If you caught Arizona Republic columnist Robert Robb's column about rule of law run amok at the Maricopa County Sheriff's Office, you might think you were reading something in New Times. It's pretty scathing -- and spot on.
The piece is titled "Arpaio's Audacious Not-My-Fault Card" and in no uncertain terms, places the blame for the unethical circus that has become the MCSO squarely on the back of Sheriff Joe Arpaio -- despite the sheriff's insistence that it's not his fault.
Here's a taste in regards to Arpaio's political witch-hunts:
What ultimately drove Hendershott round the bend, leading to the excesses that finally triggered his downfall, was an obsession with the chimerical grand county conspiracy, in which the county board of supervisors and senior managers were supposedly in corrupt cahoots with judges. The judges would protect the supervisors and managers against criminal investigations and charges, and the county would build the judges some really sweet office digs.
Now, there was never any evidence ever offered that any such conversations or agreements ever took place. Nevertheless, Arpaio was a full-fledged subscriber to the conspiracy theory. He was a plaintiff in a civil racketeering lawsuit alleging it. He issued a press release and headlined a press conference trumpeting the lawsuit.
Although the racketeering lawsuit was civil, it required alleging felony violations.
Imagine that conversation: "Hey, boss. We want you to accuse every member of the board of supervisors, three senior county managers and four judges of committing felonies. Any problem with that?"
Any sheriff with a true commitment to the rule of law would have had a big problem with that, given the lack of any concrete evidence. Arpaio did not. Today, Arpaio is evasive about the grand conspiracy. He won't say he was wrong to allege it. He just sort of waves it away.
Everyone's getting along now. What are a few felony accusations between friends.
And there's plenty more where that came from. Check out the entire piece here.
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Big props to Robb. It's nice to see Arizona's paper of record hold Arpaio's feet to the fire for allowing his office to become an ethical (and legal) nightmare -- on the taxpayers' dime -- even if it is only once in a blue moon.