Feedback from the Issue of Thursday, September 25, 2008


Crackers, gimme a break: The Juan Mendoza Farias case is so typical of what has gone on repeatedly in Sheriff Joe Arpaio's jails. Somebody gets put inside for a minor crime (in the great scheme of things) — drunk driving, getting high on drugs — and winds up slain at the hands of Joe's detention officers ("Dead Again," John Dickerson, September 11).

That is, prisoners get capital punishment for misdemeanor violations (though at the point they are killed, they haven't been convicted of anything). These aren't even accused murderers, rapists, big drug dealers, and armed robbers we're talking about here!

What the crackers in Maricopa County who keep electing Joe can't get through their thick heads is that it's illegal for jail or prison guards to kill even violent, convicted offenders — much less these petty possible lawbreakers.

If you ignorant rednecks don't care about the barbarity, you should at least care about the amount of money — almost $44 million — Joe's stupidity has cost county taxpayers. Because Arpaio has infused his jails with a climate of inhumanity that he calls "law and order," we're all paying through the nose.

And it's just dumb for voters and the county Board of Supervisors to let Arpaio get away with it — over and over.

I'll admit that, when I look at Juan Farias, what I see is a drunk. But Arpaio's guards aren't allowed to abuse the guy because he's out of his mind due to alcohol withdrawal, drugs, whatever. Professional law enforcement people know how to handle such situations without costing lives and untold millions of dollars in lawsuit payouts.

If this were any of the other five biggest counties in the nation, Joe and his detention officers who commit such atrocities would be in, or headed for, jail.
J.T. Gallagher, Phoenix

The bodies continue to stack up: The FBI's already investigating Joe Arpaio and his operation on a variety of levels. Let's just hope that the Juan Mendoza Farias case gives the bureau even more to go on. The bodies just keep stacking up — as do the lawsuit judgments. This hugely expensive cruelty can't go on forever, can it?
Sean Sullivan, Phoenix

Fred's the sensitive type: Scratch one taco. Juan Farias doesn't have to worry about where his next drinks are coming from. He can sleep his drunk off for all eternity.

Joe Arpaio's doing this county a service. He's ironing out these kinds of losers so that they will become horizontal.

You ought to do a story on how the losers' parents came into millions of dollars milking their sons' deaths in county jail. They're laughing all the way to the bank. Arpaio did these inmates a favor by putting them out of their misery and making their parents millionaires.

Ninty-five percent of the people in the county jail will be found guilty, so why cry about it?
Fred Linsenmeyer, Phoenix

What's next, an inmate lynching?: So let me get this straight: Guards have [fatally] beaten inmates and nothing has happened.

Earth to FBI: Time to do your jobs already, or are you waiting until the Maricopa County Sheriff's Office starts lynching inmates publicly in front of the jail?

I mean, come on, already! How far does it have to go until someone stops what's amounting to county-sponsored [killing of inmates]? It's time someone stepped up and proved that cops aren't above the law. Without cops you have anarchy, but with cops and detention officers continuing to break the law you have insanity.

I find it totally amusing also that County Attorney Andrew Thomas recently accused Democratic opponent Tim Nelson of taking donations from defense attorneys so that they can get better deals. Hey, Andy, try prosecuting one of the many [crimes] by detention officers before you start that BS.
David Saint, Phoenix

You get a clue!: You writers down at New Times are really a bunch of wise guys. Sheriff Joe does his job and tackles the tough job of dealing with illegal immigration.

Get a real job other than sitting behind a desk typing mindless bull manure and go out and see what the real world is like. I'll vote for Sheriff Joe again and again. Get a clue!
John Bielicki, Phoenix


Editor's note: Columnist Sarah Fenske and Managing Editor Amy Silverman expressed their opposing views on Sarah Palin — who's got a shot at becoming our first female vice president — in New Times' September 11 edition. Readers were outraged and delighted by Fenske's "Sister Sarah" and Silverman's "Mommy Dearest" commentaries. Below is a sampling of the feedback.

She's simply incapable: As I'm reading through this week's copy of New Times — from taxpayers paying for [killings] by Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio's SS (excuse me, corrections) officers, to the irrelevant nuances of Sarah Palin's character to Mesa residents supporting a neo-Nazi asshole ("Mesa's Shame," The Bird, Stephen Lemons) — I feel frustration like I have never felt before. It literally makes me want to holler and throw up my hands.

Can't we just simplify things?

It doesn't matter that Sarah Palin is a woman or what's going on in her family or where she was governor and for how long. What matters is that she is unintelligent and absolutely incapable of being our country's vice president or, God forbid, president.

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Send you're letters and e-mail as I did. Let the FBI know what you think....

From: Jim Cozzolino Sent: Monday, September 22, 2008 12:15 PM To: '' Subject: Mugshot Reveals Inmate in Joe Arpaio's Jail Had No Facial Bruises Before His Death

How many people is Arpaio and his Monkey's allowed to kill before someone steps in and stops the maddness ? Can anyone answer ? Jim Cozzolino

Mugshot Reveals Inmate in Joe Arpaio's Jail Had No Facial Bruises Before His Death Mon Sep 22, 2008 at 07:41:47 AM By John Dickerson Phoenix New Times


Juan Mendoza Farias appeared to be in good health -- or at least his face was -- in a booking photo taken four days before his bruised body arrived at the county morgue.

Farais, 40, a legal U.S. resident with a valid social security number, died after a violent altercation with Sheriff Joe Arpaio's guards in the Maricopa County Jail. New Times recently wrote about his death, noting that the Sheriff's Office refuses to hand over video footage that could show exactly how much force the guards used.

Since then, the MCSO mailed this booking photo to New Times, as well as a legal statement, asserting that the MCSO will continue to withhold the video. The mugshot shows Farias' face when he was arrested December 2, 2007 on a warrant for violating his probation following a DUI. Around midnight on December 4, 2007, Farias stopped breathing and began bleeding from his nose and mouth while 11 guards reportedly restrained him. He was pronounced dead shortly thereafter. The following photos were taken on December 7, 2007.

Farias' body was beaten and bruised, according to photos and an autopsy report produced by the county Medical Examiner's Office. Welts from "pepper-ball" shots (normally used for crowd control) and from electronic Taser devices are evident on the body.

Since July 25, 2007, the MCSO has refused to produce any records about Farias' death -- with the exception now of this lone booking photo (which the MCSO charged New Times $10.50 to produce).

In its most recent correspondence, the MCSO's legal liaison claims that releasing the video footage of Farais' final moments would compromise its own investigation of the death.

"Investigations can be compromised by the disclosure of certain documents or recordings. For example, if a witness were to view a videotape of the incident or have information someone who viewed the videotape, it is possible that the witness' memory what occurred will be altered to conform to what they believe they are seeing or what they have been told," Legal Liaison Pam Woody wrote.

As reported in the September 11 story about Farias, two of the guards' written accounts describing Farias' death match word-for-word. Two additional accounts shared duplicate sentences.

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