Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Victory in Maricopa Court over Arpaio

Sheriff Joe Arpaio, the internationally notorious Arizona Sheriff who is currently under investigation by the Department of Justice, the House Judiciary Committee, the F.B.I. and the Department of Homeland Security and who uses the law to prosecute vulnerable people and wants to cleanse Maricopa County of all "illegal" immigrants was defeated in the Maricopa County Superior Court yesterday July 28, 2009.

Orlando Arenas, 27, was protesting on February 4,2009 because immigrant prisoners were paraded to a separate "immigrant tent jail" by Arpaio as a publicity stunt. see link:

Orlando is a pro-immigrant and anti-Arpaio activist. He was selectively prosecuted for "criminal trespassing" for being on the sidewalk with others, including the press, during the prisoner march. When he was arrested by the Maricopa County Sheriff Office (MCSO) in a seemingly unrestricted area of the "Maricopa County Jail complex," an arresting officer wrote in his report that he recognized Orlando as one of the daily protestors from the PUENTE ( group who stand outside the Sheriff's luxury offices on the 19th floor of the downtown Phoenix Wells Fargo bank building. PUENTE and Orlando have been protesting since September 2, 2008.

Maricopa County Superior Court Judge Armando Gandarilla dismissed the charge with prejudice (meaning charges cannot be re-filed) and ordered monetary sanctions against the MCSO for the costs of the Defense Attorney. It was the fourth court appearance for the charges.

Since January, in 3 instances, 9 have been arrested by the MCSO for offenses such as clapping or speaking during Maricopa County Board of Supervisors meetings or for sitting at the offices of the Board of Supervisors waiting to speak with the Chairman of the Supervisors so that they could address the Supervisors about Arpaio. So far, charges were dropped for 2, but are pending for others.

At the Evidentiary Hearing yesterday, 35 supporters of Orlando observed the hearing in the public gallery and at least 10 children were outside the Court in the hallway.

Attorney Christopher Du Pont defended Orlando. Du Pont was contacted through the ACLU.

At an earlier hearing, the importance of the case to Arpaio was indicated when Arpaio's Chief Deputy and advisor, Attorney Jack MacIntyre was brought into the case. He is a civilian employee and is listed as a lobbyist for the MCSO, he has an office on the 19th floor of the Wells Fargo building with Arpaio. As noted by the public gallery, MacIntyre looks a lot like the 1960's cartoon character "Mister Magoo" and MacIntyre's bumbling manner mimics the cartoon character. He tried to impress the Court that somehow, he just didnt' recognize the "faxed" (his defense for not recognizing it as 'official') Court Order subpoena that was issued for the defense to depose the arresting officers. In typical Mister Magoo fashion, he just didn't get the details. More on his testimony later.

MacIntyre advised the young County Prosecutor in the case. In the end, she showed her contempt for the process and the public when she left the Courtroom after the Judge dismissed the case, muttering to an audible level "I hope you all get sanctioned."

MacIntyre also advised the three Sheriff's Deputies involved, Officer Crosby, an arresting officer, Officer Sanchez, an arresting officer and Officer Smith, a subpoena officer from Arpaio's 19th floor offices. MacIntyre directed Officers Sanchez and Smith not to give deposition. Officer Crosby was deposed as ordered.

In the testimony from the Evidentiary Hearing yesterday, the County Prosecuting Attorney brought 3 witnesses to make the case that it was all a misunderstanding, that they were confused. They tried to claim that they are clear, that they were issued Court Orders, that they would comply now, they would be deposed as ordered.

Because there was no deposition and the Court Order had been ignored, the Defense argued that the case should be dismissed with monetary sanctions. Defense argued that the MCSO manipulated the Court Orders for "vital witnesses" and Judge Gandarilla determined that the due process was violated and that the MCSO was acted in bad faith. There was conflicting testimony from Deputy Smith and Chief Deputy MacIntyre, Deputy Sanchez claimed that he was notified but that he would re-schedule because of his job with the MCSO Tactical Unit.

Each witness was testifying while the others were outside in the hallway so that they could not collude their testimony. MacIntyre testified that he was asked by Deputy Smith "in the office hallway" if she she should respond to the "faxed" subpoena. He claims he looked at the subpoena and "told Deputy Smith not to respond" though he obfuscated the issue by remarking that the subpoena had been faxed. All subpoenas are processed through a Process Serving system a standard operating procedure.

Witness Deputy Lindsay Smith, who has been with the MCSO for 8 years. Smith claimed that she was only following the orders of MacIntyre, her desk was so unorganized, she claimed that the "faxed" subpoena to be deposed was lost on her desk. As she was questioned by Defense Attorney Du Pont, she became hostile and defensive towards questioning, Judge Gandarilla stopped her and told her to change her demeanor.

Judge Gandarilla stated his decision was because as a sworn oath, "we are held to higher standards."

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