Response to Plaintiffs’ Opposition to Judge’s Recusal
DID JUDGE UTTER “HIGHLY DISPARAGING
REMARKS” ABOUT DEFENDANT BEFORE TRIAL?
by Sharon Rondeau
(Jun. 22, 2015) — On Monday, three law firms acting on behalf of the Maricopa County, AZ Sheriff’s Office (MCSO) have filed a response to the plaintiffs’ opposition to the defendants’ requested recusal of U.S. District Court Judge G. Murray Snow in the case of Melendres, et al v. Arpaio, et al.
Snow ordered that Arpaio’s attempts to “enforce federal immigration law” cease. In recent years, Arpaio had taken a strong stance against illegal aliens in Maricopa County which appealed to a majority of his constituents as evidenced by his election to a sixth term in November 2012. Arpaio is seeking a seventh term in November 2016.
In their 14-page brief, Arpaio’s attorneys contend that ACLU attorney Cecillia Wang, in her June 12 brief opposing the MCSO’s request for Snow to recuse himself, “incorrectly argues that the Grissom and Montgomery investigations are somehow related to the three clearly defined areas of the Order to Show Cause (“OSC”) Order. [Doc. 880],” referring to two probes conducted by Arpaio or his representatives in matters outside the scope of the civil contempt trial presided over by Snow.
Defendants’ attorneys further stated that “The record is uncontested that Judge Snow ordered only three issues to be determined during the April 2015 OSC hearing. These were whether Sheriff Arpaio, Chief Deputy Gerard Sheridan, and other MCSO leadership acted in contempt of this Court’s “lawful writs, processes, orders, rules, decrees, or commands” by: “(1) failing to implement and comply with the preliminary injunction; (2) violating their discovery obligations; and (3) acting in derogation of this Court’s May 14, 2014 Orders.” [Doc. 880 at 26]. Inquiry into whether Judge Snow’s wife allegedly stated that Judge Snow hated Defendant Arpaio and would do everything in his power to remove him from office (Grissom Investigation) or that, among other things, whether federal agents had hacked into bank accounts of Arizonans without lawful authority (Montgomery Investigation), have nothing to do with any of the three clearly defined OSC hearing subjects.”
Under questioning from Snow during testimony in April expected to focus on the civil contempt charges for which the Order to Show Cause was issued, Arpaio and Sheridan responded that a woman named Karen Grissom had reported that Snow’s wife had told her in a restaurant that her husband “hated” Arpaio and wanted to see that he is not re-elected.
Arpaio and Snow testified that a private investigator hired by one of Arpaio’s attorneys conducted an inquiry which found that Grissom, her husband and adult son’s recollections of Cheri Snow’s remarks in the restaurant were credible. However, the mainstream media widely characterized the revelations as an investigation of Snow’s wife rather than of the veracity of the person who relayed the comments.
The “Montgomery Investigation” was raised during the April hearings by Snow, who referred to an article in the Phoenix New Times which alleged that Dennis Montgomery was a “scammer” and was reportedly trying to prove that the Department of Justice and Snow were “colluding” against Arpaio.
Following Arpaio and Sheridan’s respective testimonies on April 23 and 24, Snow ordered all of the information gleaned from Montgomery’s work to be handed over to the monitor he had appointed early last year to ensure the MCSO’s compliance with his order to stop racial profiling and to himself.
Two hard drives reportedly provided to the MCSO with information possibly emanating from the CIA were reportedly delivered to the court on May 6, along with certain emails from several individuals with knowledge of Montgomery’s work. In her June 12 filing, Wang indicated that only attorneys for the plaintiffs and defendants had viewed the documentation Arpaio’s office provided resulting from Snow’s order.
Monday’s entire filing can be read here: Melendres 06-22-15 MCSO Response
and in a supplemental brief here: Melendres 06-22-15 supplement
Defendants’ attorneys argued that Snow became a “material witness” after inquiring about matters concerning his wife’s comments and repeated their request for Snow to recuse himself because of his “improper inquiry” into the Grissom and Montgomery matters.
“Recusal in this instance is even stronger under § 455(a) because undisputed allegations demonstrate that Judge Snow himself has may have made [sic] highly disparaging comments regarding Defendant Arpaio,” the MCSO’s attorneys wrote (p. 10).
Arpaio has called himself “America’s Toughest Sheriff” and is the only lawman to have investigated Obama’s long-form birth certificate and Selective Service registration form. In September 2011, following a request from 250 of his constituents, Arpaio delegated his Cold Case Posse to conduct an initial probe into the claimed forgery of the long-form image posted on the White House website on April 27, 2011.
After several days of analysis by experts, the posse concluded that the image could not have had its origins in a paper document. The White House has not addressed the declarations made by Arpaio and Cold Case Posse lead investigator Mike Zullo at two 2012 press conferences that the “documents” are “computer-generated forgeries.”
The Department of Justice has, however, conducted a criminal probe of Arpaio which it abruptly abandoned in August 2012 after filing a civil rights lawsuit against him several months prior for which a trial is scheduled to begin in August. - © 2015, The Post & Email. All rights reserved. Source link.