Ex-Arpaio Attorney Saw No Stop to Racial Profiling

     PHOENIX (CN) – Sheriff Joe Arpaio’s former attorney stopped representing “America’s toughest sheriff” after Arpaio did not comply with a federal court order, the attorney testified Tuesday.
     Arpaio and four of his current and former aides are accused of civil contempt of court after they failed to train deputies on how to make constitutional traffic stops and deliver data to the court.
     Tim Casey represented Arpaio before and during a 2012 trial in a racial profiling class action that alleged Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office deputies discriminated against Latinos in traffic and crime suppression stops.
     U.S. District Judge G. Murray Snow issued a preliminary injunction in December 2011 before trial, ordering the agency to stop detaining immigrants suspected of being in Maricopa County illegally.
     Casey emailed and spoke to a number of sheriff’s officials after the order was issued, to make sure they understood the scope of the order.
     “You don’t get injunctions all the time,” Casey said. “I wanted to get something out in writing right away.”
     Casey said he wanted the information to get to Arpaio’s now-defunct human smuggling unit immediately.
     “Arrest or release, those are your two options,” Casey testified. “There’s no more saying we found this person and if we can’t charge them statewide we hold them for the feds.”
     Casey was subpoenaed to testify in the hearing, despite attempts by his ethics counsel to have the subpoena quashed for attorney-client privilege.
     Despite “no indication of not understanding” the order, Casey learned in 2012 that deputies were still violating the order.
     Arpaio made matters worse when he issued a press release claiming to have a “backup plan” where the agency would take undocumented immigrants to the Border Patrol.
     While Arpaio later said the violation was a “mistake,” Casey says he withdrew from the case due to “resistance.”
     The court also heard the last of testimony from Chief Deputy Jerry Sheridan, also accused of civil contempt.
     According to Sheridan, a judge in the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court confirmed to a private investigator hired by Arpaio that numbers connected to an alleged wiretap of Arpaio and his chief aide by the Justice Department were real. Sheridan testified Friday that investigator Dennis Montgomery said the U.S. Department of Justice wiretapped Sheridan’s and Arpaio’s cellphones.
     Montgomery traveled to Washington, D.C., with two sheriff’s office officials to confirm the information with the FISC judge, Sheridan said.
     “[The judge] seemed to think that those were typical numbers associated with a wiretap but the judge was very sketchy on wanting some more information,” Sheridan told the court. “I believe he wanted some more information and he didn’t want to commit as to whether or not Montgomery was reliable or unreliable or whatever.”
     Montgomery worked as a contractor for the National Security Agency and the Central Intelligence Agency, receiving millions of dollars in contracts for computer software that he said could catch terrorists through messages hidden in Al Jazeera broadcasts. The software was fake.
     Sheridan could not recall the judge’s name, but said two trips were made to confirm the information.
     Montgomery also claimed the Justice Department hacked into the servers of Arpaio’s attorneys with Jones, Skelton & Hoculi and the Maricopa County Attorney’s Office, Sheridan testified.
     According to Sheridan, Montgomery gleaned that information when he intercepted an email fragment about attorney Joe Popolizio’s daughter playing a soccer game.
     The attorneys “were jumping up and down about how important attorney-client privilege is,” Sheridan recalled.
     The chief deputy also admitted Tuesday that it appeared Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office officers were keeping identification obtained in traffic stops as trophies.
     The line of questioning into the IDs came from Snow, who asked Sheridan if it was “fair to say there appears to be a habit” of officers taking identification cards as trophies.
     “It appears that way,” Sheridan responded.
     A number of IDs were found in the home of Deputy Ramon “Charley” Armendariz following his suicide in May 2014, along with bank and credit cards, heroin, methamphetamine and cocaine. Another 1,459 IDs were turned into the sheriff’s office by a sergeant in July.
     Sheridan claimed there was a lack of internal affairs investigations into the items found in Armendariz’s house because there was “nothing where we could link another deputy sheriff” with what was once in their possession.
     “There were drugs, there was heroin, cocaine, methamphetamine in evidence bags with no names on them,” Sheridan described. “We were not able to identify those things with anyone in particular.”
     Sheridan told plaintiffs’ counsel Cecillia Wang he doesn’t regret his decision not to immediately disclose to a court-appointed monitor when the sergeant turned in the 1,459 identifications.
     “No, we had every intention to advise the monitor and the plaintiffs’ counsel,” Sheridan said. “I’ve had to answer this question five times, so maybe I would have done it differently so that I wouldn’t have to answer that question five times.”
     The hearing is expected to continue through the week.

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