Feathered Bastard

Joe Arpaio, Jerry Sheridan Spanked by Judge G. Murray Snow Over Melendres Remarks

Page 2 of 4

As a remedy, Snow asked the MCSO to come up with "a corrective letter" for his approval, one that would address the inaccuracies in Sheridan's remarks and state that deputies must use their best efforts to comply with his order.

Snow stated the letter should "be signable by both Arpaio and Sheridan," for eventual dissemination to all deputies.

"I intend to have my orders respected," Snow said at one point in the hearing, later accusing Sheridan and Arpaio of sending "mixed messages" and of having a "wink-and-nod mentality that this is a lot of 'crap.'"

The judge's use of that mild invective was a reference to Sheridan's comments to his deputies on October 18, prior to a crime suppression sweep of the West Valley, when the chief deputy derided the judge's final order in Melendres as "ludicrous," "absurd," and "crap."

At the same meeting, which was videotaped, Sheridan told deputies that "every lawyer that I've talked to [says] that it is Judge Snow that violated the United States Constitution," and that Snow "does not have the authority to do what he did."

Additionally, Sheridan suggested reasons why MCSO beige-shirts might not be able to comply with one part of Snow's order, which instructs deputies to do their best to determine the ethnicities of the occupants of any cars stopped by the MCSO.

At the time, Arpaio essentially ratified what Sheridan told deputies, maintaining that the MCSO had done nothing wrong.

"We don't racially profile," Arpaio said at the meeting. "I don't care what everybody says. We're just doing our job. We had the authority to arrest illegal aliens under the federal programs."

KEEP PHOENIX NEW TIMES FREE... Since we started Phoenix New Times, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Phoenix, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
Stephen is a former staff writer and columnist at Phoenix New Times.
Contact: Stephen Lemons