A judge on Friday ordered the seizure of identification documents and computer hard drives from Sheriff Joe Arpaio’s office, and chastised his attorneys for failing to turn over the evidence, requested months ago in a racial-profiling case against the Arizona lawman.
The U.S. Marshals Service later raided the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office.
U.S. District Judge Murray Snow ordered the raid after a court-ordered monitor reported the sheriff’s office failed to hand over more than 1,400 identification documents – driver’s licenses, passports and identification cards – as part of a misconduct investigation involving the sheriff’s office.
Arpaio’s immigration smuggling squad and other deputies are accused of regularly pocketing items from people during traffic stops and busts of safe houses used during illegal-immigrant smuggling.
Court monitors claim the IDs belonged primarily to people of Hispanic descent.
Robert Warshaw, the official monitoring the sheriff’s office for the judge, claims the documents were slated for destruction. Warshaw also contends the sheriff’s office ordered employees not to voluntarily reveal the existence of the records.
Arpaio’s attorney John Masterson said the court had no evidence the IDs were handled improperly.
The 50 hard drives are related to Arpaio’s secret investigation involving the judge, who dealt Arpaio one of his toughest legal defeats in 2013 when he concluded deputies had racially profiled Latinos during traffic stops.
Months later, the judge ordered a sweeping overhaul of the agency to stamp out the “unconstitutional” practice. The order included employing an independent monitoring team to oversee the agency’s compliance.
The hard drives originated from a Seattle computer programmer named Dennis Montgomery, who was hired by Arpaio to eavesdrop on Snow’s wife after she was reportedly overheard making prejudicial statements about the sheriff during the 2012 election.
The investigator intended to prove the federal government was colluding against Arpaio by pressing a separate civil-rights lawsuit against him for racial profiling.
As WND reported, Arpaio has pressed for the judge to allow Montgomery to participate in the legal dispute, and in a recent filing suggests, strongly, that the judge is pursuing his own interests by delaying a decision on the motion to allow the investigator to intervene.
“The delay in this lawsuit is creating much more than the appearance that this court is working in concert with the American Civil Liberties Union in order to harm defendant Sheriff Joe Arpaio and intervenor Dennis Montgomery, as well as make good on its commitment, expressed by the court’s wife as confirmed by neutral persons, to ‘destroy’ Sheriff Joseph Arpaio so the sheriff cannot be reelected in 2016.”
The verbal barrage comes from attorney Larry Klayman of Freedom Watch, who pointed out the rancor is so bad in the case that his client Montgomery, who had provided information at one point to Arpaio and was drawn into the current dispute that way, has filed a suit against the ACLU over their statements against him in the case.
“This case represents a multifaceted and growing conflict of interest not only by the ACLU and its attorneys but as important the equally unethical conduct by the court which must cease immediately,” the motion notes.
WND reported earlier on the bitter fight to have Snow removed from the case.
At the center of the effort to remove the judge is a statement from a witness, Karen Morris Grissom, who told the sheriff the judge hates him.
The witness explained to Arpaio that she was a childhood friend of the judge’s wife.
Mrs. Snow, Grissom said, “told me that her husband hates u and will do anything to get u out of office.”
In 2014, Arpaio was the first to file a lawsuit over President Obama’s executive amnesty.
Less than two hours after Obama announced a solo move to protect millions of illegal aliens from deportation, Arpaio took him to court to have the Constitution upheld.
The original lawsuit names Obama and Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson, Immigration Services chief Leon Rodriquez and Attorney General Eric Holder as defendants.
It seeks to avoid “irreversible harm” from Obama’s actions because they will “encourage[e] more illegal aliens to enter the country unlawfully.”
Arpaio, who has been consistently at odds with the Obama administration, released a statement at the time: “I am not seeking to myself enforce the immigration laws as this is the province of the federal government. Rather, I am seeking to have the president and the other defendants obey the U.S. Constitution, which prevents this executive order from having been issued in the first place. This unconstitutional act must be enjoined by a court of law on behalf of not just myself, but all of the American people.”
[Last edited Jul 30, 2015 16:50:59]