And Hernandez never bothered to show up at the funeral of the woman he'd been living with for a year.

"All the evidence pointed to Arturo Hernandez as Rachel Rodriguez's killer," writes Louis in his book. "But the case was never pursued by the Maricopa County Sheriff's Office."

After El Mirage asked the MCSO to leave, deciding to reform its police force with new leadership, the new team looked at the Rodriguez case and saw it was solvable.

If the MCSO had done the minimum required, Jessica Lopez would be among the living.
Courtesy of Maria Lopez
If the MCSO had done the minimum required, Jessica Lopez would be among the living.
If the MCSO had done the minimum required, the murderer of Rachel Rodriguez would have been in prison years earlier.
Courtesy of Diane Soza
If the MCSO had done the minimum required, the murderer of Rachel Rodriguez would have been in prison years earlier.

Hernandez made it easy for them. Because he was in prison for the manslaughter of Jessica Lopez, investigators were able to score a DNA sample and interview him. Though the murder weapon never was located, they were able to make their case to the Maricopa County Attorney's Office.

Ultimately, Hernandez took a plea deal, copping to second-degree murder, which added 10 years to the 13 he already was serving.

Maria Lopez learned of the Rodriguez homicide when a relative spotted Hernandez's picture in a newspaper and alerted her to it. She and her family were shocked and angered.

"If that man was put behind bars like he should have been a long time ago, my sister would never have met him," she said. "Her life would never have been taken away."

Maria and her sister, Lisa, told me that Jessica's children and her mother have had a tough time of it.

In Jessica's online obituary, Jessica's children and other family members still leave messages, talking to her as if she were alive. Her birthday and the upcoming holidays bring with them painful memories.

Like most everyone with a TV in Maricopa County, the sisters have seen Arpaio's campaign commercials, including one praising him as a lover and protector of horses and dogs.

"It's like he's focusing more on animals," Lisa said, sitting next to her sister on their grandmother's couch. "Instead of focusing on that, he should be focusing on all these sex crimes."

Neither is the family of Rachel Rodriguez happy with the Sheriff's Office. Yes, Hernandez finally was charged with the crime of murdering their family member.

But Rodriguez's sister, Diane Soza, says if the case had not been so badly bungled and ignored for years, Hernandez might not have had the luxury of a plea deal that got him a mere decade for murder.

I spoke to Soza recently at her home in Scottsdale, with her nephew, Aidan, Rodriguez's 16 year-old son. After her sister's death, she took all three boys into her home to raise as her own.

"The prosecutor didn't want to take it to trial," she said of the murder case against Hernandez. "They didn't think they could convict him because it had been so botched up. They were just afraid he'd walk."

So Soza and her family had to accept Hernandez getting only 10 years for the murder, a pittance of a sentence for stripping three boys of their mother.

Aiden said Hernandez owned a gun and had lied to them about training to be a cop. He and his brothers were afraid that Hernandez might come back and kill them, since they had seen him argue with their mother and were sure he was responsible for the shooting.

Hernandez also had been to Soza's house and may have known the boys were with her.

"I was, like, 9 at the time," Aiden said, wide-eyed. "And this guy had killed my mom."

Only when the case finally was brought to court did his fear begin to subside.

"I felt a little safer after I found out that he'd finally been charged after so many years." he told me. "That kind of brought relief."

Both Aiden and his aunt were aghast at the circumstances surrounding Jessica Lopez's death. The families communicated with each other, after the Lopezes contacted Diane.

"If they would have done their job," Aiden said of the sheriff's investigators, "[Jessica Lopez] would still be alive. They just didn't put any effort into it."

Needless to say, it doesn't sound like anyone in either family of the two victims will be voting for Sheriff Joe. Beyond the incompetence and ineffectiveness of the MCSO, both families are Latino and disagree with Arpaio's war on Hispanics.

"I look at him with disgust," Soza told me. "I really do believe he is a racist."

Like Maria Lopez, Soza, too, has seen Arpaio's commercials.

"These ads are just so ridiculous," she said. "They're trying to make him look more caring by [saying] he loves animals and kids . . . Oh, God!"

Aiden nodded his head in agreement. He's a junior in high school and thinking of joining the U.S. Army. He's eyeing becoming an Army Ranger one day. Muscular, with broad shoulders, he looks like he'd fit the bill.

I'm sure his mother would be proud.

By the way, that Arpaio letter I referred to above? I mentioned it in my recent profile of Penzone ("Do or Die in the Desert," October 4). It was a letter written to former Phoenix Police Chief Jack Harris, thanking his department — including Penzone (then at Silent Witness) — for help in solving a crime.

What kind of crime did Penzone help solve? A murder, of course.

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102 comments
Guerro
Guerro

Raza kills raza, so you blame dawhiteman?  Makes perfect sense in your silly little dream world.

 

1070 24 7 365 babeee!

scott.huminski
scott.huminski

Bennie R. Click of Rio Salado College is a racist pig just like the sheriff he has testified in support of.

scott.huminski
scott.huminski

Sheriff Arpaio’s Police State of Arizona under fire in U.S. 9th Cir. Court

 

Arpaio’s thugs take the Arizona police state to a new, very criminal, high.

 

Sworn court papers have been filed in two cases pending before the high federal appellate court in San Francisco detailing Arizona law enforcement’s willingness to engage in serious felonies to assist the Sheriff’s friends and to silence Arpaio critics.  Arizona police have issued threats against civil litigation to protect Arpaio’s closest friend and top advisor (Justin Michael Nelson) from civil litigation – AKA Police Obstruction of Justice and Police Federal Civil Rights Crimes.  (18 U.S.C. §§ 241, 242)  Arizona police have conspired with Dignity Health of San Francicso to silence a well-known critic of Arpaio via violence – YES, attempted murder to be exact, now being covered up by Arpaio police state stooges.  Sensational stuff, but, all on the appellate record, sworn and undisputed.

 

Situation normal for Arizona, official felony crimes against the justice system and official crimes of violence to assist Arpaio and Arpaio’s cronies by threatening critics and foisting police sponsored violence against those in the “cross-hairs” of Arpaio’s Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office (MCSO).  Those with a knowledge of Arizona law enforcement and government should not be a surprised as to how the Arizona police state operates.  The bold criminal conduct of police caught in these cases reveals the state of lawlessness existing in Arizona whereby law enforcement doesn’t even bother to cover-up their crimes satisfactorily.  It is truly anything goes concerning police misconduct and outright police crime in Arizona. 

 

See

 

http://www.scribd.com/doc/110442436/Arpaio-inspired-AZ-Police-Crimes-Sworn-9th-cir-Court-Filing

 

Sworn undisputed complaint,

 

http://www.scribd.com/doc/110511015/Arpaio-Collateral-litigation

 

+ Scott Huminski

 

bytheskinofourteeth
bytheskinofourteeth

I appreciate the new times stories which detail the murderous nature of our mexicans. there's some mexicans down the street from me and I'll definitely be keeping an eye on them and be at the ready to turn them into the authorities if they act up in any way, including playing that shitty polka music that they love.

Jeddi1941
Jeddi1941

Paul Penzone has a gay boyfriend by the name is Javier Mendez who is 22 years old and lives in Tempe.  Javier is an illegal alien who Penzone met during one of his recent trips to Nogales.

Jeddi1941
Jeddi1941

Hey there Scott, did you end up selling your condo?  You can run but you can't hide.  We'll find you faggot.

Jeddi1941
Jeddi1941

Scott Huminski is a flaming gay man.

Daggard
Daggard

All these false attacks against Arpaio is done only for political gain brought on by the desperate penzone staffers.

Daggard
Daggard

If Penzone wins sheriff he will be letting lots of murders and criminals go.  If that is not what you want don't vote for Penzone.

s_huminski
s_huminski

Admitted lifelong friend and advisor of Arpaio arrested.  Still looking into the details of charges, etc.  But Justin Nelson, the self-admitted lifelong friend and advisor of sheriff arpaio has been  arrested on unknown charges related to the facts surrounding the litigation pending in the 9th cir.

s_huminski
s_huminski

Final brief filed in arpaio corruption case in 9th circuit,,,

 

http://www.scribd.com/doc/109910222/Final-Brief-in-Arpaio-Corruption-Case-in-9th-Circuit

 

Here it is, AZ law enforcement engaging in felony obstruction of justice to protect a close friend and adviser of sheriff arpaio.  

 

Time for state and federal law enforcement to put on their blindfolds in furtherance of the justice is blind motto -- or is it law enforcement is blind when law enforcement are the criminals. 

maxonepercent
maxonepercent

After reading this I fail to see how this murder is even tangentially Sheriff Joe's fault.  Look, I am no fan of Arpaio either, but it is hatchet-job articles like this that really make the New Times look like a bunch of mental cases with an irrational hatred of the man.  Also, this author's penchant for hyperbole is headache inducing to say the least.  New Times, if you want people to take you seriously maybe you should try assigning someone a bit less melodramatic to the "fuck Sherriff Joe" beat.

teddybayer123
teddybayer123

Years aho, there was a section of Mad Magazine, "Snappy Answers to Stupid Questions". That, in a nutshell, is the only commentary needed on Arpiro's reign. The drug war serves Arpio. Makes him more powerful. But in the end, declaring war on your own people is...so...Syrian. Good luck joe. One day we WILL KNOW how a life-long civil servant plunked down $1.1 million -- cash -- on 3 properties.... Self-serving, wildly self-promoting dick.

s_huminski
s_huminski

Here are the Court filings concerning Arpaio and his goons,  The facts in the Dignity Health case stand undisputed on the Court record and the Surprise case opposition is extremely weak as to the defense of one of Arpaio's favorite statutes of oppression 13 ARS 2921.  

 

Motion to Consolidate

http://www.scribd.com/doc/109836581/Arpaio-Collateral-Litigation

 

Motions to Take Judicial Notice

http://www.scribd.com/doc/109836612/Arpaio-Collateral-Litigation

http://www.scribd.com/doc/109836598/Arpaio-collateral-litigation

 

Emergency Motion for Injunction

http://www.scribd.com/doc/109836554/Arpaio-Collateral-Litigation

s_huminski
s_huminski

All should check out the cases now before the 9th cir 12-16395 and 12-17225 centering upon arpaio and being heard by Justices Mary Schroeder and Marsha Berzon at the 9th cir in san francisco....

danzigsdaddy
danzigsdaddy topcommenter

another sad case of the law being lazy

smpacheco5
smpacheco5

This was my sister in law Jessica, she was loved by many. Her children cry and miss her everyday. This guy, should of been in prison. 

 

Rachel Rowe
Rachel Rowe

Not when there are legitimate birth certificates to discredit, lol

Saracat
Saracat

Funny, I know this example is never supposed to be used but it was what I happened to think as I watched the animal loving Arpaio commercials"Hitler made a big deal about loving animals too!"  And I speak as an animal lover myself.The problem with Joe is he doesn't love people. He only loves his own celebrity and ambition. It is past time for him to go.

MaskedMagician1967
MaskedMagician1967

The only thing the Old Fool is tough on is limited and valuable taxpayer dollars.

 

If memory serves, he wasted $10,000 to send a deputy to Hawaii to investigate President Obama's birth certificate, despite the fact that the president posted it online and at least 10 different courts have ruled against the birthers.

 

As for Rachel and Brian (aka YPS and JAF): The MCSO shurf will be booted out come November 7. You both will be looking for other work, and I hear WalMart is hiring...

bobunf
bobunf

It's all part of a pattern with Arpaio; he's simply incompetent.  Way back in 2008 even the Goldwater Institute issued a report about Arpaio titled, "Mission Unaccomplished."

 

From 2002 to 2011 the number of violent crimes in areas served by the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office increased by an incredible 41%, from 628 to 884 violent crimes.  That’s 256 MORE murders, rapes, robberies and aggravated assaults than 9 years ago.  

 

For the parts of Maricopa not served by the Sheriff, there was a 19% drop in violent crime for the same period.  That’s 3,428 FEWER murders, rapes, robberies and aggravated assaults than 9 years ago.  

 

And it's the Sheriff's policy not to investigate thefts up to and beyond $100,000.  Just give the victim a case number and tell them to call their insurance company.  

 

Arpaio has created a sanctuary.  For thieves, robbers, rapists, child molesters and murderers.

 

compareandcontrast
compareandcontrast

damn, these mexicans are a bloodthirsty lot. why can't they be more like our good neighbor, canada?

Tommy_Collins
Tommy_Collins

 @Jeddi1941

 JAG, aka Justin, is expounding on the gay theme again. I seriously think JAF needs to spend some time in the gay community to perhaps gain a better understanding of those who consider themselves a part of that community.

GreenHornet
GreenHornet

 @Jeddi1941 bullshit. only rightwing ahole Rs are closeted gays, as Paul Babeu once was

JusticeLeague
JusticeLeague

 @Daggard

 False attacks...what cave are you living in.  Do a public record check to verify these so called false attacks.  I am not a Penzone staffer just someone who wants the truth.  And the truth is Arpaio is no longer the man he thinks he is.

GreenHornet
GreenHornet

 @Daggard don't get it twisted, Arpaio's the one that lets illegal immigrant killers go, like the one above

allanbartlett
allanbartlett topcommenter

 @maxonepercentcollins fucked you, HARD. Why don't you respond, you gutless trash.

Fuck arpaio. With yps penis. She 's not using it.

 

Tommy_Collins
Tommy_Collins

 @maxonepercent(1) The murder occurred in El Mirage when the town was under contract with MCSO for police services, including criminal investigations.

 

 (2) MCSO conducted an initial investigation and then dropped it, all the while having complete information on the suspect.

 

(3) The sheriff has vicarious responsibility for the service rendered to his customers.

 

(4) Instead of making sure that this incident, and hundreds more in the entire county, were properly investigated he took investigators from their normal assignments and put them into units tasked with immigration enforcement.

 

(5) Once it was discovered that this, and many other crimes, were ignored, he ignored those reports as well, in part because he was angry that El Mirage cancelled his contract and because he pretty much doesn't care about people, it seems.

 

(6) The shurf has the responsibility to be sure that issues like this are corrected. Instead,he feigned a public apology, saying, "If there were any victims".

 

(7) Because he DIDN'T DO HIS JOB and he didn't hold his employees accountable for doing theirs, the guy who murdered Rachel was not in prison for his crime, rather he was on the loose, causing the death of yet another young lady.

 

(8) In 2007 MCSO was very aware of these hundreds of criminal acts and in many cases simply did nothing. The shurf did nothing, once again.

 

(9) In 2012, after all these years, the county attorney still has 59 of these crimes on the books being returned to MCSO for appropriate action.

 

(10) In the mean time the MCSO shurf is petting dogs and showing his wife in his tv ads for the first time in 20 years.

 

The MCSO sheriff is mentally ill.

 

 

DCHBI
DCHBI

@smpacheco5 Very sorry for your loss my friend! We all need to honor her by retiring this 'Maricopa County Dictator'!

Tommy_Collins
Tommy_Collins

 @bobunf

Bob, I'm still waiting for the press release on the findings of the 'investigation' of the escape (walk away) of Adrian Cruz. Cruz is the guy who impregnated a nine year old girl and then walked away from MCSO custody while waiting trial on another sexual assault. I find it hard to believe it's taken YEARS for someone to be held accountable. Yes, he has created a sanctuary. He picks the fruit from the ground.  

maxonepercent
maxonepercent

 @allanbartlett Maybe because I have a life and even when I am on the internet I generally avoid this website as much as possible.  You know what is really gutless?  Calling people names on the internet.  I bet if you saw me IRL you wouldn't squeak a ill word in my direction pussy.

maxonepercent
maxonepercent

 @Tommy_Collins Points 1 and 2 - By this logic every Chief of Police and every Sherriff in the world is also guilty for every domestic-violence related murder that ever occurred in history.  Here is the thing you are not getting, the ONLY person responsible for the crime is the murderer himself.  All you are doing is shifting the blame around for political purposes, any halfway rational person can see that.

 

Points 3 through 8 - I am not even going to waste time on these because all these are statements of opinion with nothing to back them up.  Moreover, every law enforcement agency of the size of MCSD has all the same issues that ours does, the simple fact is that we live in a violent cesspool of a city and the rate of crime is more than the budget of the department can handle.

DCHBI
DCHBI

@Tommy_Collins @maxonepercent Well said Tommy! Actually very well said brother!!

maxonepercent
maxonepercent

 @allanbartlett Watch out everybody we got a gen-u-ine internet badass over here.  Better not piss him off or he will make weak-ass threats and douchebag insults all over your comment section.  You are such a pathetic loser I can't help but to laugh.

allanbartlett
allanbartlett topcommenter

 @maxonepercent

 Which gay bar do we meet? keyboard coward fat fuck still living in moms house says what? dickless.

maxonepercent
maxonepercent

 @Tommy_Collins I am not in law enforcement, in fact, I have been on the receiving end of law enforcement mistreatment several times in my life.  I don't even like Arpaio and I don't mean to defend him, it is just that this New Times vendetta against him has been going on as long as I can remember and as the years go on it just becomes more and more pathetic and laughable.  Once upon a time this was a half-way respectable publication, however for the past 5 years or so it seems like they have become so obsessed with Arpaio that they can't even report on anything else.

Tommy_Collins
Tommy_Collins

 @maxonepercent

 You having been drinking at the MCSO fountain, I see. Sorry for you. Its far past time for you to get out of law enforcement. Maybe find yourself a hideaway in Honduras, eh?

 

 
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