Sheriff Joe

From the LA Times:

Reporting from Phoenix – The day after the federal government told Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio that he could no longer use his deputies to round up suspected illegal immigrants on the street, the combative Arizona sheriff did just that.

He launched one of his notorious “sweeps,” in which his officers descend on heavily Latino neighborhoods, arrest hundreds of people for violations as minor as a busted headlight and ask them whether they are in the country legally.

“I wanted to show everybody it didn’t make a difference,” Arpaio said of the Obama administration’s order.

Arpaio calls himself “America’s toughest sheriff” and remains widely popular across the state. For two decades, he has basked in publicity over his colorful tactics, such as dressing jail inmates in pink underwear and housing them in outdoor tents during the brutal Phoenix summers.

But he has escalated his tactics in recent months, not only defying the federal government but launching repeated investigations of those who criticize him. He recently filed a racketeering lawsuit against the entire Maricopa County power structure. On Thursday night, the Arizona Court of Appeals issued an emergency order forbidding the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office from searching the home or chambers of a Superior Court judge who was named in the racketeering case.

Last year, when Phoenix Mayor Phil Gordon called for a federal investigation of Arpaio’s immigration enforcement, the Sheriff’s Office demanded to see Gordon’s e-mails, phone logs and appointment calendars.

When the police chief in one suburb complained about the sweeps, Arpaio’s deputies raided that town’s City Hall.


  1. toughest sheriff? It sounds like he sticks to picking on people are weaker than him, and don’t have their own tazers. I think he is a bully

  2. Previous poster–can’t decipher your name, but I agree. Joe Arpaio is a bully, and if he weren’t in Arizona, he would already be behind bars. But one of my grandsons had 4 DUIs before he turned 21, including two serious injury accidents. The only reason he spent any time in jail at all is because he got behind paying his fines. That’s right. No loss of license, no jail. Arizona, the Republican Wild West State.

  3. @ Barbwire – the fact that your grandson has fines to pay implies that he was charged for those DUI’s, so law enforcement did their job. The penalty was handed down by a judge. Care to tell us if you know that particular judge’s politics before you make ignorant statements about AZ being a Republican Wild West State?

  4. I live in Phoenix – the man is certainly a maniac. And an expensive one. I have no idea what’s going on around here from day to day – the county attorney and he are suing the county commission and apparently have some conspiracy theory going. The sheriffs office raided county buildings and seized computers, they now have a warrant out for access to judges’ computers. Um…how exactly is that allowed?

    Yesterday though, I saw a story that I thought meant he and his minions were getting back to what they were supposed to be doing. They went on manhunts for deadbeat parents owing child support. I guess they were arresting people (cuffing, putting in the wagon) at home or at work and got a lot done. Much more in line with actual duties than the immigration sweeps.

  5. @Barbwire:
    I hope your grandson doesn’t have to kill or cripple himself and/or someone else for him to stop drinking and driving. The laws in Arizona, the Republican Wild West state, sure aren’t helping.
    Swing and a miss.

  6. jenbrooke – Just so I’m clear…you’re ok with deadbeat parent sweeps, but NOT ok with ILLEGAL immigrants sweeps? Just checking.

    FYI, I’m cool with both sweeps. I’d actually probably support the illegal immigrant sweeps more, as it would seem that has a direct effect on the crime rate in that area.

  7. Goaltender, please read GT’s comment. When I called Child Protective Services to report child abuse, I was told that they could not go to the house to investigate. I was told that Arizona is a “very Republican state” where the parents have all the rights. Maybe if they had intervened in the child abuse, my grandson might not be drinking and driving and breaking other laws with impunity.

  8. So Harb and Trace think we need more sheriffs like Arpaio? As a former Maricopa County resident myself, I’m going to say be careful what you wish for:

    The sweeps: Descending on a Hispanic community looking for illegals makes sense to you? OK, great! Next let’s hit Little Italy and look for mafiosos. Irish neighborhood? The IRA must be around here somewhere…

    Arpaio is a corrupt thug. His presence as Maricopa County sheriff fosters corruption and incompetence.

    But hey, if you want an out-of-control, unaccountable thug running law enforcement in your county, good luck. You WILL need it.

  9. I am a 74 year old Agnostic Atheist who has been an Atheist Activist for OVER FIFTY years.

    First CHILDREN, These who have the common sense and the intelligence to get the facts know the Iraq War was and IS FULLY JUSTIFIED!

    Second, President Bush was a many times BETTER president than ODUMA will ever be on his best day.

    Third, the Federal judge who ordered the Sheriff to stop IS WRONG!

    Forth, I too want MORE SHERIFFS JUST LIKE JOE!

    Last, If you do not like my comments, TOUGH!
    you can kiss my you know what!

  10. @Trace- It’s not the illegal immigrant sweeps I have trouble with (though most they’ve collected are food vendors and janitors, not drug dealers or anything), it’s the fact that the sheriff is conducting them (1) after specifically being ordered not to and (2) at the expense of the county and its meager budget whereas this is clearly a federal issue. By his doing this or any state/county/city taking over these duties without federal reimbursement, it’s a double tax on the residents…paying again for something you’ve already funded. That on top of his penchant for spending money originally budgeted for jail improvements instead on the purchase of network tv station videos that include interviews of him makes me not a very big fan.

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