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Thread: Government ends criminal probe of controversial Arizona sheriff

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  1. #1
    Senior Member JohnDoe2's Avatar
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    Government ends criminal probe of controversial Arizona sheriff

    Government ends criminal probe of controversial Arizona sheriff



    Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio arrives to a news conference in Phoenix, Arizona May 10, 2012.
    Credit: Reuters/Joshua Lott

    By Tim Gaynor
    Fri Aug 31, 2012 11:08pm EDT

    PHOENIX (Reuters) - The federal government has closed a criminal probe of alleged financial misconduct by Arizona lawman Joe Arpaio, who styles himself as "America's toughest sheriff," saying no charges would be filed, the U.S. Attorney's Office said on Friday.

    A separate federal investigation relating to allegations of civil rights abuses by Arpaio's office is continuing.

    The announcement on Friday marked the end of an investigation that began in November 2010 at the behest of the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors to examine alleged financial improprieties by the county sheriff and his deputies.

    A federal criminal inquiry into several of those matters was concluded last summer with the U.S. Attorney's Office in Arizona declining to initiate criminal charges.

    Maricopa County authorities were informed on Friday that federal prosecutors had likewise declined to bring charges in connection with allegations that the sheriff's office had misused county credit cards or misspent money from jail facilities excise taxes.

    In addition, the U.S. Attorney's Office declined to prosecute two former officials of the county attorney's office who were accused of wrongfully prosecuting a local judge.

    Assistant U.S. Attorney Ann Birmingham Scheel said in a statement that her office "is closing its investigation into allegations of criminal conduct by current and former members of the Maricopa County Sheriff's Office and the Maricopa County Attorney's Office."

    Arpaio, 80, who is seeking re-election to a sixth term as sheriff in November, has been under a separate federal inquiry since 2008 over allegations that he and his deputies engaged in an extensive pattern of civil rights abuses.

    Arpaio has denied any wrongdoing.

    Lisa Allen, a spokeswoman for his office, said the sheriff was flying back to Phoenix from the Republican National Convention in Florida, and was not immediately available for comment.

    The Justice Department's long-running civil rights probe of Arpaio led to a lawsuit in May accusing the sheriff and his office of racial profiling and unlawful arrests of Latinos in a bid to crack down on illegal immigration.
    The civil suit also accused Arpaio's office of routinely violating the constitutional free-speech rights of political opponents by retaliating against them through unsubstantiated legal action, including unlawful arrests.

    Government ends criminal probe of controversial Arizona sheriff | Reuters
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  2. #2
    Administrator Jean's Avatar
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    Federal investigation into Arpaio, MCSO closed

    By Associated Press
    Originally published: Aug 31, 2012 - 5:08 pm

    PHOENIX — Federal authorities said Friday that they're closing their abuse-of-power investigation into Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio in Arizona without filing charges against him.

    Authorities were investigating America's self-proclaimed toughest sheriff for his part in failed public corruption cases against officials who were odds with him. Arpaio brought cases against a judge and two county officials in 2009.

    Federal authorities also decided to not prosecute matters tied to alleged misuse of county credit cards by sheriff's officials, alleged misspending of jail-enhancement funds and other matters.

    "They did their investigation, they didn't find enough probable cause and they didn't bring an indictment," Arpaio said at a hastily called news conference after returning from the Republican National Convention in Florida. "We don't go around framing anybody. My people are not crooks."

    Assistant U.S. Attorney Ann Birmingham Scheel released a statement saying her office "is closing its investigation into allegations of criminal conduct" by current and former members of the sheriff's and county attorney's offices.

    Scheel, who is based in Arizona, said she was acting on behalf of the U.S. Department of Justice. In a four-page letter to Maricopa County Attorney Bill Montgomery explaining the decision, Scheel wrote that "our limited role is to determine whether criminal charges are supportable. After careful review, we do not believe the allegations presented to us are prosecutable as crimes."

    "I've been in law enforcement for 50 years. Nothing surprises me. But I know my people did the right thing," said the 80-year-old Arpaio, who is running for a sixth term as sheriff in Arizona's most populous county. "I'm just happy for my organization, for my deputies. Not for me."

    The federal probe focused specifically on the sheriff's anti-public-corruption squad. In a separate probe, the U.S. Justice Department has accused Arpaio's office of a wide range of civil rights violations, and in another case, a federal judge has yet to rule in a civil case brought by a group of Latino plaintiffs that claimed Arpaio and his deputies engaged in racial profiling.

    The timing of the federal authorities' announcement — at 5 p.m. on a Friday before a holiday weekend — was questioned by some Arpaio critics.

    "It is a miscarriage of justice that the federal government is dropping its case against Sheriff Arpaio and to make such an announcement on the Friday night before the Democratic National Convention can only be politically motivated to shield the administration from criticism," Pablo Alvarado, director of the National Day Laborer Organizing Network, said in a statement.

    Arpaio and his top ally, former County Attorney Andrew Thomas, were embroiled in a three-year feud with county officials and judges and defended their investigations as necessary to root out corruption.

    The officials who were targets of the investigations contend the probes were trumped up as retaliation for political and legal disagreements with the sheriff and prosecutor.

    Criminal cases against former Superior Court Judge Gary Donahoe and county supervisors Mary Rose Wilcox and Don Stapley were dismissed after a judge ruled that Thomas prosecuted one of the three officials for political gain and had a conflict of interest in pressing the case.

    Authorities say the charges against Donahoe were filed in a bid to prevent the judge from holding a hearing regarding Arpaio and Thomas' claim that judges and county officials conspired to hinder a probe into the construction of a court building.

    Donahoe had disqualified Thomas from handling the court building investigation and was poised to hold another hearing over a request to appoint special prosecutors to handle the probe. The hearing was called off after the charges were filed against the judge.

    The judge also had been critical of the ability of Arpaio's office to bring inmates to court on time for hearings.

    Thomas was disbarred in early April by an ethics panel of the Arizona courts that found he brought unsuccessful criminal cases against the judge and two county officials for the purpose of embarrassing them.

    In the separate probe, which is still ongoing, the Justice Department says Arpaio's office racially profiles Latinos, retaliates against critics of its immigration patrols and bases its immigration patrols on racially charged citizen complaints that did not allege crimes. The sheriff denies the allegations.

    And in the civil case, the Latino plaintiffs aren't seeking monetary damages. Instead, they want a declaration that Arpaio's office uses racial profiling and an order requiring policy changes. If Arpaio loses the case, he won't face jail time or fines.

    Federal investigation into Arpaio, MCSO closed - Phoenix News - KTAR.com
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    NOW THIS MAKES SENSE! LET THE MAN DO HIS JOB!!!!!!!!

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  8. #8
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    US Attorney's office closes investigation into MCSO, MCAO

    US Attorney's office closes investigation into MCSO, MCAO

    Posted: Aug 31, 2012 5:27 PM PDT Updated: Aug 31, 2012 9:00 PM PDT
    By Miriam Garcia, FOX 10 News - bio

    PHOENIX -
    The feds have dropped their investigation against Sheriff Joe Arpaio into whether he mismanaged tens of millions of dollars and went after some of his political enemies.

    Sheriff Arpaio has been at the center of several investigations over the past few years -- everything from charges that he abused his power, to accusations that his department racially profiled Hispanics.

    But Friday, one of the biggest investigations into him and his department is over. It's an investigation that's been going on for years until now.

    The U.S. Attorneys Office announced Friday they have a high burden of proof and there isn't enough evidence to go forward.

    We just talked to Sheriff Arpaio. He was on a plane coming home from the Republican National Convention when he got the news.

    "I never had any doubts and I'm happy the department of justice cleared my office from any abuse of power," said Sheriff Arpaio. "If I did something wrong there would be indictments floating all over the place… the bottom-line is we were cleared."

    County Supervisor Mary Rose Wilcox calls herself one of Arpaio's victims.

    "I said, oh my God, I can't believe it I was floored."

    She claims she was improperly investigated and says the FBI interviewed her a few times. She was shocked they didn't call to tell her the investigation was going to be dropped.

    "Obviously these people don't live in Arizona and didn't feel what we felt," said Wilcox. "I'm going to demand questions I'm going to call the president and Eric Holder and say 'what is behind this!'"

    "I have always felt that you can trust the U.S. Justice Department. Today I am very much doubting that."

    "It's really sad to say that, you know that she didn't like the results, so that's sad," said Arpaio.

    While this investigation is closed, the feds are still looking into whether Arpaio violated civil rights by racial profiling. A verdict is pending in a civil lawsuit also alleging racial profiling.

    US Attorney's office closes investigation into MCSO, MCAO - FOX 10 News - Phoenix, AZ | KSAZ-TV
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  9. #9
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    Arizona's Sheriff Joe Arpaio praises U.S. attorney's office

    By Paloma Esquivel
    September 1, 2012, 7:42 p.m.
    Los Angeles Times


    Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio talks with members of the media Friday night at his offices in downtown Phoenix. Federal authorities said they're closing their abuse-of-power investigation without filing charges. (Dave Seibert / Arizona Republic / AP)

    With the U.S. attorney's office deciding not to file criminal charges against Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio and other current and former members of his department, the Arizona sheriff said Saturday that the office "did a good job" -- and that he would continue to enforce illegal immigration laws.
    Assistant U.S. Atty. Ann Birmingham Scheel made the announcement in a short news release Friday evening, ending years of inquiry into allegations of financial misdeeds and abuse of power.

    Reached Saturday, Arpaio said: "I'm glad that the FBI and the U.S. attorney’s office did a good job performing their duties, just like I perform my duties.”

    His legal troubles aren't yet over. Arpaio, who is seeking a sixth term as sheriff, still faces two civil cases.

    He was sued earlier this year by the Justice Department, which accuses him of racially profiling Latinos, abusing Latinos in jails and retaliating against his critics. He has also been sued by civil rights groups representing Latino residents who say they suffered racial profiling during traffic stops authorized by the sheriff. That case went to trial in August and a decision is pending.

    The criminal investigation began two years ago at the request of the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors.

    In a letter to the county attorney’s office, which was published by the Arizona Republic, Scheel said the investigation focused on three areas of concern raised by the county: the alleged misuse of county credit cards by the sheriff’s office; the alleged misspending of tax money approved for jail-related expenses; and the possibility that the former county attorney and his assistant may have acted criminally when they filed charges against a county judge.

    None rose to the level of a federal crime, Scheel said.

    On the credit card expenses, the attorney’s office concluded that information provided by the county suggested that the sheriff’s office “was not properly documenting and tracking” expenses but that there was no evidence that crimes had been committed. The issue appeared to have been remedied through additional oversight, according to the letter.

    With regard to the jail-related tax money, although the board of supervisors found that the sheriff’s department misspent the money by shifting it from jail expenses to other duties, “there is no evidence suggesting that any of these funds were used for the personal benefit of the MCSO personnel responsible for the misspending,” Scheel wrote.

    The final matter was whether former County Atty. Andrew Thomas and his assistant, Lisa Aubuchon, committed perjury when they filed a complaint against Superior Court Judge Gary Donahoe. Thomas was disbarred earlier this year by the State Bar of Arizona, which found that he committed perjury, engaged in conflicts of interest and otherwise violated rules of professional conduct.

    But while “the actions at issue raise serious concerns … we don’t believe criminal charges can be proven beyond a reasonable doubt in these circumstance,” the U.S. attorney’s office said.

    The office also declined to prosecute other possible crimes, including the violation of constitutional rights, related to the Donahoe case.

    In a phone interview Saturday, Arpaio said he was content that the investigation is over.

    “This has been going on for four years, this investigation against me and my office for so-called abuse of power and other allegations, and I’m happy that the investigation is completed with no criminal charges relating to my office,” he said.

    He added that he was not “overly concerned” about the pending civil trials.

    “It’ll just have to go through the system to see what happens,” he said. "I will continue to enforce all the illegal-immigration laws.”

    Arizona's Sheriff Joe Arpaio praises U.S. attorney's office - latimes.com
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