Joe Arpaio's Latest Whopper: MCSO Press Release Fakes "Win" -- Class Action Status To Be Decided Later
Why anyone buys any of the shameless bull that flows forth from the MCSO's PR team like a mighty river of bunk is beyond me.
Take this latest, bogus claim from the sheriff of a legal victory in the big ACLU racial profiling lawsuit, Melendres v. Arpaio:
"SHERIFF WINS IMPORTANT LEGAL RULING,"screams the press release's headline, as if putting it in all-caps makes it true.
The statement asserts that the judge in the case "denied the motion to certify the lawsuit for class action treatment," and that, "The Court's ruling is a major blow to the efforts of proving that Sheriff Arpaio and his office have been racially profiling Latinos during saturation patrols."
Bzzzt. Wrong. There's no "major blow to the plaintiffs." No "blow" at all, actually, unless you count the blow you'd have to be snorting to believe the unmitigated malarkey in that release.
Five individual plaintiffs and the civil rights organization Somos America have brought this complaint "as representatives of a class of Latino persons, who, as a result of racial profiling, have been or will be stopped, detained, interrogated or searched by Arpaio or his agents." That's from the language of the amended complaint, filed in July of 2008.
There is nothing in U.S. District Court Judge G. Murray Snow's order that prevents this lawsuit from eventually achieving class action status. If you don't believe me, you can peruse the order for yourself, here. (Note: Snow replaced federal Judge Mary Murguia, who recused herself from the case in July.)
First off, Snow denies Arpaio's lawyers' attempt to terminate the case through a "motion for judgment on the pleadings." The case, Snow indicates, will go on.
Then, Snow moves to the issue of whether or not this should be a "class action" lawsuit, and he finds that "the Court need not resolve all of the arguments for and against class certification at this time."
Basically, the judge wants to see the evidence, and whether lawyers for the plaintiffs can show "a policy, pattern, or practice of racial discrimination" on the part of the MCSO. He therefore "denies the motion for class certification without prejudice to it being reasserted" in the future.
"There was no decision on the merits at all," observed Dan Pochoda, legal director for the ACLU of Arizona. "The judge specifically said that this is premature, and that he will rule on this later on."
Pochoda scoffed at the notion that this was somehow a win for Arpaio.
"It's a sign of desperation when they knowingly misstate what the court did," insisted Pochoda. "It doesn't in any way inhibit us or change our strategy. And it's clearly not a loss [for us]."
But that won't stop Arpaio & Co. from spinning it into something it's not. Even Arpaio's Twitter account gives a link to the MCSO press release, with the note, "Important ruling in racial profiling case."
What's next, Arpaio declares himself to be the King of France? The reincarnation of Napoleon? W.C. Fields' illegitimate son?
Well, with the last one, at least there's a slight family resemblance. Something about the nose...
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