Origins of the Great Arizona Civil War -

Origins of the Great Arizona Civil War


Patricia Treble’s short piece about Sheriff Joe Arpaio, the publicity-hogging Faulknerian nightmare who runs law enforcement in Maricopa County, Arizona, mentions in passing that

recently, a defence lawyer complained that, while her back was turned in court, two officers rifled through her privileged legal documents and even managed to photocopy some pages. The sheriff’s office insisted that the men, who were caught on video, were examining the papers for contraband.

Unfortunately, no text description is adequate to capture the surrealism of bailiffs stealing documents from a defence lawyer in open court. It’s really the kind of thing you have to see for yourself. And even then you might not believe your eyes.

Reason magazine justice crusader Radley Balko has context, along with an update, wherein the gonzo weirdness of Maricopa County gets weirder still.


Origins of the Great Arizona Civil War

  1. Unbefreakingleavable!

  2. It kinda reminds me of Stephen Harper, as in; are you going to believe me, or your lying eyes.

    • Also, it seems to me this sequence of minority governments indicates that a majority of Canadians still believe the wrong person is in charge of government. That, I suspect, will be Stephen Harper's epitaph.

      • You've just won the award for greatest non sequitur in the history of the Maclean's comment board.

        • I agree, talk about a 'one-track mind'. Therapy and medication may be necessary for treatment of Connors.

    • Same here. When the authoritarians get up to their squalid little tricks, the first thing I think of is the Harperites.

  3. This week in actions that are obviously illegal and highly unethical…

  4. Those bailiffs looked fairly calm/casual with what they were doing, I am willing to bet they have rifled through confidential files before. And I don't understand why the judge only ordered the offending bailiff to apologize at press conference – which it doesn't sound like he will do – because the bailiffs behaviour threatened integrity of court.

    Judge does not care if bailiffs and prosecution team are in cahoots with one another?

    • Indeed, one assume that the judge must be afraid of crossing the popular" demogogic sheriff lest she endanger her own re-election.

  5. Great moments in elected judging: cross the popular sheriff at your own peril.

    • You nailed it. This is what happens when democracy runs amok.

      • Not to unreasonably extrapolate from Jack's statement, but if I had to unreasonably extrapolate from Jack's statement (twist my arm!), I've always wondered how people can suggest that democracy is a beneficial when it comes to those who write our laws, and appoint our judges, but not with regards to the judges themselves. So we're qualified to decide who can lay the ground rules for judgments, and qualified to decide who should decide who should interpret those ground rules, but not qualified to decide who should interpret those rules directly? Isn't that like saying someone is qualified to appoint an architect, but not qualified to choose the interior designer? (Spoiler alert: no, it's nothing like that).

        • @Olaf. I don't see why this need be determined theoretically. Theoretically, an electorate might or might not be qualified to choose sheriffs and judges. Apparently the people of Arizona are not.

          Re: the architecture analogy, I think it's like saying that patrons / backers / investors are qualified to choose which of the ten finalists they want as architect, but they are not qualified to oversee the blueprints and construction.

          • I think i'll take my chances with an unelected Judge, whose worldview may owe as much to who he played golf with, or what social networks he's a part of as how truly qualified he is.[ a risk in any case in any organised hierarchical society ] Rather than throw our selves upon the vissitudes of partisan politicking. Of course there's no reason at all the process of selecting our judiciary shouldn't be as transparent as reasonably possible. I understand the provinces do a better job in this regard than the feds.

        • You assume our form of democracy has anything to do with qualifications. There's a reason we have a representative democracy and not a direct democracy – among other things, most people aren't qualified to decide most things (myself definitely included). Democracy gives the people control over the major, salient things about our society that form it's backbone and direction. It does not require or assume competence from the people on any specifics.

    • That's the only explanation I can see for having accepted a defence as lame as Stoddard presented.

  6. The judge appears to be just as incompetent as the bailiffs. Her statement that bailiffs are responsible for security, was insulting. Her failure to remain in control of the courtroom should result in consequences.

    This is astounding.

  7. And what about the other bailiff who did the photocopying? Shouldn't he be called in front of the judge and ordered to … um apologize if the sherrif lets him?

  8. At this moment the King, who had been for some time busily writing in his note-book, cackled out `Silence!' and read out from his book, `Rule Forty-two. All persons more than a mile high to leave the court.'

    Everybody looked at Alice.

    `I'm not a mile high,' said Alice.

    `You are,' said the King.

    `Nearly two miles high,' added the Queen.

    `Well, I shan't go, at any rate,' said Alice: `besides, that's not a regular rule: you invented it just now.'

    `It's the oldest rule in the book,' said the King.

    `Then it ought to be Number One,' said Alice.

    The King turned pale, and shut his note-book hastily. `Consider your verdict,' he said to the jury, in a low, trembling voice

  9. And what about the other bailiff who did the photocopying? Shouldn't he be called in front of the judge and ordered to … um apologize if the sherrif lets him?