By Amy Silverman
By Olivia LaVecchia
By Monica Alonzo and Stephen Lemons
By Chris Parker
By Michael Lacey
By Weston Phippen
As investigators from Obama's Justice Department cross t's, dot i's, and fill their yellow legal pads in Phoenix, with no end in sight, Sheriff Joe Arpaio and County Attorney Andrew Thomas continue to run gangster traps worthy of East Germany's notorious secret police.
Precisely one week before President Obama's acceptance of the Nobel Peace Prize, as his Justice Department's investigation of Sheriff Arpaio sputtered along, the citizens of Phoenix endured the following:
• Arpaio and Thomas filed an unprecedented lawsuit (read: Andrew Thomas Offers No Evidence of Bribery in Judge Gary Donahoe Case -- But Charges Him Anyway and Mary Rose Wilcox's Indictment: The Truth Behind Those 36 "Felonies") alleging a vast criminal conspiracy that targeted the following critics: Presiding Judge of the Superior Court Barbara R. Mundell, Superior Court Judges Gary Donahoe, Anna Baca, and Kenneth Fields; attorneys Thomas Irvine, Edward Novak, and Wade Swanson; the law firm of Polsinelli Shughart; Maricopa County Board of Supervisors members Fulton Brock, Andrew Kunasek, Donald T. Stapley Jr., Mary Rose Wilcox, and Max Wilson; County Managers David Smith and Sandi Wilson. (It should be noted that the judges have not attacked Sheriff Arpaio; they have merely dismissed his more egregious lawsuits and freed political targets he jailed.) In a chilling note that opened the lawsuit, Thomas and Arpaio invoked the spirit of the Stasi when they chastised paranoid supervisors for sweeping the county offices for bugs "for the corrupt purpose of locating surveillance devices authorized by law enforcement in order to avoid detection of crimes." There were no bugs, but if there had been bugs, according to the sheriff and the county attorney, it was the civic responsibility of the elected officials to leave the bugs in place so that law enforcement could listen to all conversations, confidential and otherwise.
• The sheriff was ordered to pay the legal fees of five young protesters whom deputies arrested for applauding an Arpaio critic in a county meeting. In addition to those arrested for clapping, Sergeant Acritelli arrested Kristy Theilen when she was summoned to the lectern microphone by the chairman of the Board of Supervisors. "You're not speaking. You're leaving," Deputy Acritelli informed the sheriff's critic. In his decision on fees, Judge C. Steven McMurry noted: "Deputy Acritelli communicates that he believes that it is his role to make uncomfortable anyone who expresses views that disagree with the sheriff."
• Deputy Adam Stoddard stood before television cameras and refused to apologize for going through a public defender's files and stealing folders he deemed suspicious. When the deputy refused to issue the apology ordered by Judge Gary Donahoe, he was ordered to jail.
• The next day, Maricopa County Superior Court had to close when deputies, who are responsible for bringing prisoners to and from court, phoned in sick. More than 100 deputies staged a sit-in in support of Deputy Stoddard. The deputies labeled the judge's order an attack on the sheriff. Arpaio identified Stoddard not as someone who'd violated a prisoner's rights, but rather as a political prisoner.
The outrageous criminal-conspiracy litigation, the arrest of critics, the silencing of those who would speak publicly, the defiant attitude of a jailer searching a public defender's confidential files, the galling closure of the courts are merely last week's headlines. Last month, Sergeant Manuel Madrid admitted that he had shredded requested documents in the massive lawsuit filed by the Arizona Civil Liberties Union on behalf of racially profiled Latinos.
And the day this story was published, County Attorney Thomas charged Donahoe, the presiding judge of the county's criminal courts, with three felony counts (bribery, obstructing a criminal investigation, and hindering prosecution) that give off the stench of retaliation. It didn't matter to Thomas that, at a press conference after the action, he could offer no evidence that Donahoe had accepted a bribe of any sort or done anything else illegal.
This is how we live.
When Supervisor Don Stapley criticized Sheriff Joe Arpaio's controversial and degrading immigration sweeps, he put himself in the lawman's crosshairs. Following the criticism, Stapley was investigated by Arpaio and subsequently indicted in December 2008 on 118 misdemeanor and felony counts relating to improper campaign-disclosure forms. Ironically, the sheriff committed the same kind of reporting errors. A judge dismissed most of the charges against Stapley, and an independent prosecutor dropped the rest on Friday, September 18.
Three days later, sheriff's deputies arrested and booked Stapley on 100 new criminal charges.
Just before this article went to press, Stapley was indicted on yet another 27 charges of perjury, fraud, and theft, and longtime Arpaio critic Mary Rose Wilcox was indicted on 36 counts.
Since taking office in 1992, Sheriff Arpaio has investigated, harassed, or jailed a long list of those who criticized the lawmen — including: Dan Pochoda, legal director of the Arizona Civil Liberties Union; state Attorney General Terry Goddard; County Schools Superintendent Sandra Dowling; all five members of the county Board of Supervisors; rivals for sheriff, including but not limited to Bearup and former Buckeye Police Chief Dan Saban; the leadership of the county Superior Court; state legislators; campaign workers; donors who finance Arpaio's political rivals; Mexican-American civil rights activists; deputies under the sheriff's authority; Mayor Phil Gordon; a jail chaplain, and a stand-up comic who satirized Arpaio.
Are you kidding me...
"President Barack Obama gracefully accepted the 2009 Nobel Peace Prize in Oslo, Norway."
Since then he has illegally started or involved us with wars in Libya and Syria, intensified fighting in Afghanistan, and claimed to withdraw our troops from Iraq, after the Iraqi government refused to extend our stay and grant immunity to U.S. Soldiers. This of course, was the timeline set by the previous war criminal, Bush.
Could you be any more biased in your "journalism" with this article?