Oral arguments took place February 4 regarding a sanctions motion from the plaintiffs in the big Melendres vs. Arpaio racial profiling lawsuit now underway. I had to be out of town on an assignment, and so could not attend the verbal donnybrook, but I did obtain a transcript of the proceedings, which occurred before District Court Judge G. Murray Snow.
You can read the full transcript, here
Snow has yet to rule on a motion for sanctions from the plaintiffs regarding the massive destruction of evidence that lawyers uncovered as they deposed sheriff's deputies.
Despite repeated requests for all documents regarding Joe Arpaio's anti-immigration sweeps, the MCSO kept shredding stat sheets used by individual deputies and posse members to keep records of the stops they made. (I reported on this in a November blog item.) Lawyers for the plaintiffs were also after all internal e-mails regarding the sweeps and the planning of same.
Though no e-mails from such higher-ups as Arpaio and Chief Deputy David Hendershott were forthcoming, attorneys from the firm Steptoe and Johnson uncovered a secret AOL account for Hendershott from which he'd done county business.
Also, during Arpaio's deposition in December, the sheriff admitted on camera that he had his own private immigration file, which he had not turned over as part of the discovery process. Indeed, Arpaio said under oath that no one had advised him that he needed to preserve such documents. The sheriff also claimed not to use e-mail or texting. The file, you see, was a physical one.
Peter Kozinets, a Steptoe and Johnson lawyer, made the point regarding Arpaio's secret file to Snow:
"...The named defendant, Sheriff Arpaio himself, was never asked to preserve or produce his own files relating to these issues," said Kozinets during the hearing, "so that more than two years after the case was filed, no one had had a discussion with the sheriff asking for these basic files.
"So as a result, we took his deposition in December last year. Within the last week or so, on January 21st, we finally got the sheriff's immigration file: 820 pages of press releases that he apparently edited; of correspondence; of other documents relating to all of these issues. We also got 200 pages or more of Internal Affairs investigations into claims of racial profiling. These were documents that we asked for in July of 2008 and again in February of 2009 in our Rule 34 requests."
Arpaio's legal beagle Timothy Casey addressed concerns about the Arpaio docs and the secret Hendershott account:
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