Sadly, I wasn't able to make Anna Gaines' arraignment today down at the Arcadia Biltmore Justice Court before Judge Steve Sarkis. But a clerk for the judge told me that the little Hobbit lady known far and wide as the "anti-Hispanic Hispanic" for her activities with the Valley's nativist population, appeared with her lawyer, who requested a bench trial on Gaines' one count of criminal trespass in the third degree. Sarkis granted the request and a date of March 10 was set for the hearing.
The misdemeanor charge carries a possible punishment of 30 days in county and/or a $500 fine. See, this past July, Gaines was cuffed after allegedly refusing to leave a Sheriff Joe Arpaio booksigning at the Borders Bookstore on Camelback Road in Phoenix. She was soliciting signatures for a recall petition of Phoenix Mayor Phil Gordon when she was asked to leave, according to the cops. Phoenix police later arrested her. She was taken to a nearby station, cited and released.
Ultimately, the recall petition, spearheaded by Gaines and assisted by members of local nativist groups such as Rusty Childress' United for a Sovereign America, was an unmitigated disaster. The deadline for the recall petition passed at the end of August without one signature being submitted to the Phoenix City Clerk. This was a major embarrassment for the local anti-immigrant movement, one the nativists have never really recovered from.
Gaines continues to pal around with the likes of Minuteman leader Chris Simcox and Sheriff Joe Arpaio, who volubly praised her during a recent Minuteman meeting at the Arizona American Italian Club. State Senator Russell Pearce, neo-Nazi hugger and forwarder of white supremacist e-mails, has reportedly referred to Gaines as his "only Hispanic friend." Indeed, Gaines' primary role is that of token Mexican-American for the local nativist movement. As a naturalized American citizen from Mexico, she is a valuable talisman that helps ward off the charge of bigotry from the other, mostly white anti-immigrationists.
It's intriguing that the resume for Gaines' lawyer mentions that he's a member of the Sheriff's posse. It's also interesting to note that this case would normally fall under the jurisdiction of the Phoenix City Prosecutor, but that office conflicted itself out of the case, and kicked it over to the County Attorney. The CA's office waited till December 28, 2008 to file on a case that occurred five months before.
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I may have missed the arraignment, but I'll make the trial. If nothing else, it should be amusing. The whole thing reminds me of Buffalo Rick's public urination charge, for which he ultimately pleaded guilty, though he had vowed to fight all the way. What's the point of dragging something like this out? Pay the fine and get on with life, for Crissakes. That's what I'd do. But these nativists Nimrods have no better way to waste their free time other than nursing their wounds, their criminal cases, and their hate. I reckon it gives them something to live for.