PHOENIX —A Federal grand jury has been called to hear evidence and decide the truth concerning years of allegations that Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio and his deputies routinely abuse authority and violate the basic civil rights of those who voice criticism. Democrats, republicans, blacks, Latino’s , business owners, valley mayors, judges, public officials, literally hundreds of Arizona residents have over the years voiced complaints that Joe Arpaio lives up to his blustery claim, He is the law in Maricopa county and woe be any who disagree.

The old legal saw that a prosecutor can get a grand jury to indict a ham sandwich is true on a local level, but the Federal grand jury system is a far more complex animal, the Justice Department seldom presents evidence unless they are dam sure the case will hold up in court. There was a time in Arizona when Joe Arpaio commanded poll ratings in the upper 80%, today his followers are made up of retired Sun City residents, rabid local neoconservatives and members of the white pride movement, which still accounts for 40% of the Phoenix population but will mean very little when FBI agents call his lawyers to arrange for his surrender when and if the indictment is handed down.  

Off the record, strictly off the record, most officials and prominent members of the Arizona Republican party contacted for this article expressed relief when they learned Joe’s days as a force in Arizona politics are numbered and many wonder if the news means an end to the career of county attorney Andrew Thomas who plays Boy wonder to Joes Batman.

In the last few years the pair made headlines for conducting what they call super double top secret investigations of elected officials, Investigations that simply embarrassed the State and ended with them presenting evidence so utterly bogus that Judges have literally tossed paper work into court room trash cans.

Residents of Maricopa County have over the last decade, been forced to subsidize Joe’s law by paying multi millions in restitution to individuals and families for abuse and death at the hands of Joe’s jailers, Deputies considered so brutal and inhumane the European Union once refused to honor an extradition treaty because the destination of a suspect was Joe’s jail. In fact so many deficiency reports and death of a prisoners occurred while in Joe’s custody his jail was even denied national certification and insurance bonding.

During his glory days crossing Joe Arpaio could literally cost you your life and the Sheriff made sure people knew it. One of Joe’s favorite pet projects was transforming a small group of volunteer’s called the Sheriff’s Posse from a core of mostly elderly Sun City residents who patrolled cross walks and malls at Christmas, into a large well armed private army of rabid loyalists who wear badges and sport semi-automatics with journalists having documented ties to the white separatist movement, So when people speak of the Sheriff and county attorney being out of control they are not waxing rhetorical.

Elected officials both republican and democrat have expressed to FBI agents and Justice department lawyers a genuine fear of being visited in the middle of the night by Joe Arpaio’s deputies or posse members. In what speaks volumes of a man who has never declined to appear on camera or issue a press statement, all requests for a response from the sheriff’s office over the announcement that a jury of his peers over which he is powerless to control, intimidate or simply arrest on trumped up charges have yet to be answered, Joe it seems has decided to lawyer up for now, though I speculate in the coming days he will surely take to the stage and attempt a futile rally of his base to protest the Obama persecution of America’s toughest Sheriff. Well that’s my view yours may be different.    

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