17 Aug 08

Arizona Sheriff Needs A Stay In Own Jail!

Tue Aug 12, 2008 1:35 PM EDT

Jon's Jail Journal got a brief mention in this recent news story.

As the ACLU's lawsuit against Maricopa County, Arizona Sheriff Joe Arpaio for his inhumane treatment of prisoners housed in the hell holes he calls jails in and around Phoenix kicks off today, one would think the sheriff would have tried his best to look outright holy in the public's eye. Not so. In fact, quite the opposite is true of the man who declares that he loves being sued, sucking up the television spotlights, and being called upon by Fox Noise as though he were America's Sheriff.
Arpaio appeared yesterday in front of reporters in Phoenix and tried to use documents long debunked by the courts to 'prove' his case for the cameras. This lying, tyrannical, bumbling excuse for a lawman may yet find out that voters in Maricopa County have had enough. He may also yet find himself behind the bars of the very jails he oversees.
It's always hard when one who has been propped up by the media to be a national hero turns out to be little more than a common thug. One who believes the laws of the land are to be obeyed by others, but not himself. But all of that will change very quickly if a group of Arizonans calling themselves Joe's Got To Go have there way. Putting together a web site that details so many instances of wrongdoing and criminal conduct by the ham handed sheriff, that it is almost surprising that Arpaio hasn't arrested himself. Let's see what the law and order types have been up to.
Since January of 2004, Arpaio has had over 3,500 lawsuits launched against him. The accusations range from abuse of prisoners, jail conditions so horrible they'd make Bush and Cheney blanch, wrongful deaths in his jails, destruction of evidence to cover up the true facts of those deaths, and many many other charges. The total bill to the citizens of that particular county has been $42 million dollars since 2004. In one of the wrongful death suits, a blind prisoner who was serving a short stint for shoplifting was in solitary confinement when he was found with a broken neck, broken toes, severe internal injuries, and a ruptured intestine. Arpaio brushed off the death as a 'poor guy who fell out of bed'. When a lawsuit was filed by the man's family, all evidence of what happened to the man 'disappeared', with the court finding that Arpaio's deputies had destroyed evidence. So much for law and order.
The funny thing about these 'Bring 'em on' lawsuits though, is that Arpaio keeps referring to the money being thrown down the well as "my money'. No, Joe, the money belongs to the taxpayers. It's not your personal piggy bank. Using private attorneys paid for with taxpayer dollars to fight these suits instead of the county's lawyers, somehow smacks of criminal conduct, as in misappropriation of taxpayer money. Looked at another way, the cities of New York, Los Angeles, Chicago and Houston had a combined total of 61 lawsuits against jail conditions between 2004 and 2008.
One of Joe's many violations of the Eighth Amendment to the Constitution he swore to defend and uphold includes the placing of cameras in the bathroom areas of the women's section of his horror show, and streaming it live on the web for all to tune in and watch. It took a lawsuit to get him to stop. Anyone else would have been charged with all sorts of sexual offenses, and be labeled a sex offender. Let's just assume by his actions that he is one.
In his attempt to make the Maricopa County Jail System the most terrible gulag in the world, surpassing Gitmo and Abu Garib, Arpaio feeds his prisoners only twice a day. One meal almost always consists of contaminated baloney and rotten fruit. Arpaio justifies this by saying he's saving the county money, despite being told by the courts he can not do this. Another practice that is completely outside the bounds of the law, is Arpaio's use of better conditions for confessions. Those who wish to have a trial by jury are left to swelter in tents in the middle of the desert, in 120 degree heat. If you agree to a plea bargain that will end in conviction, you're moved inside.
In today's East Valley Tribune, there is a 'special report' that shows that at least 60 inmates have died between 2004 and 2008 due to a lack of medical treatment. In one of the cases, a woman brought into the jail told deputies that she was a diabetic, gave them the schedule for her insulin shots, and was placed in a cell. When the time came for her shot, staff ignored her, and when she went into insulin shock, other inmates pleaded with deputies to get her medical attention. The pleas went unanswered and the woman died. Her crime? A probation violation for drug paraphernalia.
Joe also has shown a love for bugs. Refusing any sort of pest control at his facilities, the cockroach problem is so bad that inmates are reduced to buying extra tubes of toothpaste to seal up cracks in an attempt to keep the critters out. Former inmate Shaun Attwood, who spent two years in Arpaio's roach hotels writes all about his experiences on his blog. An excert: " On Wednesday, I was moved back to my original floor, into one of the most infested pods in the building. Completely unarmed with AmerFresh, I watched helplessly as the cockroaches sized me up from the myriad cracks in the walls. I knew as soon as the lights went off I was doomed. My cellmate, Mark, and I didn’t get much sleep. We stayed awake watching the legions of cockroaches conquer the room. Slowly gathering into larger numbers around us, they swarmed the floor. The walls. The ceiling. Our commissary bags. And finally, our bunks."
Despite actual street marches in Guadalupe and Mesa against Arpaio, and demands that conditions for inmates be improved, Arpaio laughs the protests off as the actions of malcontents, and declares that he'll run things as he sees fit. Court orders? Ha! He's the sheriff don't you know, and as sheriff HE IS the law! And he proved it when he attacked the local press, in particular, The Phoenix New Times. In violation of who knows how many laws, Arpaio got the County Attorney to issue secret grand jury subpoenas for the records of all of the publication's online subscribers for the past four years. Huh? Why would he do that you ask? Because the New Times revealed the sheriff's questionable real estate transactions, so the good sheriff promptly had the newspaper's leaders arrested on made up charges of revealing a law enforcement officer's address. The paper's investigations into Arpaio and the County Attorney, Andrew Thomas revealed intimidation of political rivals, racial profiling by the Sheriff's Department, shady land deals, and the intimidation of media critics. The entire arrest affair escalated to the point that when Village Voice Media Executive Michael Lacey tried to get some background on the details of the arrest of the New Times personnel, HE was arrested himself!
That was when the public finally had enough of the Chicago mafia tactics of their run amok sheriff and the County Attorney dropped all charges due to the outcry. See, Arpaio doesn't believe that he has to follow the Constitution or the law period. Ten different studies have shown his treatment of prisoners to be inhumane and one of the studies, done by Arpaio himself, says that all of Arpaio's facilities fall far below the Constitutional standards of humane treatment. These are not all hardened criminals we're talking about here. We're talking about people awaiting trial, or even just a preliminary hearing. Not convicts, but citizens who can not afford the monstrously high bails. As citizens, there can be no punishment meted out, but yet, in Arpaio's guilty till proven innocent fun ride, punishment for the sake of punishment is the name of the game. He says so himself. That's called sadism in any other circle of people.
The voters of Maricopa County have a chance to dump this legal terrorist by the side of the road come November 4th. All indications are that they will, as Democrats are pressing hard. Not just because Joe Arpaio is a Republican up for re-election, but because he's a law breaking, stalinistic, dictatorial, neo-con piece of gutter trash, and the side of the road is where trash belongs. Better yet, hopefully after he's voted out of office and the new sheriff decides a house cleaning is due, Joe Arpaio will get to visit the hellish conditions he imposed on fellow Americans. Because despite everyone's desire to have law and order in our country, we do not countenance what amounts to torture, both mental and physical. Someone please make sure there's an extra set of pink underwear saved with Joe's name on them...............
Say it ain't so Joe.....................! Rupert Murdoch still loves you though..................
#1 - Tue Aug 12, 2008 1:36 PM EDT
Gotta love the guy, he get's things done.
#2 - Tue Aug 12, 2008 2:44 PM EDT
Maybe. But he does so illegally.
#2.1 - Tue Aug 12, 2008 2:50 PM EDT
he gets things done.....if you are against civil rights.
#2.2 - Tue Aug 12, 2008 6:39 PM EDT
This is one of the most one sided articles I've seen on Newsvine so far. Fact: You said Women's Underwear. Look at the picture? Even my grandma wouldn't wear underwear like that (they are commonly called boxers, BTW).
Fact: You said
the most terrible gulag in the world, surpassing Gitmo and Abu Garib
. You are kidding, right? Do you think the prisons in North Korea are leisure lounges like the Federal Facility at Eglin Air Force Base in Florida? I can cite you literally hundreds of prisons around the world that the inmates would jump at the chance to go to Gitmo or Abu Ghraib or the Sheriff's little camp. How many criminals do you suppose are going to say nice things about it? Criminals would never lie, right? It's meant as a deterent. Would you mind throwing in some figures, like recidivism rate as compared to other jails?
I would go on, but I need to deep breath a couple times. It would be nice if people did a little more real research than skimming the surface and throwing up the expose' titallating facts.
#3 - Tue Aug 12, 2008 3:11 PM EDT
#1) Fact: Just because the picture shows a pair of men's pink undies doesn't preclude the fact that as punishment, Arpaio forces male detainees to wear women's underwear as he shoves them into solitary for whatever reason.
#2) Fact: The recidivism rate in Maricopa County is 65%
#3) Fact: I skimmed NO surface, but delved all across cyberspace to put this piece together. And only covered about 1/4th of Joe Arpaio's little criminal enterprise.
#4) Fact: Here's some figures to think about. Law and order Joe claims that his methods work so well that he is reducing crime. He claims, in documents the courts have found to be unsubstantiated, that crime in Maricopa County has declined on his watch. Oh? Then explain this:
Jail population in:
2004 - 8,657 2005 - 9,054 2006 - 9,7332007 - 10249
Or this: Arizona has the 8th highest murder rate in the U.S., with Maricopa County leading the way. They also imprison 808 people per every 100,000 .
But, let's push that aside and address the issue of conditions at Joey's Jails. From your fuming outrage, it would seem that you feel that even though the courts have ordered Joe to improve conditions at his jails, and he has thumbed his nose at the courts, that's ok.
The fact that he has been sued 3,500 times since 2004 doesn't bother you either? Or 60 dead prisoners, of whom in at least one instance his department was forced to admit they had destroyed evidence that suggested the inmate was murdered by prison staff?
Your claim that 'criminals would never lie'. Hold on there a second. More than 3/4 of Joe's prisoners are awaiting trial. Innocent until proven guilty. Never had a court date yet, they're just too poor to afford bail. So they sit and rot, eating contaminated food and being punished, as you say, for a crime they have not been convicted of. That's against the Eighth Amendment, one of the ones they forgot to destroy. You can not mete out 'punishment' to detainees that are not convicted yet. They have all the rights of every other citizen. Sometimes law enforcement and right wingers like to leave that part out.
Despite your being able to name hundreds of prisons worse than Arpaio's gulag, I still contend that in the United States of America, or at least MY United States, we don't have gulags, we don't abuse and kill prisoners, we don't deny them medical attention in violation of laws and Supreme Court orders, and we don't force people to live in tents in 120 degree heat, or in bug infested cells, or eat rotten food.
One sided? No. There's thousands of Maricopa victims, relatives of victims and just decent citizens who wish to see the last of Joe Arpaio and his run amok Sheriff's Office. The law means everyone. Not just everyone except...............Arpaio only spouts the law and order line for the cameras. When they're turned off, he runs very shady business transactions, arrests reporters who look into it, and violates court orders and the Constitutional rights of all who get in is way, including political rivals.
That may sound perfectly ok to you, but to myself and many others, it sounds like a sheriff who needs arresting himself.........................
#4 - Tue Aug 12, 2008 3:53 PM EDT
Jason Ford
I am not necessarily disputing any of your facts, but do you have any sources for any of them?
#5 - Tue Aug 12, 2008 4:28 PM EDT
So many it's not even funny.
First and foremost though, would be the site I named above. These guys have tried to garner as much info into one place that they can. It's at joesgottogo.com
From there you can go to the sites of several Arizona news agencies, such as the East Valley Tribune, Arizona New Times, The Arizonan among a few.
Then poke around the Maricopa County Court's .pdf documents and start looking at all the judgements, settled out of court lawsuits, orders from the court, etc. You'll be astounded at just how much material there actually is that you never see Fox Noise asking Joey about.
I wonder just how he bought that plot of land at such a low interest rate? Ahh, I'll put my tin foil hat back on and let you guys judge for yourselves......................
#5.1 - Tue Aug 12, 2008 4:42 PM EDT
I live in Maricopa county and I will never vote for Joe Arpaio. His sheriffs department only does what brings attention to Joe Arpaio. We had a convicted sex offender living across the street from us. He was not registered in his new residence and he had a restraining order against him for molesting his step daughter. When he showed up at the house (his residence that his restraining order prevented him from visiting) we called 911. The response from 911 was to call the Sheriffs office between the hours of 9 and 5 Monday - Friday. This call was either Friday or Saturday night (I don't remember which). We had to call 911 one other time and had a similar runaround. I don't know much about Arpaio but I do know that his Sheriffs department is dysfunctional.
That being said, I applaud his stance on illegal immigration and much of his handling of criminals.
#6 - Tue Aug 12, 2008 4:41 PM EDT
I found that there have been complaints that since 2004, the Maricopa Sheriff's response time has gone from 4 minutes to about 16 minutes under Arpaio. I also saw testimonies from people who claim it took hours and others who claim no one ever showed up at all.
Maybe if Joey wasn't doling out $42 million taxpayer dollars to settle all these lawsuits, he could afford to hire some more cops.....................
#6.1 - Tue Aug 12, 2008 4:45 PM EDT
As far as the numbers going up, so is the population, so are illegals. Sherriff Joe is one of the few law Enforcement Officers not to cower to those not abiding by the law. As far as tent city. Do any of you have any idea what the costs are to run a jail? Sherriff Joe has cut costs at the inmates expense instead raiser taxes for the public. Sherriff Joe has a soft spot for animals and has created programs for the betterment of animals and inmates
#7 - Tue Aug 12, 2008 4:59 PM EDT
More information can be found here:
Google has about 10 pages of pro and con on this man
#8 - Tue Aug 12, 2008 7:28 PM EDT
Want to get the flavor of how the average taxpayer feels about illegal immigration? Just go to www.arizonacentral.com. You will read the rage that people have about the impact of unenforced illegal immigration. Sure Joe pisses some folks off. He doesn't care. His position is easy to understand. "The law is the law". Sanctuary cities don't smell as sweet as the word sounds.
#9 - Tue Aug 12, 2008 7:57 PM EDT
I think some have missed the point here. Let me try this another way.
We all know the President, Vice-President, and many of their senior people are guilty of crimes. Does Nancy Pelosi's 'impeachment is off the table' sound like the right solution?
Same thing here. It doesn't matter if you love Joe Arpaio or hate him. When you are ordered by a court to do something, and the highest court in the state agrees with that order, you do it, or you are as guilty of breaking the law as everyone else. There is NO provision in any state law that I know of whereby the sheriff of any county or parish is above the law, and Arpaio clearly believes he is. That makes him a criminal, period.
It's because of people being so willing to allow for the police state mentality of "Oh, Daddy, please protect me, I'll give up my rights, and you can do anything you want" to permeate our society that people like Arpaio, who was probably beaten up as a child in school, and is clearly little more than a law breaking sadist, are in charge of so many things right now, and THAT ladies and gentlemen, has got to end, or we're through as a country.
#10 - Tue Aug 12, 2008 8:35 PM EDT
Joe, remember KARMA, sometimes Karma can be a real @!$%#!!!!
#11 - Tue Aug 12, 2008 9:13 PM EDT
If the highest court of the land or in this case, the state has said that he is breaking the law, then why hasn't he been arrested? Why has the Governor not issued an arrest warrant? The state police work directly for the governor-why hasn't he directed them to go in and seize the Sheriff?
From an intellectual standpoint, your supposition that he was probably beaten as a child is nothing but speculation on your part and has no value, unless you have believable sources you can link.
If you feel (and I stress you) that the President, Vice-President and many other senior people are guilty of crimes, then Pelosi is an accessory after the fact, no? Then she should be arrested also, correct? Have you thought that Pelosi knew, as many others do, that there is no way that they could ever convict any of these people of anything, hence they didn't bother proceeding? And lots of president's, from both sides of the aisle have broken laws big and small and none, that I know of, have ever been convicted.
If you can provide some additional supporting links besides the one website, I might be inclined to give your article more credence-if you showed both sides of the argument-That being said, I don't live in or visit that area of the country, so I don't really have an iron in that fire. If you do live there, good luck.
#12 - Tue Aug 12, 2008 9:18 PM EDT
SpikGary: Did you actually read the article? In the very first paragraph I noted that the ACLU was taking Arpaio back to court today to force him to obey previous court orders.
For some unknown reason, you're bent on throwing red herring arguments into this that don't exist.
Why has the Governor not issued an arrest warrant? Good question. Why don't you ask him?
Impressing the case as in "If you feel (and I stress you)" is another red herring designed to try to show that I'm one of the very few who feel this way, when we all know that's not the case.
Pelosi is much more than an accessory after the fact. She knew all about the torture memos and what they had planned well before any of it ever took place. But that's for another day.
This being an OPINION piece, I don't wish to show both sides of the argument. Unlike the mainstream media, which feels they have an obligation to air two sides of a story, even when one side is clearly a lie, and it being one of the reasons America is in such trouble now, I don't feel any such compunction. No one knows what the truth is any more. I tell it like I see it, and that means that as far as I'm concerned, Joe Arpaio is nothing more than a thug and a criminal, who once he got a taste of the television cameras, became addicted to the limelight, and decided to do anything it took to remain there, including breaking the law.
Somehow it has escaped any mention by most that Arpaio routinely violates the civil rights of those in his custody, the deaths that have occurred, or the $42 million dollars wasted on lawsuits that Arpaio himself said he welcomes and relishes.
I gave several sources to check out, not just one.
#12.1 - Tue Aug 12, 2008 10:11 PM EDT
Why has the Governor not issued an arrest warrant? Good question. Why don't you ask him?
This is your article, not mine-Seems like people are claiming (as you said before about the prisoners, innocent until proven guilty) that he broke the law, and yet, all of a sudden it comes to a stop? That really doesn't make any sense. He's failing to obey a court order, but the judge has not thrown him in jail for contempt? Why not? It seems there must be more to the story than what your referenced site has.
You referenced the President, Vice President, et al. and that is what I was responding to.
I don't want this to devolve into a personal go round. I'm in a place right now mentally where I don't have much if any sympathy for criminals (my son's house was recently burglarized and burned by an individual who has a history of similar crimes and was immediately let out on $15K bail) and I know it is affecting my personal viewpoint. I did not mean to insult you and if I did, I apologize.
#12.2 - Wed Aug 13, 2008 7:48 AM EDT
Are we really shocked that powerful public officials are not held accountable when they break the law? Joe Arpaio is much more powerful than Janet Napolitano ever will be.
#12.3 - Wed Aug 13, 2008 11:41 AM EDT
His celebrity has gone to his head ... I don't think making prisoners wear pink is undue punishment and I also like his stance on illegal immigrants, but he goes way too far. He's a "reality TV' sheriff in real life. He might have had good intentions to start out with, but it sounds like he's gone way beyond that.
#13 - Tue Aug 12, 2008 9:50 PM EDT
Jason Ford
Tent city isn't a bad idea either. As for the rest of the stuff, I don't know enough about it yet to say.
#13.1 - Tue Aug 12, 2008 9:53 PM EDT
At least he is enforcing our laws, more than I can say for the present administration.
I think I'll write in Sheriff Joe in November!
#15 - Wed Aug 13, 2008 8:01 AM EDT
A Sergeant's Mom
#15.1 - Wed Aug 13, 2008 11:14 AM EDT
Herein lies the problem. He is doing many good things and enforcing laws that the federal government will not. However, should that excuse him for the terrible things he is doing? He could enforce immigration laws without much of the sleazy things he is doing. Also, if he is doing that at the expense of basic police service what's the payoff. When I call 911 on the weekend, I expect to get help right away that is what 911 is for. Under his watch, they tell you to call back during business hours. That is inexcusable!
#15.2 - Wed Aug 13, 2008 11:43 AM EDT
Let me also add that I was a huge fan of Arpaio until I moved to Maricopa county AZ and experienced his terrible leadership.
#15.3 - Wed Aug 13, 2008 11:44 AM EDT
A Sergeant's Mom
Insist09:Can you verify that East Valley Tribune report on prisoner deaths, 60 in four years - mentioned in your article, above?
Please let me know. If this can be established as fact, that is a very serious human rights violation accusation, unless, if the deaths can be shown to be directly related to the conditions and treatment of the jail and facilities as it currently stands.
It is critical that facts are established if any group is bringing a suit - facts must weigh in against the allegations.
I tend to agree with the slant your article takes because we lived in Arizona for a while and I remember reading the various news articles where the Maricopa/Phoenix community lauded this man's conduct as heroic. What I read was disturbing.
#16 - Wed Aug 13, 2008 11:13 AM EDT
Sergeant's Mom: At the web site I mentioned above, http://www.joesgottogo.com/ they have links to all of the pertinent articles about Arpaio, including the East Valley Tribune report.
But here's the link to that particular story: http://www.eastvalleytribune.com/story/115427
Also, read the brief filed by the ACLU against Arpaio, which is the reason no one can arrest him. He's playing a game. One court tells him to do something, so he runs off and appeals it. The Appellate Court says do it or else, he runs to the Arizona and U.S. Supreme Courts, who both say to do what the lower courts say. Joe says no, and tells human rights groups to sue him. That's what is happening now. Here's the ACLU brief: http://www.aclu.org/images/asset_upload_file885_36384.pdf
Of interest: http://www.commondreams.org/news2008/0812-03.htm
#16.1 - Wed Aug 13, 2008 12:46 PM EDT
A Sergeant's Mom
The fact that taxpayers have spent over $30 million in court and attorneys fees in these cases is outrageous compared to what should have been spent on health care for the inmates. This alone proves the expenditure abuse by the jail/sheriff's department - where many sheriff's department in the U.S. are exceptionally frugal, minding fiscal responsibility. The lack of appropriate health care seems proximate to the overall expense to taxpayers.
From what I read, it appears to be a situation of a pumped up ego fighting criticism by concerned citizens to retain his celebrity rather than conduct his business in a professional manner.
But, the inmates lose. And, in 2008, we have the knowledge and reason of human rights laws. There is no excuse for not knowing human rights laws, as there is no excuse for any citizen to not know local or federal law; law enforcement officials are held to a higher standard for possessing this knowledge.
Arpaio has access to legal information detailing specific civil and human rights laws in the United States.
This sheriff should resign.
#16.2 - Thu Aug 14, 2008 7:27 AM EDT

Link to the article: http://insist09.newsvine.com/_news/2008/08/12/1742359-arizona-sheriff-needs-a-stay-in-own-jail

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Copyright © 2007-2008 Shaun P. Attwood


Sue O. (aka Joannie, SS) said...

Seems like what's needed is an equally flamboyant individual to be the anti-Joe and give the sheriff some competition. I'm not really following political issues that closely. But it's good to see the blog mention! It never ceases to amaze me what some people can get away with openly and publicly. On the inmate side in Luzerne County, we had murderer Hugo Selinski-he continually tormented jail staff and police with his antics and made everyone look the Keystone Kops. He escaped from the 5th floor county lock-up using bedsheets, and had coutroom groupies. I think it takes a shameless individual who apparently doesn't care in the end and as the article said, welcomes any form of publicity, like a P.T. Barnum.

I like the new pic-you look very professional and newsworthy.

Chris H said...


Mate, can you shed any light onto why Joe HASN'T been prosecuted for ignoring court orders?

Seem like he should already be in jail, no?

Hugs and kisses,

Chris H

Jon said...

Chris H,

There are some flimsy laws in place to keep officials in check, but they are rarely prosecuted.

This immunity from prosecution evidently manifests an above-the -law attitude - bordering on a God complex in Arpaio's case. He ignores court orders, promotes guards found responsible for inmate deaths and has the taxpayers foot the bill for all of the law suits. His attorney friends get to make a fortune from taxpayers' funds by defending him and his staff, and they give him kickbacks in the form of political contributions.
The system is corrupt to the core and bear in mind how powerful he is. He was on George Bush's Steering Committee.
Everything bad he does he spins into him being tough on crime.

Shaun Attwood

Chris H said...


Want me to go round and get him??


Hugs and kisses,

Chris H

Anonymous said...

This sort of problem rarely gets so out of hand in the UK. The annoying party is given an honour on retirement. Soon after, they are remembered fondly on the back page of The Times. All proper, and with official sanction; the British Way. Old dogs can't be allowed to suffer. I'm surprised that Arpaio is still in business