Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Is Arpaio engaging in jury retaliation now?

Everyday he seems less like a law enforcement professional and more like some tinhorn would-be jerkwater despot...

Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio was interviewed this spring by a writer from The New Yorker magazine. During part of that interview, Arpaio received a rather interesting phone call.

From -

...[Writer William] Finnegan visited the Valley this spring to research the article. While riding along with the sheriff one day, he writes, "someone named Jim, who sounded like a deputy, called from the courthouse."

Arpaio put the call on speaker phone, Finnegan writes, and Jim "said he was observing jury selection in a case there."

After one prospective juror told the judge that Arpaio was her hero, the caller reportedly said, "So the next lady says, 'Joe is not my hero.' Then she says she's the wife of the mayor of Mesa."

According to the article, Arpaio responded, "I knew it! I never trusted that mayor. He's pro-immigrant. He's never going to fire that chief. We gotta raid Mesa again."

Note: An abstract of the New Yorker article is here; a subscription is required to view the article in its entirety.

The courthouse in question is the federal courthouse in Phoenix. The wife of Mesa's mayor had been called for federal jury duty.

Ignoring, for the moment, the part about retaliating against a juror from Mesa for saying something vaguely critical of Arpaio, I have to ask -

What was an MCSO deputy doing in federal court?

The county sheriff's office provides security in *county* courts, not federal courts.

Was the deputy there spying for Arpaio, and if so, was it on the County dime?

If he was there as part of the case at hand (a human smuggling case, so it's not exactly out of the realm of possibility that one of Arpaio's deputies was there as part of his professional duties), did he violate any rules concerning the dissemination of a juror's personal info to someone who wasn't in the courtroom, especially since the unauthorized recipient threatened retaliation against the juror?

As for the part about jury tampering/intimidation/retaliation, Title 18, Chapter 73, Section 1503 of U.S. Code lists the penalties for such as starting at 10 years in prison. However, a problem with that section of code (for that matter, the problem with most such statutes) is that the language seems to assume that only the alleged "bad guys" (such as defendants) would engage in jury tampering/etc., not the alleged "good guys" (such as sworn law enforcement officers and elected officials).

Still, it would be rather ironic if Arpaio skated on the federal investigations into the way he runs the county's jails only to be brought down by a wiseass comment made to a writer, a comment on an unrelated matter.



Eli Blake said...

Unfortunately the Sheriff of Nottingham has convinced 51% (at least) of Maricopa County that he walks on water so I suspect the only way he will leave his office is if he gets nailed for something and leaves in handcuffs.

And even then there are morons who would vote for him if he did a Mayor Flynn and ran his campaign from jail.

Anonymous said...

thanks for this intresting thing .. thanks

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