Feathered Bastard

Joe Arpaio's Lawyer Tim Casey Claims Court Lacks Power to Appoint Monitor with Power over Sheriff

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Casey writes:

"Defendants acknowledge that an `Independent Monitor,' if one were to be ordered by the Court, can lawfully review, study, and observe MCSO operations and then advise and recommend to the Sheriff what he should or should not do. But, ultimately, it is the Sheriff's decision whether to follow the recommendations of the `Independent Monitor.' Only this Court can require, direct, or order the Sheriff to do or not to do something.

"For example, if an `Independent Monitor' believes the Sheriff must do subject `A' or refrain from doing activity `B' and the Sheriff disagrees, the Sheriff's decision carries the day unless otherwise ordered by the Court directly. However, if a monitor were to be appointed, the Sheriff submits that provisions or terms relating to such a monitor would need to make explicit that when there is disagreement between a monitor's recommended action or inaction and the Sheriff's decision, it is the exclusive province of the Court to resolve the disputed matter..."

What a crock. If the court can tell Joe what to do, and the court can appoint a monitor, then the court can assign that monitor certain duties so Snow himself doesn't have to watch over Joe's every move with ruler in hand.

Even that wouldn't be a guarantee. Remember, this is the same sheriff's office that was sanctioned for destroying evidence in this case, and which Snow dinged in his May ruling, when he observed that the MCSO had violated a previous order of the court.

I mean, jeez, in June, Snow himself signaled he was inclined to appoint a monitor. Weren't you listening, Tim?

Casey also warns ominously of what he calls "monitor creep," in which a monitor might keep his or her monitor-ship going in order to guarantee an inflow of income.

You know, kind of like a lawyer whose livelihood depends on him defending a sheriff for repeat violations of the Constitution. And being well paid to do so with the public's money, natch.

It gets better. Casey's other self-defeating argument is that the county should not be forced to pay for both the oversight of a monitor and the plaintiffs' attorneys keeping an eye on the MCSO.

If the MCSO is non-compliant, the ACLU can just drag the sheriff back into court, states Casey.

"If Plaintiffs are forced to pursue litigation in order to have Defendants comply with the Court's Orders," Casey sniffs, "the Court should decide on a case-by-case basis as to whether the Plaintiffs should be awarded any reasonable fees and costs in bringing such action."

He adds, oblivious to the irony: "In other words, the so-called English rule of `loser pays' is appropriate here."

Right-o, Timmy. And just who is the loser again? I'm tempted to send Casey a old copy of Beck's Mellow Gold. There's a song on there that'd be perfect for his ringtone.

What does Stanley Young of Covington and Burling, lead attorney for the plaintiffs, have to say about all this in his memo to the court?

Basically, that denial ain't just a river in Egypt.

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