Yesterday the Board of County Supervisors held a 3-hour long public meeting to discuss the recent Federal civil rights investigation and charges against the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office.  The County Attorney, Bill Montgomery, and Chief Deputy Jerry Sheridan presented their conclusions and findings after having reviewed the Federal Governments report.  The only problem was that the presenters were not questioned by the public AND the presentation they gave was word for word what they had previously presented to the Board in private.  So it was a rehearsed “show” repeated for the benefit of getting what they had to say out to the public but the public had no say or input.

Here’s a summary on what the County Attorney said during his presentation:

Montgomery said the Justice Department’s 22-page letter of findings was not enough to draw any conclusions about whether the Sheriff’s Office had violated the civil rights of Maricopa County citizens.

I’ve got a news flash for Montgomery, it’s not his job to draw any conclusions from those findings.  If it comes to a lawsuit,  then he will have to offer up his opinion to the Board and they will make the final determination as to whether they will pay to defend the Sheriff or force changes to comply with Federal requests.  And the final conclusion as to whether any wrongdoing occurred will be made within a court of law by a jury.  Indeed, I am not quite sure what he thought he was supposed to be doing.  He said that he didn’t have enough info to come to any conclusion and requested more from the DOJ.  This is exactly the same response that Arpaio gave to the DOJ.  ‘Give me more info.  I’ll look into it and get back to you.’  How many accused do you know get the luxury of responding to an investigation in such a manner?  None.  So why  Montgomery thinks Arpaio is special, I don’t know.  Furthermore, as County Attorney he should know that the DOJ isn’t going to show their entire hand to the attorney who may end up representing the defendant prior to the actual filing of the lawsuit or even before the discovery stage in the run up to trial.  I can tell you this from personal knowledge, Federal Prosecutors do not announce a case publicly unless they are pretty damn sure they can take it to trial and convict. They just don’t risk that kind of thing.

Rose Wilcox, a County Board Supervisor and one of the many victims of Arpaio harassment over the years, actually seemed to scold Montgomery for being “adversarial” to the Federal officials.  This does not, however, surprise me.  Bill Montgomery is politically indebted to Arpaio for his position.  They are friends and colleagues.  Montgomery is, essentially, positioning the County to actually defend the MCSO and Arpaio should the Federal Government file suit (which is very likely to happen since Arpaio to date has refused to step down and/or do anything to address the problems pointed in the investigation).  Quite frankly, it is our tax money that will go to fund his defense and the public should have been able, at a minimum, to ask questions during the presentation.  So it is clear, that some of the Supervisors doubt Montgomery’s objectivity and do not wish to enter any defensive posture in preparation for a federal trial.  Instead, Rose Wilcox (and I and many other Maricopa Conty residents) would rather see the MCSO simply take some action to correct the problem areas.  But the County Government won’t know this because they aren’t allowing for public questions and comments.

Unlike county residents, Montgomery, and by extension Arpaio, are getting a great bullhorn so they can publicly thumb their noses at the DOJ.  They are saying, “You want me to clean up this mess?  You can’t even prove that there is a mess or that I did it.”  The Supervisors are saying, “We acknowledge there is a mess. What can we do to clean it up?”  One of these approaches is open and positive and the other is defensive and negative.  One of them is in the best interest of Maricopa County and its tax payers and one is only in the interest of certain individuals within the Sheriff’s Office. I’ll leave you to be the judge of which is which.


  1. alopecia says:

    Every time you post something like this, I say to myself, “Self, be very happy you don’t live in Maricopa County.”

    Don’t get me wrong, Los Angeles County is plagued by elected nincompoops, including a sheriff who seem to lack the skillset to run a Wienerschnitzel franchise, let alone a major law enforcement agency.,0,2284536.story,0,3646901.story

    However, the Powers That Be hereabouts don’t reflexively circle the wagons whenever someone (not just Lee Baca) screws up.

    I’m rooting for the DOJ in this fight (it’ll never happen, but I desperately want to see Joe Arpayaso’s perp-walk—and seeing a photo of him in an orange jumpsuit would make me a deliriously happy man). Can you tell?

    • drangedinaz says:

      If you dream of watching Joe do the perp walk then we’re having the same dream. Hehehe When it comes to AZ, it does kind of seem like all the most extreme views on the right decided to gather and live in one place. Sigh…..

  2. alopecia says:

    Great minds think alike, I guess. :^)

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