Sunday, May 26, 2013

Snow v. Joe

So they can't figure out what to do with Jodi Arias who either plotted and carried out the cold blooded murder or . . . . Ah, the hell with it. 

Twelve good men (and women) and true couldn't agree unanimously on whether she should be put to death on their direction or spared to spend the remainder of her life in prison with no hope of ever being released.  Execution or Death in Prison.*

Of course, the media knows.  The folks who follow the trial as entertainment know.  Everyone knows.  But those fools on the jury.  Sigh. 

Frankly, there's nothing remotely interesting about the Jody Arias case (unless the near-pornographic salaciousness turns you on).  Well, there is the fact that since the jury couldn't decide the prosecutors can, if they insist on trying to have her killed rather than letting her rot - they get to redo the sentencing phase in front of a brand new 12.  Who will have to learn all the facts and circumstances of the crime, and then all the reasons why she should or should not be --

Good god.  Television may never recover.

Really, though, I didn't want to write about her case.  I have nothing interesting to say about it.  Except, well, it's Maricopa County, and we here at the home office of the Gamso for the Defense blawg haven't been paying much attention to the goings on there since Andy Thomas got his ticket yanked and DOJ finally got around to suing Sheriff Joe.

G. Murray Snow District Judge.jpgBut now, in one week, there's the penalty-phase mistrial and, finally, a decision in Melendres v. Arpaio.  Friday, the Honorable G. Murray Snow, U.S. District Judge for the District of Arizona (that's him on the right), appointed to the federal bench by President Shrub, issued his Findings of Fact and Conclusions of Law in which he found and concluded that Joe and his deputies operate in exactly as unconstitutional and racist a manner as everybody who actually paid any attention knew they did. 

Their actions, Judge Santos said, violate the Fourth Amendment rights of Latinos in Maricopa County to be free from unreasonable searches and seizures.  And, he said, they violate to "equal protection under the
Fourteenth Amendmentto the Constitution and Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

Fernanda Santos in the Times:
At 142 pages, the decision is peppered with stinging criticism of the policies and practices espoused by Sheriff Arpaio, who Judge Snow said had turned much of his focus to arresting immigrants who were in the country illegally, in most cases civil violations, at the expense of fighting crimes. 
He said the sheriff relied on racial profiling and illegal detentions to target Latinos, using their ethnicity as the main basis for suspecting they were in the country illegally. Many of the people targeted were American citizens or legal residents.
To all of which, as you might expect, Tim Casey, a lawyer representing Joe and his boys, said
No flies on us.
OK, I admit that was a bit flip.  Here's what he actually said, according to Santos.
Tim Casey, a lawyer for the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office, said the office intended to appeal, but in the meantime it would “comply with the letter and spirit of the court’s decision.”
He said the office’s position is that it “has never used race and never will use race to make any law enforcement decision.” 
The office relied on training from the United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency, he said, adding, “It’s obvious it received bad training from the federal government.” 
Got that? We didn't do anything wrong. We will of course obey the judge's injunctions, as we always do the right thing.  We're appealing because we always do the right thing.  It's the fault of the federal government that we did the wrong things.  Which we didn't do. 

Anyway, and regardless of the spin, Arpaio and his minions lost.  Which is right and appropriate.  And there is an injunction.
IT IS THEREFORE ORDERED that Plaintiffs are entitled to injunctive relief necessary to remedy the Fourth and Fourteenth Amendment violations caused by MCSO’s past and continuing operations. The MCSO is thus permanently enjoined from:
            1. Detaining, holding or arresting Latino occupants of vehicles in Maricopa County based on a reasonable belief, without more, that such persons are in the country without authorization.
            2. Following or enforcing its LEAR policy against any Latino occupant of a vehicle in Maricopa County.
            3. Using race or Latino ancestry as a factor in determining to stop any vehicle in Maricopa County with a Latino occupant.
            4. Using race or Latino ancestry as a factor in making law enforcement decisions with respect to whether any Latino occupant of a vehicle in Maricopa County may be in the country without authorization. 
             5. Detaining Latino occupants of vehicles stopped for traffic violations for a period longer than reasonably necessary to resolve the traffic violation in the absence of reasonable suspicion that any of them have committed or are committing a violation of federal or state criminal law.
            6. Detaining, holding or arresting Latino occupants of a vehicle in Maricopa County for violations of the Arizona Human Smuggling Act without a reasonable basis for believing that, under all the circumstances, the necessary elements of the crime are present.             7. Detaining, arresting or holding persons based on a reasonable suspicion that they are conspiring with their employer to violate the Arizona Employer Sanctions Act.
And there's going to be a hearing June 14 where they'll all sit down and try to figure out how to make Arpaio actually obey.  Which, you'll recall, he insists he will do since he's never done those things before and certainly won't now because they're right and noble and the American way and the judge said to knock it off and besides, he's appealing to have the ruling overturned so he can go back to doing what he's always been doing which is exactly what he wants not to be ordered to do because then the terrorists communists wetbacks persons of foreign but not northern European extraction who entered this country without authorization from him would win. Or something.

Andy Jackson is said to have said when the Supreme Court told him he couldn't remove the Cherokee to Indian Country,
"John Marshall has made his decision; now let him enforce it."

Patrik Jonsson in the Christian Science Monitor wonders if this isn't a "turning point" for Joe.
But if the court ruling represents a victory for immigration advocates and a legal reversal for Arpaio, it's also clear that, even before the ruling, Arpaio had been losing support among more educated white voters even as opposition against him had galvanized among ascendant Hispanic voters, the Arizona Capital Times newspaper reported recently. Arpaio won reelection with only 50.7 percent of the vote last November, his lowest total.
My friend Nick, who's on the ground in Arizona (though not in Maricopa), had a slightly different take.
People sorta figure he's going to keep doing what he's been doing until he is removed from office, dies, or is sent to prison. 
Which is another way of saying that Joe's likely to channel Andy Jackson's (likely apocryphal) response to a smackdown from the Supreme Court, just changing the name from John Marshall.
Judge Snow has made his decision; now let him enforce it.
Since nobody with any authority in Arizona, and certainly nobody in the Justice Department seems to have the cojones seriously to take Joe on, that leaves the voters and the Grim Reaper.  Of course, Joe just did win reelection.  Then again, he turns 81 in a couple of weeks.

*Actually, it appears that Arizona law also allows a sentence of life with parole eligibility.  All those who think that a likely sentence, feel free to raise your hands now.  That's what I thought.  In any event, parole eligibility isn't the same as parole.  Just ask Susan Atkins.  Ooops, too late.  She's dead.  Died in prison.  After being denied parole. 

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