I'm guessing that members of the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors are familiar with the phrase, "no taxation without representation," but maybe they need a refresher course in what that Revolutionary War slogan means.
On Halloween, appropriately, Sheriff Joe Arpaio's lawyer Tim Casey filed a notice of appeal, challenging federal Judge G. Murray Snow's permanent injunction in the ACLU's big civil rights case Melendres v. Arpaio.
That final order from Snow included a laundry list of reforms and retraining mandates for the MCSO to implement over the next several years.
Additionally, Snow indicated that he would appoint an independent monitor by year's end to ensure that the MCSO abides by the permanent injunction.
The MCSO had signaled that it would appeal the injunction, but the question is, when did the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors discuss this appeal and approve it?
After all, the money to pay Casey's $1 million in attorney's fees, as well as to foot the bill for the estimated $7.3 million in legal fees being sought by the plaintiffs, has come and will continue to come from county taxpayers, specifically from a fund for outside counsel, which is part of the county's general fund.
County spokeswoman Cari Gerchick told me she didn't know how the appeal had been approved.
"The Board never took any formal action on the appeal," Gerchick wrote me via email. "I don't know how the decision was made."
County Supervisor Mary Rose Wilcox has been shut out of discussions and votes on a Melendres appeal by Maricopa County Attorney Bill Montgomery, a move she unsuccessfully challenged in superior court.
"They banned me from Melendres," Wilcox told me. "But I know there was an e-session [on Melendres]. Even with an e-session, you have to follow up with a public vote and we've had no public vote."
(An e-session, or executive session, takes place behind closed doors. Votes are not supposed to take place in e-session.)
"I would have seen it [if a public vote had been scheduled]," said Wilcox. "We would have seen people here protesting. So I don't think it's a legal way to approve it. The board has to approve an appeal. We still have to vote on it."
Wilcox stated that she believed Montgomery (the BOS's lawyer, natch) has been playing "fast and loose" with the rules when it comes to such approvals. She said she asked for a legal opinion on the issue from Montgomery about six months ago, but has so far received no response.
"When Rick Romley was county attorney and he wanted to appeal something that big, he would come to the board to get permission," she said. "We would discuss it in e-session...then we would post it and vote on it.
"They're going to say they don't have to do that, because it's an ongoing case. Bull, that's not true."
The notice of appeal is general at this point, and regards Snow's "Supplemental Permanent Injunction/Judgment Order" from October 2, according to the filing.
It involves "additional issues than those identified in the 06/21/2013 appeal from the Court's 05/24/13 Findings of Fact and Conclusions of Law."
Specifics are absent.
Still, the parts opposed by the MCSO are well-known: the appointment of a monitor, the creation of a Citizens Advisory Board, patrol deputies having to call in the reason for stop prior to pulling over a vehicle, etc.
The ACLU of Arizona's legal director Dan Pochoda issued the following statement:
"Judge Snow's opinions and judgment are well reasoned and will be upheld on appeal. In the meantime, all aspects of the remedial decree will be in force, and a monitor should be in place by the end of the year."
Pochoda told me that such an appeal could take about a year, during which the MCSO would have to comply with Snow's order, which the defense has not asked the higher court to stay.
He also indicated that the ACLU had received data from Joe's recent "I'm-Still-the-Sheriff-Let's-Go-Harass-Hispanics-Sweep" and are reviewing it.
If you thought you live in a democracy and you live in Maricopa County, you thought wrong.
A monarchy is more like it, one where Arpaio calls the shots and where all but one of the elected county supervisors are his lackeys, spending your money any way King Joe wants.
Almost like that Revolutionary War never happened.
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