A new filing in a legal dispute involving Sheriff Joe Arpaio in Maricopa County, Arizona, is renewing the demand that the judge allow an investigator who was drawn into the case by others’ testimony be allowed to participate.
And it suggests, strongly, that the judge is pursuing his own interests by delaying a decision on the motion to allow Dennis L. Montgomery to intervene.
“By not granting the motions, but instead continuing to sit on them for the court’s apparent strategic reasons, Mr. Montgomery’s rights are being severely harmed, on an ongoing basis. Mr. Montgomery must respectfully be allowed to intervene in this lawsuit in order to protect his property and other interests, which was previously ordered by this court to be handed over to third parties,” a new filing by Montgomery’s attorney states.
“The delay in this lawsuit is creating much more than the appearance that this court is working in concert with the American Civil Liberties Union in order to harm defendant Sheriff Joe Arpaio and intervenor Dennis Montgomery, as well as make good on its commitment, expressed by the court’s wife as confirmed by neutral persons, to ‘destroy’ Sheriff Joseph Arpaio so the sheriff cannot be reelected in 2016.”
The verbal barrage comes from attorney Larry Klayman of Freedom Watch, who pointed out that the rancor is so bad in the case that his client, who had provided information at one point to Arpaio and was drawn into the current dispute that way, has filed a suit against the ACLU over their statements against him in the case.
“This case represents a multifaceted and growing conflict of interest not only by the ACLU and its attorneys but as important the equally unethical conduct by the court which must cease immediately,” the motion notes.
It continued, “Even more troubling, this court’s record reflects that the court has previously authorized significant payment of legal fees and costs to the law firm which represented plaintiffs, Covington and Burling LLP, where this court’s brother-in-law, Keith Teel, is a partner, insurance, patent and product-liability litigator. This has further created more than an appearance of bias or prejudice, as well as exacerbated the court’s egregious clear-cut conflict of interest, which this court continues to ignore and instead through its actions and intentional inactions thereby continues to harm Mr. Montgomery.”
WND reported earlier on the bitter fight.
It’s U.S. District Judge G. Murray Snow who is hearing a contempt of court case against Arpaio, after earlier ruling that Arpaio’s office needed to stop targeting illegal aliens for contact.
Snow stayed proceedings in the contempt case after two different motions were made for him to remove himself.
At the center of the effort to remove the judge from the contempt case is a statement from a witness, Karen Morris Grissom, who told the sheriff the judge hates him. The witness explained to Arpaio that she was a childhood friend of the judge’s wife.
Mrs. Snow, Grissom said, “told me that her husband hates u and will do anything to get u out of office.”
“This has bothered me since last year when I saw her.”
Lawyers A. Melvin McDonald and Michele Iafrate have been representing Arpaio, and argued in their request for Snow’s recusal, “No doubt, moving for the recusal or disqualification of any sitting judge is a serious matter. Under statute, case law, and judicial canons, the perception of judicial bias and the appearance of impropriety, punctuated by the material witness status of the presiding judge’s spouse, mandate the recusal and disqualification of the Honorable G. Murray Snow.”
Worse, the motion says, the judge started asking questions apparently for his own investigation of the situation in court.
“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,” the new motion explained. “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.”
Snow also raised questions about the sheriff’s department’s use of an informant, Montgomery, which, the motion states, violates judicial rules requiring an unbiased judge.
An affidavit from Arpaio explains that the judge’s behavior had been questionable several times throughout the case. At one point, the judge “demanded that I have ‘skin in the game’ and, specifically, that I pay a sanction from my personal funds and not from any fund created to assist me in my legal defense.”
The demand was made even though the sheriff was named as a defendant in his official capacity not as an individual.
Instead of approving the sheriff’s offer to pay $100,000 from his personal funds to a civil rights organization to settle concerns, the judge asked the U.S. attorney to attend the court proceedings to determine “whether sufficient evidence would be present to justify criminal contempt proceedings.”
Montgomery also is involved in a case in Washington in which Klayman asked a federal judge to interview him in secret “about the unconstitutional and illegal surveillance conducted by the National Security Agency and the Central Intelligence Agency that is highly relevant and of crucial important … as he worked closely with these agencies following the tragedy of Sept. 11, 2001.”