Friday, May 11, 2012

With All Deliberate Slowness: DOJ v. Sheriff Joe

You'll be shocked, shocked to hear that he didn't just roll over.  Or maybe not.

But then, you don't live in a world where you think everyone should fear you, where you know that the hearts of people in power are all pure.  You don't believe in the Easter Bunny, either, I suspect.
Thomas Perez probably doesn't believe in the Easter Bunny, either (though I don't know that for sure).  He does, apparently, buy into the rest of that.
Perez is the Assistant Attorney General in charge of the Civil Rights Division of the Department of Justice, and he's just deeply disappointed they couldn't work it out.Oh, sure, they disbarred Andy.  Then again, he didn't exactly go gently into that good night, hanging his head in shame.  Hell, from his point of view, he's a martyr.
So what were the odds that Sheriff Joe would cave? Would admit he could use some help?
Gosh golly, I must have fucked up.  Sure, I'll let you guys appoint an overseer to make sure I do better from now on?
No, you wouldn't think so.
Though Perez apparently did. So he's surprised and disappointed that it's come to this.
This is only the second time, Perez said, that they've had to sue.  In whole bunches of other cases, from one end of this fine country to the other, they've settled, worked out agreements, collaborated on fixing the problem.  Perez ought to pay attention to his own complaint.  Here, if you don't want to go back up the page, is how it begins.
  1. The Maricopa County Sheriff's Office (MCSO) and Sheriff Joseph M. Arpaio (Arpaio) have engaged and continue to engage in a pattern or practice of unlawful discriminatory police conduct directed at Latinos in Maricopa County and jail practices that unlawfully discriminate against Latino  prisoners with limited English language skills. . . . In addition, Defendants MCSO and Arpaio pursue a pattern or practice of illegal retaliation against their perceived critics by subjecting them to baseless criminal actions, unfounded civil lawsuits, or meritless administrative actions.
  2. As a result of the pattern or practice of unlawful discrimination, Latinos in Maricopa County are systematically denied their constitutional rights . . . . MCSO and Arpaio's conduct is neither constitutional nor effective law enforcement.
Oh, sure, Joe would sign off on that in a heartbeat.
My bad. Mea culpa. I need help.
Really, though, Joe won't be fixed because Joe isn't the problem.  Perez is.  Or so Joe says. He sees this as an Obama-inspired witch hunt designed to garner Latino votes for the re-election campaign.
We are not racist. We do not racial profile. 
There you go.  Ain't true. How do we know it isn't true?
There's no systemic proof of that.
Ah, if it can't be proved, it didn't happen.  And of course, vindication is on the way.
I'm very happy that we are being sued.
Now, vindication for Joe is an interesting thing. Here's E.J. Montini for the Arizona Republic after talking with Mike Manning, a lawyer who's sued Joe successfully.
In January 1999, Manning got an $8.25 million court settlement for the family of a jail inmate named Scott Norberg, who died while being manhandled in a restraint chair in Arpaio’s jail.

Arpaio declared victory because the monetary judgment didn’t require him to admit guilt.

In 2006 a federal jury awarded $9 million to the estate and the parents of a mentally challenged man named Charles Agster III, who also died in a restraint chair at the county jail.

Again, Arpaio declared victory, this time because the judge reduced the jury’s original $10 million award by a million.
Montini sums it up this way. (The italics are EJ's.)
Arpaio doesn’t lose, even when he loses. Especially when he loses.So look for a declaration of victory.  Some day.
Joe's been Sheriff for decades, and his been doing the same stuff all that time. DOJ began investigating Joe in 2008, when Shrub was still President. It would have gone faster, Perez says, if Joe hadn't been obstructionist. Now, of course, we can assume he'll cooperate.  After all, he certainly won't want to live under the cloud of this lawsuit.
Oh, wait, yes he will.
And then, whatever happens, he'll declare victory. 

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