Arpaio Seeks Recusal Of Judge Murray Snow
Today Sheriff Joe Arpaio filed a motion for recusal of U.S. District Court Judge Murray Snow.
Excerpts via the Motion:
Motion for Recusal or Disqualification of District Court Judge G. Murray Snow
Pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 144 and § 455, Defendant Arpaio and Chief Deputy Gerard Sheridan respectfully move for recusal and/or disqualification of the Honorable G. Murray Snow. (Affidavit of Sheriff Joseph M. Arpaio, attached as Exhibit 1). Defendant Arpaio Chief Deputy Gerard Sheridan present this Memorandum and file the attached affidavit and corresponding Certificates of Filing in Good Faith by Counsel. Defendant Arpaio and Chief Deputy Gerard Sheridan respectfully request the transfer of this case to a different judge, immediately, as provided by 28 U.S. Code § 144, and the disqualification or recusal of Judge Snow in further related proceedings concerning Defendant Arpaio and Chief Deputy Gerard Sheridan.1
By his own official inquiry, statements, and questions in open court on the record, one of the investigations into which Judge Snow unexpectedly inquired during recent contempt proceedings concerns his spouse, Sheri Snow. No reasonable person with knowledge of the facts can deny that Judge Snow is now investigating and presiding over issues involving his own family. This alone is sufficient to mandate recusal and disqualification. Furthermore, the fact that Judge Snow’s wife is now a material witness, while dispositive, is not the only appearance of bias and impropriety requiring recusal.
The “Grissom Investigation”
Specifically, Judge Snow questioned Sheriff Arpaio regarding a blog posting by Stephen Lemons in the Phoenix New Times that detailed an alleged investigation by Sheriff Arpaio regarding comments made by Judge Snow’s wife (“Grissom Investigation”). [4/23/15 Transcript at 643-644]. During this line of questioning, Judge Snow questioned Sheriff Arpaio regarding whether he was aware if Judge Snow or any of his family members had ever been investigated by anyone. [Id. at 647:8-17]. In response, Sheriff Arpaio testified that he had received a communication in August 2013 from Karen Grissom regarding comments that Judge Snow’s spouse had made to her in a restaurant about Judge Snow’s hatred for Sheriff Arpaio and his desire to do anything to get Sheriff Arpaio out of office. [Id. at 654-55; 4/24/15 Transcript at 962:14-16]. It was ultimately revealed that a private investigator hired by the Sheriff’s counsel had interviewed three individuals: Karen Grissom, her husband Dale Grissom, and their adult son Scott Grissom, regarding the reliability of Mrs. Grissom’s report. [4/23/15 Transcript at 655].
The private investigator’s interviews of these individuals determined that Mrs. Grissom was credible in the following statement:
[Facebook Message, attached as Exhibit 5; 4/23/15 Transcript at 655].
The Grissoms have been unwavering in their recollection of the comments Judge Snow’s wife made regarding Judge Snow’s hatred toward Sheriff Arpaio and his desire to do anything to get him out of office. See 10/26/13 Transcript of Karen Grissom at 12:18-21, 14:18-20, 19, 28:10-18 attached as Exhibit 6; 10/28/13 Transcript of Dale Grissom at 13:21-25, 16:5-12, 22:19-23:9, attached as Exhibit 7; 5/20/15 Arizona Republic Article, attached as Exhibit 8].
Although the interviews of these individuals were deemed credible, in that they corroborated Judge Snow’s spouse had made these statements, Sheriff Arpaio never “went any further than just verifying that [a] conversation [between Karen Grissom and Sheri Snow] . . . occurred.” [4/24/15 Transcript at 966:11-16]. Moreover, to date, neither Judge Snow nor Mrs. Snow have denied that Mrs. Snow made the statements attributed to her.
The “Montgomery Investigation”
In addition, Judge Snow questioned Sheriff Arpaio and Chief Deputy Sheridan regarding a second investigation, also unrelated to the three clearly defined subjects of the contempt proceedings. Judge Snow inquired regarding athe unrelated investigation and MCSO’s use of a confidential informant, Dennis Montgomery, involving e-mail breaches, including the e-mails of certain attorneys representing the Sheriff, wiretaps of the Sheriff and judges, and computer hacking of 50,000 bank accounts of Maricopa County citizens. [4/23/15 Transcript at 647:1-3, 649; 4/24/15 Transcript at 1003:9-11; 1006:6-10].
Neither the Grissom investigation nor the Montgomery investigation involved any investigation of Judge Snow or his family. [4/23/15 Transcript at 649].
As the sole arbiter of the matters relevant to the contempt proceedings, Judge Snow has also utilized the Melendres Monitor to expand his investigation into these unrelated issues. In an attempt to justify this expansion of power, Judge Snow is trying to create a connection between the Grissom and Montgomery investigations and a speculative pattern of “knowing defiance” rather than “inadvertence” of Judge Snow’s Orders and necessary remedies for members of the Plaintiff class. [5/14/15 Transcript at 49:15-21, attached as Ex. 9]. In doing so, he has granted the Monitor “broad leeway” in determining what matters are pertinent to the current contempt proceedings. [Id. at 51].
[...] The complete motion with exhibits embedded below...
Arizona Central headline: