Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio isn’t known for his strict regard for the law. The loudmouth sheriff’s flagrant disregard for the law is finally catching up to him, but he now feels that the public should pick up the tab for his misdeeds.
Arpaio calimed in a letter to supporters that he “doesn’t have the money to continue paying for attorneys out of his own pocket” adding that he feels “targeted” by the immigration rights groups suing him over his racist policies targeting Latinos.
“In some instances I have to personally pay for attorneys to represent me in these cases,” Arpaio wrote in an email. “I do not have the personal wealth or the wherewithal to keep up with the costly demands of paying for attorneys to defend me.”
Yet the case has nothing to do with being targeted or, directly, his discriminatory policies. Instead, the issue is whether he disregarded a direct court order to refrain from bias against minorities.
The trial shows just how corrupt Arpaio’s police force has become as on Friday, he asked for Judge Snow to be taken off the case. The reason? Arpaio’s former lawyer authorized a secret investigation of Snow’s wife.
Snow had ruled in 2013 that the sheriff’s department had systematically racially profiled Latinos in virtually all aspects of its policing. The entire office was basically being operated to harass minorities.
“I want to apologize to the judge,” Arpaio said last month. “I should have known more about these court orders that slipped through the cracks.”
This isn’t Arpaio’s first time getting a judge moved off one of his cases and shows he is a savvy operator in the backwater Arizona legal system. In 2009, he had District Judge Mary Murguia taken off the profiling case because her sister was a prominent leader of a national Latino advocacy organization.
Arpaio has another, more serious challenge on his hands, thanks to federal judge David G. Campbell, who in January ordered an immediate halt to the state’s enforcement of identity theft laws which penalize immigrants in the country for seeking employment. The enforcement program was ruled to be blatantly illegal.