Sheriff Joe Arpaio Responds To Political And Legal Woes

By Jude Joffe-Block
Published: Friday, October 28, 2016 - 5:05am
Updated: Friday, October 28, 2016 - 8:37am
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Maricopa County Sheriff's Office
Joe Arpaio.

After a tough stretch of headlines for Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio, the sheriff is responding aggressively to political attacks and troubles in court.

First there was the Arizona Republic/Morrison Institute/Cronkite poll showing Arpaio trailing Democratic opponent, Paul Penzone, by double digits. Then Arpaio was formally charged with criminal contempt of court.

The next day his lawyers filed a motion asking the judge who referred Arpaio for criminal charges to recuse himself from a long-standing racial-profiling case against the sheriff. The lawyers say the judge and his independent monitor improperly communicated about the sheriff’s compliance in that civil case.

David Harris is a police reform expert at University of Pittsburgh law school. He points out Arpaio is making this request as he is in the midst of a tough re-election fight.

“It is not a surprise that he would turn to litigation in order to try to change the narrative and turn the tables,” Harris said. “One wonder if this is a primarily a legal move a political move or maybe some mixture of both.”

Meanwhile a group called Maricopa Strong funded by liberal billionaire George Soros has been airing attack ads against Arpaio.

But on Thursday morning Arpaio’s campaign filed a complaint against the group for an alleged campaign-finance violation.

Kory Langhofer, a lawyer for Arpaio’s campaign, alleges Soros’ group failed to provide Arpaio with a copy of the ad as required by state law.

“Rules are rules, and if you are going to play in Arizona elections you need to follow  Arizona rules,” Langhofer said.

But in a statement, Maricopa Strong chairperson Whitney Tymas said "Maricopa Strong has sent appropriate notices to Joe Arpaio of our campaign activity in accordance with state election law.”