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Phoenix Turns Into a Hurricane of Civil Disobedience After SB 1070 Smack-Down, and the MCSO's Police State Tactics on Parade

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"I think it's going to be a long time before they break me," Reza laughed upon his release. "I was ready to go 18 days . . . That's when the court date is."

(During a press conference four days after the latest arrest, County Attorney Rick Romley agreed with the judge in the case and dropped the charge against Reza.)

Reza has another reason to laugh: the obvious lawsuit he has on his hands for false arrest and imprisonment and the violation of his constitutional rights.

To handle that angle, Reza has retained Stephen Montoya, the dogged Phoenix attorney who represented plaintiffs in the first oral argument over SB 1070 before district court Judge Susan R. Bolton.

Montoya lamented that Arpaio cannot be sued directly. As with all of Arpaio's false arrests and the harassment of his political enemies — not to mention the numerous deaths in his jails — it's the (sigh) taxpayers of Maricopa County who foot the bill.

"God," exclaimed Montoya, "with all the millions of dollars [the county] has spent defending Joe Arpaio and defending judgments against him, we probably could have built . . . five or six schools."

BOLTON'S GAMBIT

If folks thought that Bolton's gutting the key provisions of SB 1070 would throw H2O on the flames of indignation and outrage over the "breathing-while-brown" statute, July 29's demonstrations proved them wrong.

Bolton ripped out the heart of SB 1070: the provision that would have required cops to demand papers of those they had a reasonable suspicion were in the country illegally. This, during any valid stop.

Her July 28 preliminary injunction also put on hold the part of the law that required legal resident aliens to carry their registration docs with them at all times, as well as a provision preventing day laborers here illegally from soliciting business.

Ditto the language mandating an immigration check after every arrest before the arrestee is released.

Governor Jan Brewer's team of pricey legal beagles at the Phoenix firm Snell & Wilmer asked the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals for an expedited hearing on Bolton's injunction. The Ninth Circuit immediately shot that down. Instead, oral arguments in the matter will be heard the first week of November — not in September, as Brewer's attorneys wanted.

Essentially, I was correct when I predicted a couple of weeks ago that the U.S. Department of Justice's lawsuit against SB 1070 would prevail.

Of course, the feds' suit, as well as the six other complaints against 1070 in the system, are ongoing. But Bolton filed her enjoinment in answer to the DOJ's action, and no one should doubt the impact of the federal government's arguing that SB 1070 usurped the feds' supremacy on immigration matters or that it interfered with U.S. foreign policy.

This was also the view of University of Arizona law professor Jack Chin.

"It imposes a certain drama on the situation when the actual State Department says there are foreign policy implications," he told me recently.

He pointed out that, technically, it shouldn't matter who is bringing such a lawsuit. But it does carry more weight when it's the feds complaining that their rights are getting trampled versus a third party saying the same thing.

Concerning Brewer's suggestion that she may call a special session of the Arizona Legislature to "fix" 1070, Chin said that a special session could complicate matters but that Bolton would still retain authority over the case and could alter the injunction if need be.

"This is a case, I hope, where the courts are going to do what they can to come to a decision on the merits," he offered. "That being said, I'm not sure what [the Legislature] can do to fix [1070]. Because the things [in it] were unfixable."

Nevertheless, I wouldn't put it past Brewer and neo-Nazi hugging state Senator Russell Pearce, the chief sponsor of 1070, to throw a monkey wrench into the court proceedings by messing around with the statute, thus forcing Bolton and, perhaps, the Ninth Circuit to re-examine 1070's Frankenstein corpse.

Bolton's edict has enraged right-wingers to threats of outright violence. She was reportedly deluged with incensed correspondence, some of it threatening her safety.

And though the pro-immigrant movement welcomed Bolton's enjoinment, many in it were still angered by the climate of hate in Arizona and the fact that Bolton's injunction didn't cover several troubling provisions.

For instance, local law enforcement agencies still are prohibited from adopting polices that limit the enforcement of federal immigration law. Private citizens can sue those entities if they believe they have.

Also, 1070's "harboring" provision remains in place, and it could affect those rendering humanitarian assistance to illegal aliens, or even offering them a ride.

Day laborers are still on the hook if they impede the flow of traffic when getting picked up by prospective employers, who also can be collared.

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