If I show up with my camera, will I get jailed and beaten?

Native Arizonan since 1956
Native Arizonan since 1956

I appreciate the deletion of comments from Equity Court Services. Their comments are usually off-topic and self promotional in nature.However, the deletion of comments from Emil Pulsifer leave me puzzled. This is a contributor who is usually on target regarding the topic and often quite well reasoned, not to mention civil in nature, unlike some contributors.Please exercise great judiciousness before deleting comments. Thanks

Dan
Dan

Is this the same Ray Stern who was fired from The East Valley Tribune and couldn't get a job with anyone but the NewTimes?

Bye Bye Phil!
Bye Bye Phil!

This comment was deleted for being off topic.

Coz
Coz

Thank you !

>>This comment was deleted for being off topic.Comment by Equity Court Services from Phoenix on Aug 29th, 2008, 10:17 am

Emil Pulsifer
Emil Pulsifer

Would someone PLEASE inform the code-monkeys at Phoenix New Times that the title of the article, as shown on the home page, now reads: "Arpaio Can?t Justify Charging Ray Stern".

Note the substitution of a QUESTION MARK where an apostrophe should be.

Emil Pulsifer
Emil Pulsifer

This comment was deleted for being off topic.

Emil Pulsifer
Emil Pulsifer

This comment was deleted for being off topic.

Keith Hardy
Keith Hardy

Take these corrupt bastards down. Sherriff Joe is a complete scumbag and bully. Follow his money trail with his property in Fountain Hills and his involvement with the gaming. Expose this bastard and lets put him behind bars in pink underwear where he belongs.

Emil Pulsifer
Emil Pulsifer

Re: Comment nos. 11 and 14

Ahm taen out ma wee pen knife, Johnny...

E.T. Arnold Jr.
E.T. Arnold Jr.

Is there any doubt why the "Extra-terrestrials" that placed man on this earth (we are the offspring and siblings of the ET's) are currently on their way to this planet to eradicate the filth in human government? In fact, they are going to annhilate all human forms of government and their evil human cogs and establish a perfect government for mankind everywhere. First, after crushing the vermin ruining the earth and causing the suffering of it's inhabitants, the ET government will eradicate all forms of disese and sickness! The erath's weather will be brought under control and the mountains will overflow with an overabundance of healthful, healing produce. PEACE will be found everywhere while evildoers and their foul deeds will be not be found anywhere! Mankind will be put back on it's original path of learning and exploration as we devote all our energy to the benefit of our fellow man and our ET family. Juast as space has no bounds or end, so will the future of man be filled with wondrous things. We will enjoy these things to time indefinite as we enjoy one of the greatest benefits from the ET's, the end of the great enemy death. Yes, one of the lasting benefits the ET government will bestow upon us is eternal life...eternal life that we may see and rejoice in the good deeds of our own hand! Now, who in their right mind would not welcome the ETs when they arrive? Obviously, the vermin for which the ETs hold a death warrant! The ETs placed their law code in the physical make-up of the human race. We call it our conscience. It looks like the vermin that have broken the laws of the ETs are going to be rounded up shortly and put to the fire of destruction! Now that I have let the cat out of the bag, is the sheriff going to come and arrest me? I always got a kick out of the tough sheriff but, IF he is violating the constitution my father and uncles died to defend, then he is the enemy just like Hitler, PolPot, Joe Stalin, and all the vile murdering vermin we had to eradicate. You cannot swear to uphold the constitution in the executution of your duties for which you are taking taxpayor dollars for your livelihood then violate the constitution and your oath as it suits you. NO SIR! You dishonor all those that have fought and died for the very thing you now violate. If its all true, put him in his pink underwear, and feed him baloney and no coffee. Another example of how absolute power corrupts...IF its all true...and it sure looks like is! Of course, if Joe's laundry is prefectly clean, why not show it to the world just like the pink underwear he is so famous for? Why all the dirty tricks if you have nothing to hide Joe?

Emil Pulsifer
Emil Pulsifer

Great article, Mr. Lacey. First rate. Thanks especially for the revelation that Uncle Joe & Friends attempt to intimidate political and other opponents by (a) determining if they have any incarcerated friends or relatives, and (b) threatening to expose them to harm in Arpaio's gang-infested jails. MCSO doesn't, of course, have to make explicit threats: as in the example given, its agents can simply make pointed observations and let the imaginations of the victims do the rest. Let's hope that the past actions of these thugs and their mouthpieces catch up with them.

By the way, please delete the long, long spam posting (Comment #11 by Equity Court Services). Surely you understand that it's a non-starter? By the time the readers puzzle their way through it, they're exhausted and have forgotten about both the article and the comments actually germane to it. Please don't allow loons (whether genuine or simulated) to discourage reader feedback by turning the comment sections into a vast wasteland of irrelevant nonsense. Criticism or even abuse is one thing, provided it's on topic, but this is something else entirely. (The inclusion of a few random references to the article's contents is merely camouflage -- the Trojan Horse by which he hopes his irrelevant junk-bomb can be smuggled in without deletion.)

abogada987
abogada987

to Who Cares from Yuma: I know lots of good folks from Yuma who don't suffer from your indifference to responisve, accountable government.

Keep up the good work Stern and Lacey.

gizzard
gizzard

Another lawsuit heading your way Arpaio. Nice job on the Dowling case also, more tax dollars wasted and your stupidity still shines on!

Dan Farrell Davis
Dan Farrell Davis

Mr. Lacey -- Just as New Times was way ahead of criminal proceedings against Charles Keating, we look forward to the day that Sheriff Arpaio and this cronies will get their own charges, convictions and jail time.

Mr. Lacey, you are a true hero.

Steve
Steve

The bully and the perpetual victim are at it again. Big deal. This was a waste of column space.

Who Cares
Who Cares

I want the 15 minutes of my life back it took to read this stupid article. Both sides sound like children squabbling over nothing. One acts like a bully, the other a perpetual victim who whines all the time.

Coz
Coz

I'm looking forward to the day they all go to jail so they can suffer the same pain, torture and harassment they have so happily placed done onto others.

Native Arizonan since 1956
Native Arizonan since 1956

Arpaio and Thomas are digging their own graves (figuratively). Their careers will be remembered for their waste, their arrogance and their lack of any meaningful contribution to society. I look forward to the day that both are unemployed.

kathleen
kathleen

Isn't it time to have our actions speak louder than all of Thomas and Arpaio's rhetoric. VOTE them out. Saban and Richard for Sheriff and County Attorney. Their actions (Thomas and Arpaio)speak so loudly who can possibly hear what they have to say.

Coz
Coz

Amazing....When do these Assholes, Low life Dirtbags, Scum Buckets, Nim Rods....Arpaio, his Monkey's, Thomas and the rest of these Bigger Than Life Scumbags go to jail themselves ?

Concerned Citizen
Concerned Citizen

All I see is thousands of dollars of wasted taxpayers money and abuse of power by the sheriff's office. Once again, all this time, money and resources would be better spent on the violent criminals rather than used to retaliate against their perceived enemies -- the press. Thank you New Times for keeping the public informed of the facts and details, while the other media cover what's fed to them by the sheriff and county attorney's offices.

skepticguy
skepticguy

@Dan yep. the same ray stern who now works for his wife at a paper known for its fabrications.

 
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