Joe Arpaio Thumbs Nose at Federal Judge, Plans Sweep to Start Friday

Sheriff Joe Arpaio is sticking his tongue out at federal Judge G. Murray Snow, telling the jurist that the MCSO will execute one of the sheriff's infamous crime suppression sweeps beginning Friday, October 18.

Though Snow recently ordered that a monitor be appointed to oversee 59 pages of instructions on how the MCSO must comply with his ruling in the civil rights case Melendres v. Arpaio, Arpaio is getting a jump on the judge, pulling the trigger on a sweep before a monitor is installed.

In a court filing partially made under seal today, Arpaio's lawyer Tim Casey advised Snow of the sweep, noting the absence of a monitor at present.

See Also: Joe Arpaio's "Circumventing" Federal Court, Claims Lawyer for Plaintiffs in Melendres v. Arpaio

Casey writes:

Defendants will conduct a law enforcement operation on October 18-19, 2013 in Maricopa County that qualifies as a "Significant Operation" or "Significant Patrol" as such terms are defined in the Court's Order dated October 2, 2013...The Order further provides that a "written protocol [for a Significant Operation] shall be provided to the Monitor in advance of any Significant Operation or Patrol."

Because no Monitor is yet in place to receive a copy of the MCSO's written protocol for this Significant Operation, and the Order is silent as to the treatment of the written protocol under such circumstances, Defendants seek to file with the Court under seal the written protocol for the operation.

Defendants respectfully submit that good cause exists to file the written protocol under seal for the following reasons:

1. Officer safety is likely to be enhanced, and the effectiveness of the operation is more likely to be achieved, if the specific location of the operation, the timing of the operation, the methodology intended to be used for the operation, the staffing for the operation, the mission statement for the operation, and the specific details of the operational plan are maintained as confidential and private before the start of the operation and during the operation.

2. The filing under seal is sought only on a temporary basis. Defendants request that the written protocol remain under seal until Sunday, October 20, 2013 when it can be unsealed and placed in the public record.

Granted, even Snow has admitted that his injunctions do not prevent the MCSO from engaging in a legitimate crime suppression operation. However, Arpaio's boys in beige are not allowed to enforce civil immigration law or use race or ethnicity as a factor in stopping cars, among other restrictions.

In the past, such operations were Arpaio's excuse to target Hispanics, racial profile, and engage in immigration enforcement. But in the past couple of years, the MCSO had suspended the sweeps, with the last one taking place in 2011.

Then in September, the MCSO joined with the Tempe Police Department in a crackdown on drunken ASU students. That was the camel's nose under the tent.

Now Arapio's going to cram the entire camel down Snow's gullet. Though, hypothetically, Snow could move to stop it.

In the process, Arpaio is making his lawyer look like a low-rent Ronald McDonald. During a June hearing, where Snow indicated that a monitor was likely, Casey offered the judge his assurance that Arpaio's sweeps were kaput.

"Those have not occurred since October of 2011 and they will not occur," Casey said with finality, when questioned by Snow.

The lawyer also assured Snow that, "The MCSO is out of the federal immigration enforcement business."

Which, of course, is total bull, bull that Casey is paid taxpayer's money to spew.

Where will the sweep be? Apparently, near the area where an MCSO detention officer was shot in front of his home in August, around Laveen.

That would make it difficult for Snow to intervene before the fact. Since Arpaio will proffer a legit reason for the sweep, Snow may not feel he can lower the boom.

Pro-immigrant activist Lydia Guzman said the community is ready for Arpaio, and that she and her posse of cop-watchers will dog every deputy on patrol, videotaping them, waiting for them to mess up.

"I think Arpaio is trying to thumb his nose at the Judge's order," she told me. "I think the U.S. Department of Justice needs to look into this and make sure these court orders are being followed."

I also contacted ACLU Dan Pochoda, one of the lawyers representing the plaintiffs in Melendres, but he declined comment at this time.

I know the feeling. Arpaio's lack of respect for the rule of law is galling. Seems he even gave one local TV station a heads up and a promise of a ridealong.

So did that TV station get its heads up before or after Judge Snow was notified by Tim Casey?

Oh, you know the answer.

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