Feathered Bastard

Joe Arpaio's Chief Deputy David Hendershott Fails to Have Pending Deposition in Racial Profiling Case Sealed

As I recently noted in an update to one of my blogs, Sheriff Joe Arpaio's Chief Deputy David Hendershott is scheduled to be deposed in the big Melendres vs. Arpaio racial profiling lawsuit this Tuesday, January 19. Previously, it had been scheduled for January 8, but was moved back recently.

Now it has been revealed in a January 12 order from presiding Judge G. Murray Snow, that Hendershott has been seeking to have his entire deposition sealed before the fact, so as to avoid the embarrassment suffered by his boss, who admitted in his Melendres depo that he had not read his own book Joe's Law in its entirety.

Arpaio's testimony was that of a figurehead, who delegates all of his authority and knows very little of the internal workings of his own office. At least, that's what Arpaio would have us believe. Hendershott, however, is another matter altogether. Hendershott runs the day-to-day operations of the MCSO. It will be very difficult for him to shrug off all responsibility for misdeeds onto underlings.

And yet, the near-universal ridicule Arpaio has received after his testimony was first made public by me, and was later picked up by other news outlets, has apparently chagrined the MCSO. The transcript and the video of Arpaio's depo has gone viral, and Arpaio's been left looking like more of a buffoon than he usually does.

In any case, whether it's from fear of being mortified, or a desire to avoid scrutiny in general, Hendershott's sought to have his deposition kept in the dark. Thankfully for Arpaio-watchers, he seems to have failed for the moment.

"This afternoon," wrote Judge Snow on January 12, "the Court conferred with the parties telephonically on the Defendants' oral motion to seal the deposition of Mr. Hendershott, currently scheduled for January 19, until such time as Mr. Hendershott testifies at the trial of this matter. The Defendants' motion is denied without prejudice to the Defendant asserting, during the course of the deposition itself a request for protective order with respect to specific material that Defendants assert to be entitled to protection under Fed. R. Civ. P. 26(b)(3)(5) and 26(c), or specific questions that they assert are not `reasonably calculated to lead to the discovery of admissible evidence.'

"The parties are encouraged to resolve all such matters between themselves through the exercise of sound professional judgment and courtesy. To the extent that such issues nevertheless elude resolution between the parties, the Court has a full calendar on the 19th, but will attempt to make itself telephonically available, if necessary, during the course of the day to make such rulings. If the Court is not immediately available to resolve questions of privilege, the parties are instructed to proceed with the deposition on other topics, and save the disputed questions until the Court can be reached."

Hendershott is sort of a cross between Southpark's Eric Cartman and Shakespeare's Richard III: On the one hand, comically demanding others to "Respect my authori-tie!"; while on the other, capable of the most heinous deeds.

Indeed, he reminds me of that self-pitying quote from Richard III:

And therefore, since I cannot prove a lover,

To entertain these fair well-spoken days,

I am determined to prove a villain

And hate the idle pleasures of these days.

Not that I have any sympathy for the devil, mind you. Like Richard III, Hendershott is a dangerous, odious figure, with Arpaio as his eager co-dependent. But the pair should heed a lesson from the fall of Communism. Like "the god that failed," Arpaio and Hendershott have had a good run, but the end of their puissance is finally within sight. All that's left is to watch the play till the end.

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Stephen is a former staff writer and columnist at Phoenix New Times.
Contact: Stephen Lemons