It's not what we've been waiting for.
We've been waiting for the Justice Department to sue Sheriff Joe (and Andy Thomas) for abuse of their power, for violating the constitutional and statutory civil rights of the people of Maricopa County. This, though, is what we got.
What we got is that Justice sued Joe for being contemptuous. They don't call it that, of course, but that's what it comes to.
One provision of the 1964 Civil Rights Act says that if you take federal money, you have to give the feds access to your facilities and records so they can assure you spend it in compliance with the law. (I'm oversimplifying a lot.) Maricopa and Sheriff Joe have taken federal money. The feds have been investigating since June 2008. They've been trying to get records since March 2009.
Joe won't give access and won't turn over the records. He's said so repeatedly, by public statements and in direct communication with Justice. Justice narrows the request. Joe refuses. Justice repeats the request. Joe refuses. Justice says pretty please with chocolate sauce and a cherry on top. Joe holds a press conference and tells them to fuck off. Justice asks again, on bended knee. Joe . . . .
You get the idea.
So finally, Justice sues.
Not for violating anyone's civil rights. Just for being an obstructionist pain in the ass. For dissing the feds.
Yvonne Wingett, JJ Hensley and Michael Kiefer lay out charges and counter-charges in the Arizona Republic.