Arizona Justice: The very strange case of Patrick Bearup

Arizona Justice: The very strange case of Patrick  Bearup

Fact-based reporting

by Rob Roman

research by Amanda Chen

dancing bears 2


In the midst of the Jodi Arias trial, people tend to forget that this case is happening in the state of Arizona. There are 18 states without the Death Penalty and there are 32 states plus the Federal Government that have the Death Penalty. The Federal Government, mostly due to acts of international and domestic terrorism, has dramatically increased the qualifications for and the use of the Death Penalty.


Among the states with the Death Penalty, there are states that rarely use it, there are states that use it, but are reluctant to carry out executions, and there are states that actively use and carry out the death penalty. Texas is a very prominent user and enforcer of the D.P., so is Ohio, Florida, Oklahoma, and, of course, Arizona.


New Hampshire
North Carolina
South Carolina
South Dakota
– U.S. Gov’t
– U.S. Military
Alaska (1957)
Connecticut** (2012)
Hawaii (1957)
Illinois (2011)
Iowa (1965)
Maine (1887)
Maryland*** (2013)
Massachusetts (1984)
Michigan (1846)
Minnesota (1911)
New Jersey (2007)
New Mexico* (2009)
New York (2007)#
North Dakota (1973)
Rhode Island (1984)^
Vermont (1964)
West Virginia (1965)
Wisconsin (1853)ALSO
Dist. of Columbia (1981)



Furman vs. Georgia was the landmark 1972 U.S. Supreme Court decision making the Death Penalty as practiced unconstitutional and saved the lives of the Manson family, for one. The decision paved the way for Capital punishment, formerly used for crimes like rape, to be used only for 1st degree murder. The decision caused all states using the Death Penalty to employ some sort of guidelines to narrow the types of cases which could qualify for the Death Penalty and make these qualifications uniform and fair.

The idea was to prevent prosecutors from using too much discretion to be able to unfairly target any particular individual with the Death Penalty. Many states used statutory guidelines called “aggravating circumstances” or “special circumstances”. For example, O.J. Simpson was charged with murder with the special circumstances of “lying in wait” and “multiple murders” (Ron Goldman and Nicole Brown Simpson). The prosecutor made the decision to take the D.P. off the table for the football star and celebrity, even though the crime qualified for this penalty in California.

Most states have similar aggravating circumstances such as the murder of a child, multiple murders, prior violent felonies, conspiracy, murder for monetary gain, or the murder of a police officer. Arizona has all these aggravators, but they have added more and more to the list until now, many people believe there is almost no murder that cannot qualify for the Death Penalty if the prosecutor chooses to use it. This seems to go against the entire purpose of Furman vs. Georgia.


The Arizona statutes now have 14 aggravating circumstances to qualify a defendant for the death penalty.

  1. Prior offense for which a sentence of life imprisonment or death was imposable.
  2. Prior serious offense even if committed at the same time as the murder.
  3. In the commission of the offense the defendant knowingly created a grave risk of death to another person besides the murdered person.
  4. The defendant procured the commission of the offense by payment, or promise of payment, of anything of pecuniary value (conspiracy).
  5. The defendant committed the offense as consideration for the receipt, or in expectation of the receipt, of anything of pecuniary value (murder for hire).
  6. The defendant committed the offense in an especially heinous, cruel or depraved manner.
  7. The defendant committed the offense while in custody, or on parole for a violent offense.
  8. Multiple murders.
  9. Murder of a child or unborn child or a person over the age of seventy.
  10. Murder of a Police Officer.
  11. Murder as part of or to join a street gang or syndicate.
  12. Murder of a witness or Police informant.
  13. Cold and Calculated.
  14. Use of a stun gun during the murder.

This caused some public defenders in Arizona to make this statement:

“Two public defenders in Arizona’s Maricopa County contend that the state’s death penalty law is unconstitutional because its aggravating factors allow for a death sentence in virtually every first-degree murder case.”

The statute, they argue in the motion filed in February, “has no method of meaningfully distinguishing the few cases in which death is deserved from the many cases in which it is not.” The New York Times mentions the motion in a story about less culpable defendants who draw harsher sentences than co-defendants.”


Most of Arizona’s 14 aggravating circumstances are the same as most other Death Penalty states. The use of a stun gun (Number 14) doesn’t seem to make too much sense. “Cold and Calculated” sounds good, but the interpretation of exactly what that means could cause problems. Numbers 2 and 3 are unique to Arizona.

Number 2, like most states, provides that a prior violent felony can qualify a murderer for the death penalty. But in Arizona, that “prior” violent felony can be committed at the same time as the murder. This means that if the defendant is not guilty of the murder, then they might also be not guilty of another felony committed during the murder. So there is then a scenario in which an innocent person can be found both guilty of the murder AND qualify for the Death Penalty. Arizona has used this aggravator to impose the Death Penalty on defendants whose crimes would not normally qualify at all.

Number 3 seems reasonable, that a defendant who created a grave risk of death to another person besides the murdered person qualifies for the Death Penalty. This aggravator however, also seems to be wide open to interpretation.


The gold standard in Arizona, though, is number 6, the “especially heinous, cruel and depraved” aggravator. This aggravator has 3 “prongs”. There can be a finding of any combination of the three. The prong that is the most wide- open to interpretation is the Cruelty prong. As a matter of fact, 6 of the 8 most recently executed prisoners in Arizona had “especially cruel” as one aggravating factor.

That is the aggravating factor used in two out of three of the most recent Death Penalty cases in Arizona, Jodi Arias and Marissa DeVault. Cruelty stands out in Arizona as being applicable to almost any murder. There is no “especially” in “especially cruel”. According to the statute and the jury instructions, the prosecution has to show that the victim suffered, either mentally or physically, and the defendant knew they would suffer.

Why is this a problem? The problem is that almost every murder victim suffers. Even people who die a natural death suffer. There is nothing in the statute or jury instructions which make the distinction of extreme, extraordinary, or above average suffering, it is simply any suffering at all. On this basis, not just most murders but most natural deaths, even death by lethal injection, fit this definition. The Arizona aggravating circumstance, as written and as explained in the jury instructions, can be made to fit almost any murder. Defense attorneys have claimed this, Kirk Nurmi filed an appeal on this basis in the Jodi Arias case, and we have claimed this here at SpotightOnLaw.

So between this cruelty aggravator, the 14 Arizona Death Penalty Aggravators, and the other 3 strange aggravating circumstances, it seems clear that Arizona has a scheme to make any murder fit the Death Penalty qualifications if they want it to, thus violating at least the spirit of Furman vs. Georgia.

Maricopa County Prosecutor Juan Martinez even tried, unsuccessfully, in State vs. Miller to make execution style murders fit under the especially cruel aggravator.

More than this, the actions of Arizona prosecutors show that they target specific individuals with the Death Penalty, while not invoking the Death Penalty for other defendants whose crimes are as bad or much worse than those targeted.


Robert Towery - Executed March 8, 2012
Robert Towery – Executed March 8, 2012

SpotlightOnLaw showed the large disparity between the punishment of Robert Towery (Death), and his accomplice, Randy Barker (10 years) in the strangulation murder of retired philanthropist Mark Jones. We also showed the large disparity in the punishment between Richard Dale Stokley (Death) and his accomplice, Randy Brazeal (20 years), in the rape and murder of two 13 year-old girls.

Mandey Meyers, 13. Raped and murdered by Dale Stokely and Randy Brazeal.
Mandey Meyers, 13. Raped and murdered by Dale Stokely and Randy Brazeal.
Mary Snyder, 13. Raped and murdered by Randy Brazeal.
Mary Snyder, 13. Raped and murdered by Randy Brazeal.
Randy Brazeal, released back into society July 2011
Randy Brazeal, released back into society July 2011

Sometimes it’s necessary to give a sweetheart deal to one of the defendants in a murder case in order to get needed testimony and evidence against the other(s). We saw this with the Manson family, as first Susan Atkins and then Linda Kasabian, were given sweetheart deals in exchange for testimony that would help convict the other Manson defendants.

Usually, you have the least culpable defendant testify against the more culpable defendants. Randy Barker was Robert Towery’s accomplice, but Towery is the one who strangled the victim to death. Linda Kasabian was with the Manson murderers, but she was the designated driver and she did not participate in the actual killings. But in Arizona, they needlessly give co-defendants a sweetheart deal in order to get the Death Penalty for the other.

In the case of Robert Towery, Robert knew Mark Jones and devised the home invasion robbery. Robert Towery was the one who strangled the 68 year-old victim to death. While Towery was executed, his accomplice received 10 years and is now living among us. Towery was a meth. addict and had been severely abused as a child. It was prosecutor Juan Martinez who prevented Towery’s sentence from being commuted to life by falsely claiming there was no evidence of childhood abuse and falsely claiming that Towery injected the victim with battery acid (a claim that had been disproved 20 years earlier). It was Juan Martinez who made sure Towery was executed 6 days after his commutation hearing. Robert Towery was the more culpable of the two, yet the disparity in sentencing was massive.

In the case of Richard Dale Stokley, the opposite occurred. Two young girls were kidnapped, raped and murdered. Stokley couldn’t live with his guilt and went to the police the next day and confessed. Randy Brazeal knew the sister of one of the 13 year-old girls. He devised the kidnapping, rapes and murders. It was his car and entirely his plan. Most of the evidence pointed at him and he raped both girls.

Richard Stokely, executed December, 5, 2012.
Richard Stokely, executed December, 5, 2012.

Richard Stokley was more or less just along for the ride. But Randy Brazeal claimed that Richard Stokley was the mastermind of the murders. He made a deal to testify against Stokely before DNA tests came back showing Brazeal had raped both girls. As a result, Stokley was sentenced to death and executed in 2012. Brazeal served 20 years. Brazeal was released in 2011 and was recently arrested (July 2014) in Arkansas for “urinating on Horseshoe Lake City Hall”.

Similarly, Daniel Wayne Cook was sentenced to death in 1988 and executed in 2012. He and an accomplice, John Matzke, brutally murdered Matzke’s 26 year-old roommate and a 16 year-old co-worker. The murders included sodomy, torture, strangulation, purposely prolonging the murders and the burning of the victims genitals with cigarettes. John Matzke, received only 20 years for these heinous murders and is reported to be living in Tucson, Arizona, under an assumed name. We could not even find a photo of Matzke, who’s identity has been carefully hidden by prosecutors. Did prosecutors really need to give these sweetheart deals in order to convict their accomplices? Not really, but they needed them in order to achieve the Death Penalty for their accomplices.

Without the Death Penalty being involved, all these murderers would likely still be behind bars. Arizona prosecutors didn’t seem to mind that equally culpable or even more culpable defendants were allowed to plead to 2nd degree murder and get relatively short sentences, as long as one of the defendants got the Death Penalty. Sure, it’s great for the prosecution that one of the defendants was sentenced to death, but the other vicious and dangerous murderers were released out into the public.

Patrick Bearup. Sentenced to death on February 5, 2007, for the Februeary 2002 slaying, with 3 accomplices, of Mark Mathes.
Patrick Bearup. Sentenced to death on February 5, 2007, for the February 2002 slaying, with 3 accomplices, of Mark Mathes.

It didn’t seem to matter either, to Arizona prosecutors, if the more culpable defendant got a sweetheart deal as long as somebody was made to pay and sit on Death Row. This leads us to the very strange case of Patrick Bearup.

Four “skinheads” were arrested for the murder of Mark Mathes. Mathes was the roommate of Jessica Nelson, who thought Mathes had stolen $200 from her room. She called her “skinhead” friends and the four murdered the roommate. They were soon arrested as suspects in the murder.






“One of those defendants was Patrick Bearup, who helped three co-defendants in the murder of a man they accused of stealing $200 from his roommate. By all accounts, the Times says, Bearup was not directly involved in the killing, though he did help dispose of the body and severed one of the victim’s fingers to retrieve a ring. Bearup was the only defendant in the Maricopa County case to receive the death penalty. The three others, including a defendant who shot the victim, accepted plea deals and avoided execution.”


Patrick Bearup
Patrick Bearup

Patrick Bearup didn’t beat the victim nearly to death with a baseball bat, he was not in the car that concealed the victim in the trunk. He didn’t shoot him twice with a shotgun, and he didn’t throw him over a cliff. His co-defendants did. Yet they all were allowed to plead guilty to 2nd degree murder while Patrick Bearup was sentenced to death.

Not coincidentally, Patrick Bearup is the son of Tom Bearup, a man who worked for Maricopa County and was Sheriff Joe Arpaio’s right hand man.

That is, until they had a big falling out. In fact, Tom Bearup was a born and bred local who gave support and legitimacy to Sheriff Joe, a transplant from Massachusetts . Tom Bearup rationalized Joe’s eccentricities to co-workers and assured the others that Sheriff Joe was a good leader. It wasn’t long before they had a falling out and became enemies.

Tom Bearup
Tom Bearup

Tom Bearup didn’t like how Joe Arpaio was making lots of money on the side selling pink underwear to the public (mimicking the pink underwear he forces all prisoners, men and women, to wear) and diverting the money to his personal “posse”. Tom Bearup started sounding the alarm that Sheriff Joe had crossed the line from eccentricity to being a very dangerous person. He clashed with Arpaio over the wrongful death of Scott Norberg, which cost the county 8.25 million dollars. Tom stopped supporting Sheriff Joe, claiming Joe had “turned into a monster”.


sheriff-joe-arpaio-pink-boxers brt

“In 1992, Arpaio, a longtime DEA agent, was elected sheriff in Maricopa County, the largest in Arizona, which includes Phoenix and its suburbs. Bearup was raised in Phoenix, and besides having been a police officer in and mayor of Soldotna, he was a longtime Republican operative. He worked with the Reagan administration, and was once nominated to be the U.S. ambassador to South Korea. His reputation and connections helped Arpaio secure his position.

After Arpaio was elected, Bearup became an executive officer in the new sheriff’s office. He was Arpaio’s right hand man, the buffer between underlings and the big guy. He managed the sheriff’s publicity and media relations—no small task for a lawman obsessed with seeing himself on television. In the process, Bearup helped forge Arpaio’s mythic persona—that of “America’s Toughest Sheriff,” a title later made famous by a January 1996 profile in Penthouse magazine (and also the title of Arpaio’s 1996 book).

Arpaio is known for many things: his “Tent City” jail, constructed of Korean War-era tents on concrete in a city that’s temperature reaches more than 110 degrees (43.,3 degrees C.) for long stretches; male, female, and juvenile chain gangs; dressing inmates in stripes and feeding them green bologna; and, not least of all, inmates dying in his jails. In 1997 Amnesty International issued a condemnation of many of these practices.


Joe Arpaio - "America's Toughest Sheriff" - according to Sheriff Joe Arpaio.
Joe Arpaio – “America’s Toughest Sheriff” – according to Sheriff Joe Arpaio.

“I’m so embarrassed that I’ve ever had the relationship I had with Joe Arpaio, because I helped him get to where he’s at,” Bearup tells Kelley. “I think a lot of it was my credibility that got him to where he’s at, because people trusted me when I told them about him. ‘Don’t worry about that, he’s a little bit eccentric, but his heart is in the right place. He wants to do the right thing.’ And I know there was something in my heart that said maybe there’s something wrong there… the guy’s a little wacky in some areas…He became a monster. And that monster is not anything that I could be with.”

Bearup ended up running against Arpaio after leaving the MCSO. His opposition to Joe earned him retaliation in the form of wiretaps and being tailed by undercover deputies. Bearup and his wife Adele eventually gave up on Arizona, heading north to Alaska, and freedom from fear.


But there’s another, sadder part to Bearup’s life, his son Patrick’s involvement with neo-Nazi skinheads here in Sand Land and with the brutal 2002 skinhead slaying of 40-year-old Mark Mathes. Papa Bearup contends his son is innocent, but his son was convicted for his part in the killing, which according to testimony involved Patrick cutting Mathes’ ring finger off while Mathes was still alive. Patrick is currently the only one on death row for the murder, though all parties agree he did not strike any of the fatal blows in Mathes’ beating death. Two others involved copped pleas. Ringleader Sean Gaines is still awaiting trial.

I’ve read about Patrick’s story before, and though he may not deserve to be on death row, it’s hard to feel any sympathy for him. Bearup’s die-hard belief in his son’s innocence seems borne of a father’s willful blindness more than reality.”


June, 1996

scott-norberg-lt-2 (1)

Scott Norberg was a local football star who got drunk and got in trouble with the law.

Amnesty International believes Scott Norberg was shocked multiple times with a stun-gun while he was handcuffed and forced into a face-down position. He was then transported to a restraint chair and strapped in with a towel over his face. He was surrounded by a gaggle of Corrections Officers.

After some time working on him, they quickly dispersed, laughing. Norberg wasn’t moving. There were allegations that the scene was washed down and evidence destroyed. After he was found dead, detention officers accused Norberg of attacking them.

Settlement $8.25 million dollars.


patrick bearup

Bearup, Patrick

With three accomplices charged with beating a man half to death with a baseball bat, throwing him in the trunk of a car, cutting off his finger, shooting him twice with a shotgun and throwing him off a cliff.

“The three men got out of their vehicles and approached the Mathes home. Gaines carried a loaded shotgun, Johnson had an aluminum baseball bat, and Bearup had a folding knife with a nine- or ten-inch blade. They advanced across the backyard toward Mark, who was sitting on the rear patio with Nelson.

Bearup, Johnson, and Gaines surrounded Mark. Johnson attacked Mark with the baseball bat, striking him in the head and upper torso as many as twenty-five times. Bearup maintained his location throughout the assault, preventing Mark from leaving.

The witnesses disagreed about whether Mark was alive following the beating. Nelson was certain that Mark was killed on the patio, while Johnson claimed that Mark was still conscious and groaning. After the attack, Johnson and Bearup dragged Mark to one of the cars and stuffed him in the trunk. Bearup kicked Mark’s head to make him fit into the trunk.

The four perpetrators got into two vehicles – Bearup and Nelson in Bearup’s car and Johnson and Gaines in the vehicle containing Mark’s body – and drove to an isolated area near Crown King. Johnson testified that he heard Mark mumbling and moaning in the trunk during the drive.

When the cars stopped on Crown King Road, Bearup pulled Mark from the trunk. Gaines and Nelson stripped him to make the body more difficult to identify. Nelson was unsuccessfully attempting to remove Mark’s ring when Bearup approached and cut off the finger with a pair of wire clippers. Mark was then thrown over the guardrail and, as he lay in the ravine below, Gaines shot him twice.”


“Mr. Bearup’s case was one of 135 pending capital cases in Maricopa County in 2006, more than the combined number of cases in the next three jurisdictions at the top of the list: Los Angeles County, California and Clark County, Nevada., each with 36; and Harris County, Texas, with 17”


“The highest number of pending cases was 149 death penalty cases.” This is in Maricopa County alone.


Is it just a coincidence that the least culpable of 4 perpetrators of a horrendous crime sits on death row when the 3 people most responsible and who caused the death of the victim directly got sweetheart deals?

What kind of justice is this? All three should have gotten life sentences.



Well, you might say, Patrick Bearup was the leader who, like Charles Manson, didn’t get his hands dirty. However, it’s undisputed that Sean Gaines was the leader of the gang.


The 3 others will all be up for parole between 2019 and 2028 and could be out of prison and living in your neighborhood in 5 to 14 years.


Sean Gaines, 22, Jessica Nelson, 27, Patrick Bearup, 26, and Jeremy Johnson, 20, were arrested by Phoenix police on September 10 and 11, 2003 on charges of the murder of Mark Mathes.


jessica nelson

Jessica Nelson (14 years) –

Instigated the murder of her roommate. Mark Mathes, accusing him of stealing $200 and calling her skinhead friends, asking them to exact revenge


Eligible for parole 2019


jeremy johnson

Jeremy Johnson (14 years) –

Beat Mark Mathes nearly to death with a baseball bat, tossed him in a trunk and helped throw him off a cliff.


Eligible for parole 2019


sean gaines

Sean Gaines (25 years) –

Blasted Mark Mathes twice with a shotgun, and helped throw him off a cliff.


Eligible for parole 2028



Patrick Bearup

– Helped stuff Mathes into the trunk of a car and cut off Mathes’ ring finger to retrieve a ring.


Sentenced to Death


To his credit, Sean Gaines is reported to have denounced racism and his skinhead association, saying,  “I’m tired of living a lie. They can kill me, but at least they kill me with all of this off my shoulders.”


Jessica Nelson and Sean Gaines.
Jessica Nelson and Sean Gaines.
Sean Gaines
Sean Gaines



“Superior Court Judge Warren Granville chastised the County Attorney’s Office at the time over the disparity in sentencing in the Mathes affair. “Granville was not pleased that Bearup was the only defendant facing the death penalty.”





“He wrote in a 2007 minute entry:

The County Attorney, as the law allows, made a unilateral decision not to withdraw the death notice for Mr. Bearup, a defendant who, even under the State’s theory of the case, did not cause the physical death of Mr. Mathis.[sic] Under the State’s theory of the case, Mr. Bearup acted only as support for Mr. Johnson as he baseball batted Mr. Mathis [sic] to death or to near death, and helped drag Mr. Mathis [sic] to a car trunk and the desert. Under the State’s theory, Mr. Bearup’s act of cutting off Mr. Mathis’ [sic] ring finger while cruel and heinous, was not a cause of the death.”

“Granville further noted:

“This Court, nonetheless, finds that Mr. Bearup’s death penalty sentence for Count 1 was not justified in the context of the relative responsibility of the co-defendants whom the County Attorney chose to withdraw the notices of death and reduce their sentencing range. It is the County Attorney’s motto that `let justice be done.’ This, of course, coincides with a prosecutor’s unique ethical responsibility. This Court finds that justice was not done for Mr. Bearup in Count 1.”


“Patrick Bearup was no angel, by all accounts. I know his father was upset when I said in my 2008 column that I figured Bearup probably deserved to spend the rest of his life in prison. But to face execution, when the ringleader and the main protagonists cheat death? That’s more than a little whack.”

“Which is why I regard the death penalty as an obscene joke, one that should be banned. The Mathes murder is but one example. There are a plethora of cases just like it, where justice is a card sharp’s game. But they receive little or no attention.”

The jurists and attorneys involved are all playing their assigned roles. I wouldn’t argue that they shouldn’t.

But if Bearup is executed while those more responsible for Mathes’ slaying live on with the hope of eventual release, that just further proves that capital punishment should be abolished, because our criminal justice system is not capable of meting out such draconian judgments equitably.”



Protesting Arizona corruption
Protesting Arizona corruption
Arizona Governor Jan Brewer.
Arizona Governor Jan Brewer.

So, is there some kind of connection between the large number of Arizona wrongful convictions, the lack of the use of good forensic science, the tight budgeting of law enforcement in Arizona, the targeted use of the death penalty, more culpable defendants getting sweetheart deals, the secret deals and unexplained deaths in the jails of Sheriff Joe Arpaio, the omnipresence of corruption in Maricopa County, the checkered history of prosecutor Juan Martinez, and the Jodi Arias case?


Or are these all mere coincidences?



At SpotLightOnLaw, we have been trying to demonstrate to you that there is such a connection. Please take a look at our past articles (especially “Spotlight on Juan Martinez”, “What’s Going On in Arizona, Maricopa?”, “Stranger than Fiction – The real Sheriff Joe” “The Executives and the Executed” and “Spotlight on Dr. Kevin Horn”)


It seems as if Arizona likes to run things on the cheap, ignore and avoid a lot of forensic science, target certain people with the Death Penalty, make a lot of under the table money with schemes such as taking the meat out of all prisoners meals, “video visitation” at 65 cents per minute – no more face to face visits allowed, and the sale of pink underwear, and corruption just seems to permeate all areas of their “justice system”. We all know the Jodi Arias case could have been settled long ago, but instead it goes on ad infinitum, along with the suffering of the Alexander family.


Letter from Patrick Bearup (click to enlarge)
Letter from Patrick Bearup (click to enlarge)

Even though there is effectively zero evidence remaining against Deborah Milke in the shooting death of her young son, the D.A. still refuses to drop the charges against her after she wrongfully spent 23 years on Death Row. They cannot admit they were wrong and will not accept responsibility for the egregious error.


Why is the state more capricious about who lives and who dies than most murderers?
Why is the state more capricious about who lives and who dies than most murderers?

Whether the Jodi Arias case is as it appears to most people, or the truth of it has been carefully hidden, we do have her case to thank for shining a spotlight onto the very odd occurrences, the very strange case of Patrick Bearup as well as all the other really strange goings on which many people have helped to uncover in Maricopa County, Arizona.


Do YOU concur?


Comments from all perspectives are welcome.

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Interesting sources about the article above:

Stranger than Fiction: The Real Sheriff Joe

Stranger Than Fiction:

The Real Sheriff Joe

images (2)

Fact Based Reporting by

Amanda Chen & Rob Roman

Sheriff Joe is Jodi Arias’ jailer in Arizona. This article is in response to various posters, who claim that Maricopa County’s Sheriff Joe Arpaio is doing a wonderful job and they have statistics that prove his outstanding job performance.

Claims to Fame

  • Being a Korean War Veteran
  • Inventing the use of tents in a custody setting
  • Pulling over and/or arresting Elvis Presley in Nevada
  • Getting in weekly shootouts as a DEA agent
  • Breaking the famous “French Connection”

elvis-presley-clambake1971 french connection

These are some of  the actual claims Sheriff Joe has made. All these claims have little or no basis in reality.

(Spanish language overview

Reality Bites

Real Joe was an unremarkable Army Typist who was stationed in France during the Korean War. He was a mediocre police officer and DEA agent and he would probably also have claimed to have invented the internet, if only former Vice President Al Gore hadn’t beaten him to it.

There’s something about Arizona, where run of the mill, but whacky and ruthless people seem to rise to the top of the heap. Juan Martinez was recently named Prosecutor of the year in Maricopa County. Even a person whose highest educational achievement, a certificate as a radiological (X-ray) technician, from Valley Community College, now sits in the Governor’s seat.

A Tough Nut to Crack

“ He’s notoriously tough — and arguably brutal — towards inmates, too. Sheriff Joe has made headlines for calling his “Tent City” jail a “concentration camp,” and for making the inmates there wear pink underwear, eat only two meals a day, and endure unbearably hot temperatures in the summer.

Somehow, in Maricopa County, this man became a legend.


Recidivism Schism

Besides saving the county money, Sheriff Joe’s other main purpose was to make detention and jail so unpleasant, that people would avoid being arrested at all cost. CountyJail would no longer be a home away from home or a cheap hotel for lawbreakers. They were going to tighten up the screws in MaricopaCounty.

But then, wouldn’t fewer prisoners mean a smaller budget and less need for a “legend”? The more, the merrier would be a better rule of thumb.

Known as “America’s Toughest Sheriff”, a moniker Joe modestly bestowed upon himself, Maricopa County’s Sheriff Joe Arpaio has made himself the indispensable top lawman in the greater Phoenix area.

20 Year Sentence

After over 20 years in office as Sheriff, the rate of offender recidivism (repeat offenders) under Sheriff Joe is actually no better than his predecessors and no different from any of his contemporaries.

Additionally, many experts think Sheriff Joe’s practices are harmful to prisoners and the community. His policies border on being unconstitutional, as well as violating the rights of citizens both inside and outside his jails.

Here’s a better idea: Run a safe, humane jail system with a certain minimum level of dignity for the prisoners. But that would be expensive, wouldn’t it?


Shame Game

He’s known for shaming prisoners by

  • Parading them through public squares in their striped uniforms
  • Publishing the names of everyone who’s been arrested
  • Posting the “mugshot of the day” on his website
  • Forcing prisoners to wear pink underwear
  • Installing cameras and showing live video feeds displaying prisoners in their daily activities on his website

Is Sheriff Joe really the mastermind of ineffective, callous and even brutal policies that harm both inmates and the community?

The FBI says so, so do local Arizona newspapers, so does a leading conservative think tank, so do neighboring communities and states.

There are dissenting views, however:


Joe’s Support Network

  • Some police organizations,
  • Joe Arpaio’s personal Twitter site @RealSheriffJoe
  •, his official Maricopa County website …

…and the people of Maricopa County Arizona, who have overwhelmingly re-elected the 81 year-old lawman as County Sheriff five times since he won office in 1992.

Oh dear, he’s such a nice man. Isn’t he that baseball player who married Marilyn Monroe?

He did do a good job of facilitating Jodi Arias’ interviews and protecting her from potential attacks by crazy people on her way to and from the courthouse.

So in return, I will not mention:

indictarpaioVETPARADE (5)

Armored Vehicle Attack

  •  the armored vehicle SWAT attack on a family
  • the purposeful murder of their puppy (2nd degree)
  • the burning down of their home…
  • …when the man had nothing but some overdue traffic tickets.

I’ll try to forget about Clint Yarbrough

December, 2005

It was said that Clint Yarbrough was on drugs and combative. No medical services were rendered. Instead, he was strapped into a restraint chair and rolled into a hallway where he was left restrained and unattended for 3 hours. He passed out and eventually died.

Settlement: $2 Million dollars.

Scott-Norberg lt 2

I won’t mention Scott Norberg…..

June, 1996

Amnesty International believes Scott Norberg was shocked multiple times with a stun-gun while he was handcuffed and forced into a face-down position. He was then transported to a restraint chair and strapped in with a towel over his face. He was surrounded by a gaggle of Corrections Officers.

After some time working on him, they quickly dispersed, laughing. Norberg wasn’t moving. There were allegations that the scene was washed down and evidence destroyed. After he was found dead, detention officers accused Norberg of attacking them.

Settlement $8.25 million dollars.

I won’t mention the breaking of the neck of a prisoner

while under Joe’s restraint chair and the choking to death of another in the same restraint system.

December, 1996

Richard Post

was a paraplegic. He complained from his cell that he needed a catheter in order to urinate. Instead he was strapped into Joe’s restraint chair and left for four hours. When he begged to be let out of the chair, the guards instead tightened the straps with all their might, breaking his neck. Why would you need to do that to someone with no use of his legs? Now he is practically a quadriplegic.

Settlement: $800,000 dollars.

Don’t these things happen to everybody? There’s nothing special here for people to see.

Or Charles Agster,

the man who died in custody mysteriously with 17 times a lethal dose of methamphetamine in his system.

August, 2001

Charles Agster, a special needs prisoner, had a “spit hood” forced over his head and was strapped into a restraint chair, where he had a seizure and lost consciousness. He was declared brain dead and was found to have 17 times the lethal dose of methamphetamine in his system.

Verdict: $ 9 million dollars.

charles agster

Did anyone in Maricopa County MCSO (Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office) ever hear of a Doctor, or a Nurse, or a Hospital?

In many of these cases there are first hand reports of the guards smiling, joking and laughing out loud during these activities.

Apply Force

It’s a great job for biblical law revenge seekers, every day sadists, and for just ordinary, robust people with a well developed sense of humor and a healthy curiosity.

No arrests were made and no one was held accountable for any of these “incidents”.

Most of the time, there are no witnesses, other than staff who receive their pay, benefits and retirement funds from the County.

I won’t mention the diabetic woman who became seriously ill and died

in jail after begging for and being refused basic medical treatment.

Deborah Braillard lt

Deborah Braillard

was offered no help, even after “moaning and crying out in pain, asking for help, repeatedly vomiting, defecating on herself and having seizures. She shook violently and then her body would stiffen up. Her fellow inmates begged the corrections officers to assist her. They were told “This is jail.” and to “Get over it”. She died soon after.

Key evidence in this case was also destroyed. The County recently settled with her family for $3.25 million.

It’s fun to come to Sheriff Joe Arpaio’s tent city. You can live in the desert and enjoy the great outdoors and you can stretch your legs and get some fresh air on the volunteer chain gangs in the lovely, blazing Arizona sun.

June Weather

Average temperature: 91 (33 C)
Average high temperature: 104 (40 C)
Warmest ever: 122  (50 C)

July Weather
Average temperature: 95 (35C)
Average high temperature: 106 (41 C)
Warmest ever: 121 (49.4)

August Weather
Average temperature: 94 (34.4)
Average high temperature: 104 (40 C)
Warmest ever: 116 (46.7 C)

Should I bring up the case of Juan Mendoza Farias, who was beaten to death by guards?


December, 2007

Juan Mendoza Farias

BookingPhoto_optFariasNreducedwas a DUI (driving under the influence) intake. He was suffering severe alcohol withdrawal.

The corrections Officers made fun of his incoherence and inability to follow directions and they goaded him into making funny faces for his mug shot in order to win the “mug shot of the day contest”, a source of great merriment for the guards. Then he was surrounded by 12 guards

The correction officers wanted to help him. Eleven of the officers attempted to assist him by handcuffing him behind his back, shoving a “spit hood” over his head and forcing him into a face down position.

Mr. Mendoza fought against suffocation and he was pelted with 6 rounds of “crowd control pepper balls” and shocked repeatedly with tasers. He choked on his own blood and died. He had multiple blunt force injuries on his face and body, ruptured vessels in his neck and even a chunk was missing from his nose.

Settlement: $1 million dollars.

Standard Operating Procedure

Real Sheriff Joe chalked it up to business as usual, after the County settled another huge lawsuit when he said, and I quote:

  •  “It was settled due to the nature of doing business,”
  •  “That (settlement) wasn’t up to us, that was the county that decided to settle it.”
  •  “We have nothing to do with this.”
  •  “We never like to ‘lose’ anybody in jail.”


Birds of a Feather

Sheriff Joe’s well-worn, joking answer when various requests or complaints are made? “We are not a hotel.”

When one prisoner was sentenced to prison but remained in the jail, he pleaded to Sheriff Joe to be transferred to the prison, where conditions are better.

Juan Martinez’ response to the prisoner? “We are not a taxi service”, he replied laughingly, echoing his buddy, Sheriff Joe.

I won’t mention the legally blind and mentally disabled man who was beaten to death for fun.

brian crenshaw lt

March, 2003

Brian Crenshaw,

a legally blind and retarded inmate was brutally beaten to death by corrections officers who then claimed he fell off his bunk. The Medical Examiner confirmed that Crenshaw suffered a broken neck, broken toes, and a perforation of his duodenum (1st part of the small intestine leading from the stomach) all from a single four foot (1.22 M) fall off his bunk. That’s what the Correction Officers reported had happened, so hey, why investigate?

The ME performed no autopsy and relied solely on the report given to him by the guards stating that Crenshaw fell off his bunk.

Settlement $2 million dollars.

The Fantastic Four (and More)

Sheriff Joe has to sell himself every four years. So, he needs to make the headlines with new innovations and crowd-pleasing measures. Last election cycle, in 2010, the big crowd pleaser was his announcement that he would enforce Arizona’s newest and highly controversial immigration laws, widely regarded as in violation of The U.S. Constitution.


Sheriff Joe teamed up with:

  • Dick Tracy (No, he’s just some retired cop type guy who happens to share the same name.)
  • Wyatt Earp (Nephew of the famous lawman by the same name)
  • Peter Lupus (the Muscle man from the original Mission Impossible team)
  • Lou Ferrigno (The deaf Body Builder who was the original Incredible Hulk until he was replaced by digital animation)
  • and Steven Seagal (The actor-martial artist who likes to brag about his mysterious associations with the CIA).

Fantastic Four

These name-brand, quasi-celebrities were made into “Deputies” and joined forces to help form citizen posses to keep the riff raff from crossing over the boarder and/or remaining illegally in U.S. territory.

The Arizona crowds went wild. Joe seems to have a certain fascination with shirtless, male body builders, collecting them with as much enthusiasm as a wide-eyed child collects action figures.

Suddenly, Joe’s mission to force shackled men to wear pink underwear makes more and more sense.

Too bad My Hero will not be a member of Joe’s posse

billy-jack-laughlin (1)

“When lawmen break the law, then there is no law. There’s just a struggle for survival”.   – Billy Jack

Election Year

This year, in addition to his possible claim to fame as the dungeon master of the “dangerous” Jodi Arias and other inmates, he is also trying to do the other thing that drives his Maricopa fans wild: saving that money.

arpaioperry28n-1-web (1)

  • Joe has taken all the meat out of prisoners meals, which he estimates will save over $100,000 per year and has already caused a women’s hunger strike.
  • He is also the first jailer to charge prisoners directly for all meals ($1.25 per day) giving an estimated savings of $900,000 per year.
  • This policy is obviously designed to save an additional $1,000,000 dollars per year to make up for all the lawsuits and other budget overruns that voters may be angry about.
  • His other big venture is teaming with a company to provide a sort of pay-per-view Skype type operation where family and friends of prisoners must pay to visit their incarcerated member to communicate via computer video.
  • Last year, right before Christmas, the Sheriff’s Office cut visitations from 3 hours per week to ½ hour. This year, the phone system just happened to be shut down during the Valentine’s Day weekend. How warm and fuzzy!

Augmenting this money saving “War on Christmas: Joe Arpaio’s New Inmate-Visitation Policy is a money making Bonanza.

December 11, 2013


Party Pooper

“Birther Sheriff Joe Arpaio of Maricopa County, Arizona, is not only cutting back on inmate visitation at the county jails, just in time for the holidays, he’s also charging for visitation visits via a new video-installation system which is installed for free but his office gets a kickback of 10 percent, and that fee will go up to 20 percent as more revenue comes in.”

“It’s the only way to visit a prisoner for the holidays and Arpaio will make their families suffer. If a family member or friend wants to have a video visit with an inmate from their own computer, it will cost $12.95 for a 20-minute chat.”

Since video communications via computer such as Skype are virtually free, one can imagine the enormous profit potential in this venture. Watch as prisoners soon are allowed more and more visiting time as this low-cost / high-tech scheme unfolds. Sheriff Joe needs to make up for all the money he’s lost to personal injury and death liability lawsuits.


Eternal Vigilance

Besides showboating, another part of Sheriff Joe’s public relations campaign is to illicit sympathy or show that his job is incredibly dangerous. He needs to be viewed as facing crafty adversaries facing off against him in his fight for truth, justice, and the American way.

Anyone who says anything that in any way can be viewed as a “threat” against Sheriff Joe is gathered by his office, and distributed to the media to garner sympathy and support for “America’s Toughest Sheriff”.

This is true even if the “threat” comes from a facebook posting from some guy in Tennessee or an e-mail from a  16 year-old boy living in Canada.

“Sheriff Joe Arpaio seems to have an obsession with trying to get the public to believe that his life is in constant danger.

And no matter how many times Arpaio cries wolf about the latest “death threat,” there never seems to be any intent of legitimate harm against the elderly, publicity-hungry sheriff. Check out 10 of the most bogus death threats Arpaio has cried about:”

October, 2013


October 2013

“Sheriff Joe Arpaio announced that a 16-year-old Canadian boy might be facing criminal charges for threatening to murder Arpaio, who’s a “massive d*ckhead,” according to the boy’s alleged e-mail threat.

Adding to the long list of non-credible “death threats” Arpaio has publicized, the boy e-mailed the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office saying that he’d murder the “d*ck sucking sh*tface” Sheriff and his family, and bomb his house.”

Trumped Up Charges

Along with real millionaire entrepreneur Donald Trump, Real Joe was front and center in the “birther” movement, questioning Barack Obama’s legitimacy as President of the U.S. because they claimed he was not a natural born U.S. citizen. They continued this for years, even though Obama’s mother was a United States citizen and her father was a real war veteran of World War II.

They fought a long and unsuccessful campaign trying to prove that Obama’s birth certificate was a forgery, including offering a reward for information proving the President was born in a foreign country. This quest ended abruptly around the sane time that political comedian Bill Maher offered a reward for proof that Donald Trump was not the offspring of an Orangutan.


Monkey Business

Back to Sheriff Joe’s exploits:

We promise not to mention

Ernest “Marty” Atencio

Mr. Atencio was arrested and booked on suspicion of assault

Mr. Atencio was not on drugs and he was not combative.

The official story line was that Marty Atencio was found unresponsive in his cell, with a weak pulse, and rushed to the hospital.

Ernest marty atencioThe true story is that Marty was shocked with tasers by Detention Officers so many times that he went into cardiac arrest. After that, they put him in a cell and left him there. AFTER it was feared he had died, THEN they got him out of his cell and rushed him to a hospital, where he was placed on life support.

“The family said Atencio had a history of mental illness and that a stun gun was likely not necessary.  They said there were marks from the gun’s barbs on Atencio’s chest.

“They treated him as less than a human being,” said Mike Atencio, Marty Atencio’s brother. “I believe that they took advantage of someone who has special needs.”

The family’s biggest problem, however, was not with the use of a stun gun, but that their brother was not cared for better after he was found not breathing.”

“When a human life is involved, it should be at the highest level,” said brother Eric Atencio. “It does not matter what is going on. It does not matter the circumstances. It does not matter that they are in jail. You are handling a human life.”


Why has the real Joe Arpaio been unable to learn this real simple lesson?

Maybe Eric Atencio should run for Maricopa County Sheriff.

Marty Atencio

Shell Shock

Later, when Sheriff Joe Arpaio found out that Marty Atencio was a disabled Gulf War Veteran instead of just a another ‘lowly Hispanic’, Joe went on a frantic campaign to prevent this news from getting out. Joe suppressed news of the event for months and then tried to prevent news organizations from getting any information about the death.

The Atencio family recently refused a settlement offer of $550,000 for the shocking death of their family member.

What’s Sheriff Joe’s latest overcompensating improvement? Placing stickers of the American flag in all prisoner’s cells to evoke and improve patriotism.


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Love It Or Leave It (alone)

In an “I dare you to knock this chip off my shoulder” arrangement, Sheriff Joe had the stickers installed in all cells as well as loudly blasting patriotic songs throughout the jails each morning and evening.

What’s the punishment for defacing, tearing, moving, or otherwise interfering with the American flag stickers? The prisoner is put on a diet of bread and water only.

This should teach the prisoners to love their country, or else.


Driving While Latino

We won’t mention the many legal American Latinos and Latino U.S. citizens who were pulled over without probable cause other than their skin color and subjected to illegal searches and seizures on suspicion of “trespassing on American soil”.

“How do we know that Joe Arpaio, sheriff of Maricopa County, Ariz., is a racial profiler, an abuser of power who has subjected Latinos for years to unconstitutional arrests, detention and harassment?”

“Judge G. Murray Snow of United States District Court in Phoenix, in a 142-page opinion released on Friday, excoriated the Maricopa Sheriff’s Office for violating the 4th and 14th Amendment rights of Latinos by illegally using race as a factor in questioning. “

“But we also know that Sheriff Arpaio has singled out Latinos for unjustified abuse because the sheriff said so himself, as loudly and in as many ways as he could.”

“He said it in press releases. He said it in news conferences. He said it to Fox News and CNN. He said it to adoring crowds in retirement communities outside Phoenix, who pressed him for photos and autographs of his books.”

“He said it in his books. He said it when he paraded immigrant suspects through the streets of Phoenix, in chains and prison stripes. And he said it every day to the hundreds of thousands of brown-skinned residents of MaricopaCounty, where Latinos have long understood: The sheriff is out to get you.”



Does this really say that real Sheriff Joe Arpaio arrested a 6 year-old, for real?

Chain Labor

… or shackling pregnant moms

“In some ways, she was lucky. The MCSO’s policy heretofore has been to shackle pregnant women as they give birth.”

“My colleague Valerie Fernandez has previously reported on this MCSO policy for New Times, describing the ordeal of another pregnant Latina who was shackled throughout her labor, despite the wishes of healthcare providers.”

“But during Mendiola-Martinez’s C-section at county, her female MCSO guard cut her some uncharacteristic slack by not shackling her during the actual operation.”

“Afterward, though she was in terrific pain and could barely walk, the male guard who took over for the female officer shackled the new mother to her hospital bed.”


Crude Awakening

I almost forgot to mention one of Joe’s guards who went home and stabbed his own father six times or another one of Joe’s guards who went home and smashed his girlfriend’s cell phone, assaulted her with a stun gun, pepper sprayed her vagina, put a loaded gun in her mouth on multiple occasions and sexually assaulted her with a souvenir baseball bat.

Where do you think they got all this pent-up hostility? Where do you suppose he learned all these nasty tricks, hmmm?

It’s kind of difficult to minimize these things, especially when there were eye witnesses.

Paper Chase

Now for his best recent legal act: Joe Arpaio feels there is nothing wrong with a deputy snooping through a defense attorney’s papers during open court, removing papers, and attempting to sneak them out of the courtroom.

Sheriff Joe advised his deputy to continue his court duties and to not listen to the judge, who banned him pending a written apology, because to follow the instructions of a judge in her courtroom “would be unconstitutional”, according to “America’s toughest sheriff.


Dollars to Donuts

Did I mention the two thousand lawsuits and the 43 million dollars in payouts against Sheriff Joe?  That’s “50 times as many prison-conditions lawsuits as there were in New York City, Los Angeles, Chicago, and Houston jail systems combined”.

(Sources: Wikipedia and

Joe wraps himself in the American flag and fancies himself as a defender of our Constitution. But, he’s an insult to both and should be an embarrassment to most Americans.

Governor Jan Brewer, who just recently broke the record for the most executions in her terms as Arizona’s top official, most likely will not be able to be re-elected due to term limits.

So, I saved the best news for last.

In 2014, Sheriff Joe is talking about running for Governor of Arizona!

tent-cityGovernor would be a safer position for Joe Arpaio. As Governor, how could Joe possibly be responsible for any needless deaths?

What possible harm could he do in this position?

What’s the worst that could happen?

All opinions of all stripes are very welcome.

All Rights reserved

What’s Going On in Arizona, Maricopa? (part 2)

What’s Going On in Arizona, Maricopa County? (part 2) Fact based reporting By Rob Roman County Officials are suing Maricopa County   The State of Arizona is suing the U.S. Government   Juan Martinez is accusing the police of obstruction of justice   The ACLU is suing Sheriff Joe   Judges are suing Maricopa County   Sheriff Joe is indicting County officials The U.S. Government is suing Sheriff Joe    Prisoners are suing Maricopa County    Juan Martinez is fighting with Judge Janet Barton     The U.S. Government is suing  Arizona

What’s going on in Arizona, MaricopaCounty?

arizona conservative

Part 2

joeMaricopaCounty is tough on crime and is the home of “America’s toughest sheriff. Who is Sheriff Joe Arpaio, and how does he relate to what’s going on in MaricopaCounty and the Jodi Arias case? In some ways he has helped Jodi Arias by allowing her 1st amendment right to free speech, which resulted in facilitating her post conviction interviews. In other ways, his obsession with cost cutting has resulted in the two meals per day which, due to scheduling, caused Jodi some health problems during the trial. joe drawingSHERIFF JOE ARPAIO According to Wikipedia: Joseph M. “Joe” Arpaio (born June 14, 1932) is the five-time elected sheriff of Maricopa County, Arizona. First voted into office in 1992, Arpaio is responsible for law enforcement in Maricopa County. This includes management of the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office, county jail, courtroom security, prisoner transport, service of warrants, and service of process. Since 2005, he has taken an outspoken stance as an advocate for strong enforcement of immigration law, and has become a flashpoint for opposition to Arizona’s SB1070, the Support Our Law Enforcement and Safe Neighborhoods Act. He is well known for attracting media attention, and styles himself as “America’s Toughest Sheriff.” tent citytents Sheriff Joe is a controversial figure who has been accused of abuse of power, misuse of funds, illegal immigration enforcement, and racial profiling. The U.S. Justice Department is suing him. He is also being sued in a class–action lawsuit for racial profiling. Arpaio and Donald Trump are famous for investigating President Barack Obama‘s birth certificate, which they claim is a forgery. jodi chainsjoe 3 Sheriff Joe had used such cost cutting measures as erecting a “tent city” in the desert to hold defendants facing trial, feeding prisoners “green baloney” and food discarded from other businesses, and forcing inmates, both men and women, to wear pink underwear and black and white striped uniforms. joe handLike the unending amount of loyalty oath signings U.S. airmen were subjected to in the novel Catch-22, there seems to be a competition in Arizona, Maricopa to see who can be the most conservative and the toughest on crime. Maybe that’s why MaricopaCounty is second only to ClarkCounty in Nevada for the most death penalty cases waiting to be tried. At some point, Sheriff Joe thought that there was corruption in the CountyOffices and he joined with a prosecutor to fight the corruption they saw. The result was a political war which mostly spared Sheriff Joe, but ended in the disbarment of the prosecutor. thomas joe arpaioSHERIFF JOE & ANDREW THOMAS  Prosecutor Andrew Thomas joined forces with Sheriff Joe to wage a war against County officials, judges and others in 2008 and 2009. They filed criminal charges against some and they filed a civil racketeering lawsuit in federal court against others. Sheriff Joe and Thomas conducted “a coup in MaricopaCounty by arresting, prosecuting and suing all of the county elected officials, including sitting Judges they did not like”. Prosecutor Thomas accused these people of a massive conspiracy against Sheriff Joe. Local attorneys organized a giant rally against Thomas and Sheriff Joe. Both Sheriff Joe and Thomas started this war while employed by the county. As a result, many of the targets these attacks sued MaricopaCounty, costing the county millions. The County fought back and they brought massive power to bear on prosecutor Andrew Thomas and Sheriff Joe Arpaio. andrew thomasPHOENIX (AP) — “An Arizona ethics board disbarred Maricopa County’s former top prosecutor on Tuesday for violating the rules of conduct for lawyers in bringing criminal charges against two county officials and a judge in December 2009 with the purpose of embarrassing them. The three-member disciplinary panel of the Arizona courts ruled that Mr. Thomas and an assistant prosecutor broke criminal intimidation and perjury laws in knowingly bringing false bribery charges against Judge Gary Donahoe, then of Superior Court. The panel ruled that the evidence suggested that Sheriff Arpaio and one of his aides conspired with the two prosecutors.” Notice that the very politically popular Sheriff Joe escaped from all this hoopla rather unscathed. Then there is the case of Anant Tripati. His legal research business investigated wrongdoing in MaricopaCounty. Mr. Tripati soon ended up being prosecuted by the Maricopa Attorney’s office and thrown in jail. tripati largeTripati 2 small 80 A native of Fiji, 54 year-old Anant Tripati owned a legal research firm in Beverly Hills. In 1991, Tripati provided assistance in a complex case in Maricopa Superior Court. He soon discovered some unethical, unlawful, and discriminatory practices. Tripati found evidence that prosecutors were manufacturing evidence, arresting, and prosecuting certain targeted people in MaricopaCounty. Tripati was arrested and prosecuted for real estate fraud. Witnesses testified against him. He was sentenced to 52 years in prison with no possibility of parole. Tripati claims the “witnesses” were pressured into testifying against him under the threat of arrest and prosecution. These witnesses wrote letters and gave sworn affidavits stating that Tripati was innocent, and that they were “threatened, coerced, intimidated, and otherwise forced” by employees of the Maricopa County District Attorney’s Office into giving false testimony against him at trial. Tripati contends that these “witnesses” were the actual perpetrators of the crime. He remains in prison in Arizona. There are more and more unusual occurrences happening in Arizona prisons and jails. Prisoners are “committing suicide” at rates much higher than national averages. Prisoners are refused emergency aid and even basic medical attention. An unusually high number of prisoners are dying under questionable circumstances. Here are a few examples. brenda toddBRENDA TODD The Arizona Department of Corrections announced on January 21, 2011 that Brenda Todd died in custody at Goodyear’s Perryville Prison, She was found unresponsive in her cell and medical responders attempted to revive her. They were unsuccessful, and she was pronounced dead. The ADC indicated that her death was “under investigation”. “Since Todd’s death, several individuals have claimed that Todd pleaded for medical attention days before she was found dead, and that she even banged on the wall or door of her cell the night before her demise, asking for help. Todd was doing 2.5 years for an aggravated DUI. She was housed in Perryville’s minimum security Santa Maria Unit.” There are many more cases like this of prisoners with severe and even life-threatening illnesses who were denied medical attention and other basic services. marcia powellMARCIA POWELL  Powell was an inmate serving a twenty seven month prison term.  On May 20, 2009, she was left outdoors in a human cage for four hours with no shade or water. The temperature was over 107 degrees (41 degrees C).  The prison’s policy limits outside confinement to a maximum of 2 hours. “The county medical examiner found the cause of death to be due to complications from heat exposure. Her core body temperature upon examination was 108 degrees Fahrenheit (42 degrees C). She suffered burns and blisters all over her body.” “Witnesses say she was repeatedly denied water by corrections officers, though the Commanding Officers deny this. According to a 3,000 page report released by the ADC, she pleaded to be taken back inside, but was ignored. Similarly, she was not allowed to use the restroom. When she was found unconscious, her body was covered with excrement from soiling herself.” “Powell, who was serving a 27-month sentence for prostitution, was still alive but she expired after being transported to WestValleyHospital, where acting ADC Director Charles Ryan made the decision to have her life support suspended.” “The Maricopa County Attorney’s Office has chosen not to prosecute Arizona Department of Corrections staff in the death of inmate Marcia Powell”. What happened is that Marcia Powell was barbecued alive. The staff of the prison claim it was an honest mistake. But would anyone in MaricopaCounty government leave their pet dog or cat out in unshaded area for 4 hours in 107 degree Arizona heat with no water? snakeOne person was allowed to retire a few months early and a few people were fired, No one was held accountable for this unauthorized death sentence. Let’s face it, Marcia Powell was probably a “wise-ass” or a “loud-mouth” and she was “dealt with” by prison staff. Don’t even try to say that it was an “accident”, an “oversight”, or it “went too far”.  There are some ignorant and sadistic guards, especially in places like Arizona, who are in this business for their own personal entertainment and to make sure that prisoners suffer for their crimes. Can there even be a reasonable debate on this matter? Here is a very recent, perfect example of just such an individual: glen edmondA Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office (MCSO) Detention Officer was accused of violating his girlfriend with a souvenir baseball bat, pepper-spraying her vagina, sticking a loaded gun in her mouth, and other crimes. The woman also accused him of assaulting her with wrestling holds, using a Taser on her, and throwing her high heeled shoes at her. “A detention officer at one of Sheriff Joe Arpaio’s jails is accused of violating a woman with a baseball bat, pepper-spraying her vagina, sticking a gun in her mouth, and more.” “The 29-year-old woman told police Edmond used a wrestling hold to pin her to a bed and used the wooden bat during the assault. During an argument later he pointed a .40-caliber handgun at her, she told police. Another woman stepped between the two and Edmond grabbed the victim around the other woman, ripping the victim’s shirt and breaking her necklace and cell phone, according to a court document. The victim told police it wasn’t the first incident with the suspect. She said he pepper-sprayed her vagina in 2005, used a stun gun on her, had previously placed a gun in her mouth, and broke the high heels off shoes to expose the nails and threw them at her.” Edmond admitted to some of the accusations, but pled not guilty. Another incident this year involves another guard who is also accused of a violent domestic assault. cj-joe“An Avondale father and son were heavily drinking and got into an argument that ended with the father being stabbed multiple times. CJ Joe and his father were drinking and got into a heated argument over politics before allegedly stabbing his father, said Avondale Police. Joe remains in critical condition at a local hospital, police said. He was stabbed six times in the chest, back, biceps, shoulder and finger.” In just the last few months, there are these two reports of guards lashing out in violent attacks on their partners and family members. If they are acting like this at home, how do you think they are treating the prisoners? joe 2Sheriff Joe Arpaio has fought against his own County’s officials and judges in addition to his battles with the federal government. The U.S. federal government and the American Civil Liberties Union have fought back against Arizona and MaricopaCounty in a series of lawsuits. A class-action lawsuit was filed against the ADC (Arizona Department of Corrections) alleging widespread abuse leading to serious injuries and even death. “The lawsuit filed Tuesday morning alleges thousands of prisoners within Arizona’s Department of Corrections system have received grossly inadequate medical, mental health and dental care over the last several years.” justice 2“The state of Arizona has failed miserably providing basic needs,” said Daniel Pochoda, legal director with the ACLU. “When people are confined to prisons for 3 years or 5 years, they are not confined to a death sentence and many of these folks have died because of the absence of adequate care.” Don’t worry about the fate of Arizona and MaricopaCounty because help is on the way:  andrew_thomas_announces_for_gov_apr2720131ANDREW THOMAS After being disgraced, disbarred and losing a bid for Arizona Attorney General, Andrew Thomas is now running for Governor of Arizona in 2014. “I’ll be focusing on the need to protect public safety, ensure border security and fight corruption, among other issues,” Thomas said in the e-mail. “Thomas served as county attorney from 2005 until he resigned in 2010 to unsuccessfully run for Arizona attorney general. His political downfall came after he was accused of using his prosecutorial powers while in office for political purposes. Targets included judges, the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors and other county officials.” joe 4Andrew Thomas claims that “honest prosecutors are railroaded for fighting corruption in this state.” There is controversy over whether Sheriff Joe and Andrew Thomas are the heroes or the villains in Arizona. There seems to always be considerable political turmoil swirling in and around the capital city of Phoenix, where something, be it corruption, malfeasance, scandals, or condemned prisoners, always seems to be rising out of the ashes. criminal-justice-schoolsCONCLUSION In this environment it is not such a stretch of the imagination to see how investigations done on a Spartan budget lead to faulty and incomplete evidence. It is easy to see how the accused could be rubber stamped through the Grand Jury, indicted, overcharged, and arrested with little evidence and then pressured into a confession or a plea deal. What if you are the accused you choose to stand up, not make a deal, and fight the charges? What happens then? It appears that some people in the Attorney’s Office then find a way to put you in prison, make you suffer, and keep you there for a long time. large immigrationsaddlebrooke_extremists large The Prosecutor’s has been called, and they will double down on the gamble and take you to trial. The County wants to show they are tough on crime and will not back down on their charge. Prosecutors will bend the rules to “supplement” the evidence, make the evidence fit and hide or destroy evidence. They will find “witnesses” to testify against you. They will threaten and intimidate your witnesses. They will not allow exculpatory evidence into your trial. They will use their contacts in the media to demonize butte The police and prosecutors, technicians and medical examiners, and even judges will “cut corners” to get a conviction and make it stick. They are doing this in the interest of justice and public safety. Many times the accused are guilty, so there are few complaints. A better idea might be to spend a little more on resources and conduct thorough and fair investigations. This way you can indict, charge and prosecute suspects on sound and reliable evidence, and conduct fair trials. Convicts can be put into custody under safe and humane conditions. Then you can expect to save a lot of money on murder trials, re-trials and lawsuits. amnestyThe Jodi Arias trial shined a spotlight on the intense political environment and questionable practices in MaricopaCounty and ArizonaState. Enormous efforts are made to save money, but they lost millions of taxpayer dollars to lawsuits. They are forced to spend millions more dollars to wrest a death verdict in the Arias trial. This is even though this never should have been a death penalty case and the death penalty can not be achieved or it will not hold in this case. Debra Milke is forced back to a death penalty trial even though the County has ZERO evidence in this case. The CountyDistrict Attorney needs to save face on the Arias case and the Milke case. If Debra Milke were guilty, why doesn’t either of the two convicts involved in her son’s murder, and currently serving on Arizona’s death row, wish to testify against her? Aren’t they on death row only because she wanted her 4 year-old son dead? death penaltyCurrently, there are around 120 pending death penalty cases in Arizona.  So the case of Jodi Arias needs to go well and smoothly for them. Judge Sherry Stephens is one of several judges who are new to death penalty cases simply because there are so many of these cases on the docket. Meanwhile, other states such as Maryland have put an end to the death penalty due to the overwhelming costs and the alarming amount of wrongful convictions. They have saved a lot of money and now people in Arizona are agitating for change. Everybody’s reputation is on the line in this case. So, in State v. Debra Jean Milke and State v. Jodi Ann Arias, are we really seeing a search for the truth leading to Justice? Perhaps we are really seeing a win as an absolute political necessity for the Maricopa County Attorney’s Office. We will have to see what kinds of decisions are made in both the Debra Milke and the Jodi Arias death penalty cases to be sure. Debra Milke Cover Please see What’s going on in Arizona, Maricopa County (Part 1) All Rights Reserved Unlike some Blogs, ALL comments are accepted and will be posted.