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Sheriff Joe Arpaio Denied -- Again -- On Public Records Lawsuit

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Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio has lost yet another round in his near-endless quest to read the email of Superior Court judges.

This decision, from the Arizona Court of Appeals, appears to mark the third such rejection. Arpaio's request was initially rejected by Maricopa County Superior Court Judge Norman Davis, a decision Arpaio then appealed. The appellate court unanimously upheld Judge Davis' rejection in June.

This summer, Arpaio and Maricopa County Attorney Andrew Thomas apparently hired a high-priced Washington, D.C. firm to file a special action reiterating the claim once again, this time demanding that the court turn over very similar records as covered in the first request. (The only difference seems to be that in the first case, they were demanded by Arpaio's then-flack Paul Chagolla; this time, the request came from Arpaio's chief deputy, David Hendershott, and he was also seeking information about the "storage" of old records.)

Yet the appellate court struck down the claim just two days later -- without even holding a hearing.

Really, do you think they can just let this one go now and stop wasting our money?

Records show that Arpaio filed his latest "petition for special action" on September 29. The petition was filed by Phoenix lawyer J. Arthur Eaves, but noted that Carter Phillips of the D.C.-based firm Sidley Austin had filed a pro hac vice motion to serve as Arpaio's lawyer, too. (Those motions are typically used when an out-of-town lawyer wants to work with a local attorney on an Arizona case.)

Phillips appears to be a heavy hitter. He's the managing partner at Sidley Austin -- and he was actually a law clerk to former U.S. Supreme Court Chief Justice Warren Burger. He's argued 56 cases in front of the Supreme Court.

They couldn't find anyone cheaper for a public records dispute?

Indeed, Phillips' time on the 40-page brief filed on Arpaio's behalf in this case couldn't have cheap. But Arpaio's use of a pricey out-of-state firm appears to be part of a trend for him and his BFF, Maricopa County Attorney Andrew Thomas.

Yesterday, a federal appeals court refused to reconsider Thomas' lawsuit against on the county's Spanish language DUI probation program -- even after Thomas brought in the white shoe D.C.-based firm Jones, Day to argue the case on his office's behalf.

And then, of course, there's those "celebrity prosecutors" from D.C., Victoria Toensing and Peter DiGenova, who Thomas has brought in to handle the case against Maricopa County Supervisor Don Stapley. Those guys, we know, are charging an arm and a leg: $475 an hour for in-court fees and $150 for "travel time."

But if the recent losses on the public records special action and the Spanish DUI program is any indication, Thomas and Arpaio would have been just as well off saving a few bucks and just using Lisa Aubuchon. Hey, at least she knows how to lose their crappy politically-driven cases on a county salary! 

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