The relentless raptor sinks his beak into the tyranny of Sheriff Joe Arpaio and County Attorney Andrew Thomas

POLICE STATE

Landscapers and lawyers. Cops and candle makers. Reporters and corn vendors. Undocumented immigrants and ordinary schmucks. You.

What does everyone (The Bird included) have to fear in Maricopa County? Trumped-up charges. Getting arrested and having to cool your heels in stir. Bogus allegations costing thousands of dollars in legal bills. Being detained en masse with fellow employees while armed thugs sort through the lot of you and decide whom to collar and whom to release.

Or you could enter Joe Arpaio's roach motel of a jail on some flimsy rap and never come out. Maybe you are diabetic, and you don't get your medicine on time. Or maybe you get beaten to death by the guards, or fellow inmates.

Them's the breaks in Joe's medieval gulags.

What The Bird's saying is that as long as Arpaio's sheriff, and Andrew Thomas remains County Attorney and Arpaio's willing ally in his extra-constitutional shenanigans, no one's safe from the MCSO boot. Rich or poor, white or brown, powerful or meek, it doesn't matter. You might think you're an upstanding citizen, a pillar of your community, following the letter of the law, but the boot will still find your blemish-less neck and grind it mercilessly into the ground.

Take Dan Pochoda, 66, the legal director of the Arizona ACLU. Back on November 3, he stopped by M.D. Pruitt's Home Furnishings to meet activist Salvador Reza, who was then leading a peaceful protest against Pruitt's decision to use off-duty sheriff's deputies as security. As a result, the MCSO was patrolling that area of Thomas Road, busting anyone suspected as an illegal immigrant.

Pochoda parked in Pruitt's parking lot. He passed sheriff's deputies on his way to the sidewalk where Reza was. Their chat took less than 10 minutes, and he walked back to his car.

Sheriff's goons called after him, and jogged to where he was, yelling for him to stop. He complied with their order, and they flanked him on either side. He told them who he was, and that he was about to leave. Though Pochoda was seconds away from hopping in his car and motoring off, the deputies arrested him for trespassing.

"The whole concept of being commanded to stop on your way out so they can tell you that you have to get out is so beyond surreal," Pochoda told The Bird.

Yeah, surreal like a scene out of Franz Kafka's The Trial. A third-degree misdemeanor is usually something for which police just cite and release you. So, of course, the MCSO bulldogs cuffed him and bundled him off to the Fourth Avenue Jail. Days before, Pochoda had been to his orthopedic surgeon for serious back trouble. When they slapped the steel bracelets on him, he was in agony.

"As soon as they handcuffed me behind my back, it was excruciating pain," Pochoda recalled. "I told them that, but the deputy said, 'These are not meant to be comfortable.'"

Pochoda was in jail for 10 hours 'til a pal bailed him out. His car was impounded. Since he was on ACLU business at the time, the civil liberties organization hired two hotshot legal beagles from Osborn Maledon to defend him. That firm donated $10K, and the ACLU picked up the rest. Total bill: Just over $30K.

Candy Thomas sicced his finest Doberman on Pochoda — Deputy County Attorney Lisa Aubuchon, the MCAO's Office Bureau Chief, even though a small-potatoes case like this is usually handled by some fresh-from-law-school punk still moist behind the head-handles.

Four MCSO deputies sat in court for about five hours to testify against Pochoda when they could've been off, like, fighting crime or something. Aubuchon still lost the case, despite all of the wasted resources.

Aubuchon also fumbled the case of Sergeant Thomas Lovejoy, the Chandler cop Arpaio pursued after Lovejoy accidentally let his K9 dog Bandit die in a hot police vehicle. Lovejoy was found not guilty in the doggy's demise. Shortly thereafter, he filed a notice of claim against the county for $350K. Pochoda's filed a notice of claim, too, for $400K. In this falcon's eye, they deserve every penny.

They didn't ask for the boot to fall on them, for these cases to hang over their heads for months, or to be arrested, booked, and jailed. And they're not the only ones who've found themselves in similar straits.

Before Thomas took office, Arpaio already had a exacted a roll call of persecutions, from former Arpaio aide and sheriff hopeful Tom Bearup and Joe critic Jim Cozzolino to current Joe foe Dan Saban. They've all had to face false charges, smears, or harassment. Their stories were documented by this beaker's colleague Sarah Fenske in her story "Enemies List" (November 29, 2007).

Together Thomas and Arpaio have added to the dragnet, pulling in this blackbird's bosses, Village Voice Media Executive Editor Michael Lacey and VVM CEO Jim Larkin, rousting them in the middle of the night on misdemeanor charges that Thomas had to abandon less than 24 hours later.

Still under the steel toe: New Times reporter Ray Stern, cited by members of the same MCSO Selective Enforcement Unit that dragged off Lacey and Larkin last October. His crime? Wanting to photograph public documents in the office of the sheriff's taxpayer-supported private lawyer, Michele Iafrate.

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12 comments
wynncar
wynncar

Just listening to Arpio speak in interviews, it becomes obvious how thoughtless, inefficient, and arrogant he is. What is with the voters of Arizona??? Are more than half of them over the age of 80??? because that is the only way his popularity makes any sense at all.

harryorielly
harryorielly

Sheriff Joe is a good man and the lawlwss scuzzbuckets wanna destroy him- GOD BLESS AMERiCA- keep going Joe because there are millions of us out here that know Obama has deceived America- and alotta rich powerful people are behind him who are evil-

babosoff30
babosoff30

And who is protecting America? not obama, not janet who claimed it was a federal issue when she was Governor. Now she is the fed. it is a law that was passed by voters.

this administration is against everything America stands for like laws. they supply cartels with ghuns that KlLL our own agents. that are used to mur_der Americans and mexicans.

95% of lllegals in AZ are from south of the boarder, they cause havoc in our system, calls in phoenix are 75% hispanic related, if you think i am wrong then download a scanner app and

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Former Republican
Former Republican

The County Attorney's oath of office clearly states that he is to act apolitically and as a minister of justice. Seeking the truth and fair justice seems to escape Thomas in his quest to destroy lives, families and their children, for his own personal agenda.

This Republican will vote for Dan Saban for Sheriff and Tim Nelson for County Attorney.

Doug Reilly
Doug Reilly

I am truly surprised that someone has not taken that punk Arpaio out yet. I guess its probably just a matter of time. He'll screw with the wrong person one day and become a distant memory!

Doug Reillywww.FireMe.To/udi

Coz
Coz

There is enough of us that have been harassed and had our Contitutional Rights violated by these Monkey's.

Maybe it's time we all band together and start a Class Action Suit against Arpaio, Thomas, Maricopa County and the Board of Stupidvisors....

Vote out Thomas/Joe
Vote out Thomas/Joe

The really sad thing about these men is the destroying of lives these men have caused for their own political gain. Courtney Bisbee is in jail used by these men when we were all hot on child molesters, nevermind there was no evidence to support the facts. An innocent women lost her child, her live as she knew it. Anyone who looks at the story can tell it was a child custody case where the ex-husband buried his ex-wife alive in Sheriff Joe's prison. Thomas has had the recanted testimony for over a year. It is not about justice. It is all about headlines. Dan Saban knows this, Lisa Aubuchon says everyone is guilty she is a charging officer...with that mentality the county attorney is not discriminate with the cases. Moms at malls,Andrew Thomas thinks women who put there children in daycare should be put in jail. Joe has just gotten feeble. Thomas will hide behind illegal immigration so you don't notice his theft of funds from Maricopa County for billboards, brochures. I am sickened evrytime I see the mothers who lost their children to drugs and hear Andrew Thomas's voice as a tag line. He has utilized these mothers grief as a political ploy. If he was doing his job and sheriff joe was doing his job the drug dealers would be caught and prosecuted. They are pretending to be a sheriff and a county attorney. Hopefully the citizens of Maricopa County will realize the Joe and Andy show is in reruns and we need to cancel this show. I heard on the KFYI this morning Sheriff Joe say he would "enforce the laws he wants to enforce." Thomas will prosecute the cases he wants to prosecute. This is not ethical, it is not right. Selective enforcement is what led to the New Times arrest.I am a conservative Republican not a liberal. These men are corrupt and self serving. This election residents of Maricopa County should educate themselves to the facts and vote accordingly. If you do Dan Saban and Tim Nelson should be elected.

Coz
Coz

Geez, Maricopa County sucks. It's becomming more and more like Nazi Germany everyday here.

Where the law can break the law anytime they want and trample all over the US Constitution anytime they feel like it with the blessing of other Politicians.

Maybe what Maricopa County needs is a good old fashion major riot for rights and to take back over this Nazi mentality that is destroying Maricopa County.

George Wells
George Wells

What's the matter with people in Arizona? Do they enjoy living in this police state Mr. Lemons describes? Apparently they do. I would say they deserve what they get, except that too many innocent are trampled underfoot as well. I can only hope Arpaio loses reelection. But as long as he stays in power, I'll be avoiding Maricopa County in my travels.

 
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