Arizona's Sheriff Joe Arpaio praises U.S. attorney's office
by Paloma Esquivel
The Los Angeles Times
September 1, 2012
With the U.S. attorney's office deciding not to file criminal
charges against Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio and other current and
former members of his department, the Arizona sheriff said Saturday
that the office "did a good job" -- and that he would continue to
enforce illegal immigration laws.
Assistant U.S. Atty. Ann Birmingham
Scheel made the announcement in a short news release Friday evening,
ending years of inquiry into allegations of financial misdeeds and abuse
Reached Saturday, Arpaio said: "I'm glad that the FBI and
the U.S. attorney’s office did a good job performing their duties, just
like I perform my duties.”
His legal troubles aren't yet over. Arpaio, who is seeking a sixth term as sheriff, still faces two civil cases.
was sued earlier this year by the Justice Department, which accuses him
of racially profiling Latinos, abusing Latinos in jails and retaliating
against his critics. He has also been sued by civil rights groups
representing Latino residents who say they suffered racial profiling
during traffic stops authorized by the sheriff. That case went to trial
in August and a decision is pending.
The criminal investigation began two years ago at the request of the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors.
In a letter to the county attorney’s office, which was published by
the Arizona Republic
, Scheel said the investigation focused on three
areas of concern raised by the county: the alleged misuse of county
credit cards by the sheriff’s office; the alleged misspending of tax
money approved for jail-related expenses; and the possibility that the
former county attorney and his assistant may have acted criminally when
they filed charges against a county judge.
None rose to the level of a federal crime, Scheel said.
the credit card expenses, the attorney’s office concluded that
information provided by the county suggested that the sheriff’s office
“was not properly documenting and tracking” expenses but that there was
no evidence that crimes had been committed. The issue appeared to have
been remedied through additional oversight, according to the letter.
regard to the jail-related tax money, although the board of supervisors
found that the sheriff’s department misspent the money by shifting it
from jail expenses to other duties, “there is no evidence suggesting
that any of these funds were used for the personal benefit of the MCSO
personnel responsible for the misspending,” Scheel wrote.
final matter was whether former County Atty. Andrew Thomas and his
assistant, Lisa Aubuchon, committed perjury when they filed a complaint
against Superior Court Judge Gary Donahoe. Thomas was disbarred earlier
this year by the State Bar of Arizona, which found that he committed
perjury, engaged in conflicts of interest and otherwise violated rules
of professional conduct.
But while “the actions at issue raise
serious concerns … we don’t believe criminal charges can be proven
beyond a reasonable doubt in these circumstance,” the U.S. attorney’s
The office also declined to prosecute other possible
crimes, including the violation of constitutional rights, related to the
In a phone interview Saturday, Arpaio said he was content that the investigation is over.
has been going on for four years, this investigation against me and my
office for so-called abuse of power and other allegations, and I’m happy
that the investigation is completed with no criminal charges relating
to my office,” he said.
He added that he was not “overly concerned” about the pending civil trials.
just have to go through the system to see what happens,” he said. "I
will continue to enforce all the illegal-immigration laws.”