The Sheriff Is Coming! The Sheriff Is Coming!

A cluster of lookouts in an Arizona neighborhood have started sending blast text messages to warn when an immigration sweep is imminent. Who are they on the look out for? The cop Reason loves to hate, of course—Maricopa county sheriff Joe Arpaio.

You remember Arpaio: He's the anti-illegal immigration zealot who forced prisoners to live in tents in the desert, held a candlelight vigil for his deputies when they were imprisoned after being caught on tape stealing documents in a courtroom, retaliated against newspapers that did investigations on him (also against mayors who speak against him), inspired a life-sized guerilla art installation at the Mexican border, and left a Hispanic woman arrested after a traffic stop in shackles while she gave birth.

Frankly, I'd subscribe to text messages warning me when this guy is coming.

Lydia Guzman, director of the nonprofit immigrant advocacy group Respect/Respeto, is the trunk of a sophisticated texting tree designed to alert thousands of people within minutes to the details of the sweeps, which critics contend are an excuse to round up illegal immigrants.

Guzman said the messages are part of an effort to protect Latinos and others from becoming victims of racial profiling by sheriff's deputies. Deputies have been accused of stopping Hispanics, including citizens and legal immigrants, for minor traffic violations to check their immigration status....

Arpaio has conducted 13 sweeps since March 2008, and deputies have arrested 669 people, about half of whom were held on immigration violations.

Eugene Volokh, who alerted me to this story, has a paper [PDF] on crime-facilitating speech with some relevant case law. He asks the tough questions:

So what’s the First-Amendment-relevant difference, if there is one, between this and a lookout who alerts criminals when the police are coming? (Assume that the lookout isn’t getting a share of the loot, but is just helping his friends avoid getting locked up.) Should it matter, as one expert who’s mentioned in the article suggests, whether Ms. Guzman’s real goal is preventing lawful arrest of illegal immigrants (as opposed to preventing racial profiling, assuming such profiling is unlawful)?

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  • Old Mexican||

    I want that girl! Uh, sorry, that T-Shirt!

  • Old Mexican||

    So what’s the First-Amendment-relevant difference, if there is one, between this [texting people to alert them of police sweeps] and a lookout who alerts criminals when the police are coming?

    Here's the difference, just in case you have not detected it:

    In the case of the lookout, he is aiding and abeting KNOWN criminals.

    In the case of the texting, there is NO way for the texter to know who in the list of recipients is a citizen concerned with police profiling or an actual illegal immigrant, or a criminal. There is no difference between this and a reporter making an expose.

  • ||

    It took OM about five minutes to answer Volokh's "tough questions."

    Well done, sir.

  • ||

    To be fair, OM put more than 5minutes of thought into it before-hand. The5mins was just to put thoughts-to-page.

  • Old Mexican||

    What? That's calummny, sir! It took me ONE SECOND to see the answer.

    It took me a lot more time to gather the WILL to WRITE it, that's true.... but that doesn't count.

  • ||

    Was just trying to say you had a well thought out point. My Bad.

  • Old Mexican||

    You need to turn on your sarcasm monitor there, wylie ;-) :-D

  • ||

    It went full scale a few months back and i haven't found where the needle flew off to.

  • ||

    Does intent matter anymore? If they can prove your intent it to notify the illegals, you should be screwed.

    But Sheriff Joe, by his actions, has created an evironment that makes many people want to run for various reasons, so the intent might be harder to prove as a result. I

  • ||

    I don't think that works for a few reasons.

    1. To get it out of the way... of course their doing it to alert illegals.

    2. How is texting going to stop racial profiling? Will the Hispanic looking people morph into a different racial group?

    3. If the crime was more severe, such as armed robbery, would it be appropriate to use protest over another issue to stop the apprehension of the criminals?

    4. "Guzman said the messages are part of an effort to protect Latinos and others from becoming victims of racial profiling by sheriff's deputies."

    Which again, only alerts people who have broken the law that the police are coming. What action could the law abiding take that would make the texting help them?

  • anonymous||

    True, American citizens have never accidentally been caught in immigration sweeps, especially not those conducted by people more concerned about ethnicity than paperwork.

  • ||

    Again, what are they going to do? Hide in their closets?

  • zoltan||

    StupendousMan, look at Arpaio's record. Many of his victims are legal immigrants or citizens. I'd be scared of this guy too.

  • ||

    Oh, I think Arpiao is a scumbag of the first order. I just don't think this texting business is a good way of going about trying to bypass him.

  • ||

    If you flash your lights at random people because you just passed a cop doing a speed trap, did you alert criminals? If not, how can a text that the police are coming be considered doing so?

  • ||

    Flashing lights to alert of a speed trap is probably illegal too...

  • Old Mexican||

    No, it is not... but that does not stop police to give spurious tickets for it:

    http://www.motorists.org/forums/read.php?2,67,210

  • ||

    Sorry, "illegal" wasn't the right term.

    "likely to get you jackbooted" work for you?

  • ||

    What do you think of this?

  • anonymous||

    It's a reminder to obey the law. Like when the police pull you over and give you a warning, only with less chance of getting your civil rights violated.

  • smartass sob||

    If you flash your lights at random people because you just passed a cop doing a speed trap, did you alert criminals?

    If they were speeding, you did.

  • BakedPenguin||

    I do that every chance I get. I will sleep soundly tonight.

  • Old Mexican||

    Arpaio has conducted 13 sweeps since March 2008, and deputies have arrested 669 people, about half of whom were held on immigration violations.

    That would mean that the other half arrests were made with no cause and thus illegal. Why hasn't the Maricopa county been driven into bankruptcy paying settlements, yet?

  • ||

    Too expensive to bring a lawsuit? Those goobaks didn't come to america because they were rolling in the dough back in mexico.

  • Old Mexican||

    I don't mean the immigrants - that was established when I mentioned the OTHER half of the arrested, which I can only infer they are in the US legally or are actual US Citizens.

  • ||

    I'm gonna guess that if you get caught in the same sweep, your financial situation isn't much better.

  • Old Mexican||

    What? No "ambulance chasers" in Arizona? That's hard to believe!

  • ||

    perhaps they were charged w/ other crimes...

  • ||

    They may be legal non-citizens who are hesitant to make a stink.

  • MJ||

    No, what that likely means is that half those caught up in the sweeps were arrested on charges other than immigration issues. It does not say anything as to whether those charges are invalid.

  • ||

    Have you read the tactics used by this sheriff and his staff? If the media, judges, lawyers, and politicians are afraid of this guy why would a poor (legal) immigrant think he has a chance to take this guy on?

    OM, when I read your posts this guy comes to mind, he's awesome.

  • ||

    Isn't that the guy from the Village People?

  • ||

    How long 'til Arpiggo locks these people up for "obstruction of justice"?

  • ||

    Actually, I don't think Arpiggo and his men are very far away from just "disappearing" those they dislike.

  • ||

    They have vultures in arizona? Because it's just no fun disappearing people if their bones won't be picked clean in the desert.

  • ||

    Yes, Wylie, we have great big Turkey Vultures here in the desert. They would do the trick just fine...

  • ||

    Let the fun begin!

  • dfd||

    I haven't read the article, but they should send out the text alerts anonymously. Since you can send texts from email or instant messaging services, an anonymous email account sent through an off-shore proxy ought to protect the senders.

  • Johnny Longtorso||

    If the police demand "Normandy Invasion" style State Secret protection, can we admit they're actually military?

  • ||

    So what’s the First-Amendment-relevant difference, if there is one, between this and a lookout who alerts criminals when the police are coming?
    Night and day.

    The better question is: What's the difference between this and a lookout that notifies the neighborhood when the Mafia Don is coming?

  • Old Mexican||

    Probably that people are more scared of the police and their zany antics than of the Mafia Don...

  • Old Mexican||

    So, what's her sign, again?

  • bleephole||

    Here's hoping her favorite car is a Hummerhummer.

  • ||

    I was going to read the article on the train home, but . . . 108 pages??? Be they judicial opinions, law review articles, or even scientific articles, academic writing just keeps getting longer and longer and longer.

  • Old Mexican||

    Be they judicial opinions, law review articles, or even scientific articles, academic writing just keeps getting longer and longer and longer.

    That's because self-absorbed academic pomposity has grown exponentially the last 100 years.

  • ||

    Side effect of the singularity. When the final day comes, academia will implode under the weight of billions of pages being generated per second.

  • fyodor||

    My anti-immigrant leftwing friend told me Sunday that twice caught immigration law violators should be executed.

    I called him a sick dick.

  • bleephole||

    The Sheriff Is Coming! The Sheriff Is Coming!

    He ain't even breathin' hard.

  • wingnutx johnson||

    He said The sheriff is near!

  • ||

    ding! dong!

  • ||

    racist.

  • Rogue Wave||

    Deputies have been accused of stopping Hispanics, including citizens and legal immigrants, for minor traffic violations to check their immigration status....

    Sounds like the duputies are doing their job. When you are stopped for a traffic violation the cop should be checking via computer if you have outstanding warrants etc. including immigration status.

    Pity the murderous criminals sweating in the tent prison?! I wish we had tent prisons in my state instead of billon dollar Hiltons.

  • ||

    Aw fuck it, let's Godwin this bitch.

    Herr Wave, we must see your paperz!

  • Kroneborge||

    Some of the other stuff was over the top, but the tent thing doesn't bother "that" much

    When I was in Kuwait we slept in tents, no AC, bugs falling on us while we slept.

    And while I was in prison, it was pretty easy mode.

    Course I wasn't complaing, but still, seems off.

  • Fluffy||

    Guess what, Rave, you dick -

    A significant percentage of the people in Arpaio's jail are people who are awaiting trial who cannot make bail.

    That means they have not yet been convicted of any crime.

    So you are advocating harsh confinement conditions in order to inflict punishments on people who have not been convicted of any crime. Including people who will later be acquitted.

    You don't care about this, because you are a worthless cunt.

    I hope Arpaio or some equivalent of his locks you up for something you're innocent of, and decides to inflict some punishment on you while you're awaiting trial in order to score points with his cunt constituents, and OOPSIE you fucking die as a result. That would be AWESOME.

  • zoltan||

    Who else always thought Fluffy was a girl!?!?!? My world is turned upside, as when I learned Hazel Meade was, in fact, female.

  • ||

    Hazel Meade can't be female, as they know too much (to wit, something) about gaming.

  • ||

    Hazel made the mistake of posting a picture of herself at one point.

    Now Steve Smith knows what she looks like.

  • thumbs up||

    I always thought Fluffy was a rabbit. Never considered his/her/it's gender.

  • T-shirt girl||

    SLLLLUUUURRRRPPPP!

  • ||

    I also understand that he allowed neo-nazis to stage an anti-immigration protest on police property.

  • ||

    Allowed them to stage a protest? Heck, he even took pictures with them.

  • ||

    Lonewhacko is all over this.

    Scroll down, check out the comments.

  • ||

    wacko, dammit.

  • Paul||

    Everyone is missing the most important thing here:

    Arpaio has proven he can do pretty much anything he wants in Maricopa county. If he catches you texting about his sweep, he'll arrest you and have his pet prosecutor charge you with aiding and abetting. After you've spent thousands of dollars on attorney's fees, you can present your arguments to the judge.

    The process is the punishment.

  • ||

    Bingo.

  • Fluffy||

    I think Volokh makes a good point, but it's actually the reverse of the one he thinks he's making.

    In the absence of an overt conspiracy ["Stay outside the bank and tell us if any cops come, and you get a share of the loot!"] it obviously should not be illegal to tell criminals if cops are coming, even if your reason for doing so is sheer perversion.

    The statement you're making is true. You're not part of a conspiracy to commit another crime. Therefore, the state has no moral authority to criminalize your act. Period. In the absence of an overt conspiracy, all true statements should be legal statements. Always.

    So yes, Eugene. There is no difference. And not only should these folks be absolutely free to do what they're doing, so should the lookout in his example.

  • MattXIV||

    In the absence of an overt conspiracy ["Stay outside the bank and tell us if any cops come, and you get a share of the loot!"] it obviously should not be illegal to tell criminals if cops are coming, even if your reason for doing so is sheer perversion.

    Exactly - if you're not actively doing so as part of a criminal conspiracy, telling people that the cops are in the neighborhood should be protected speech.

    The question of where exactly to draw the line on when providing information makes you part of the conspiracy is a bit tricky though - I'd say if you're not knowingly futhering a specific incidence of a crime (as opposed to broadcasting information that might be of use to unspecified criminals), then you count as being part of it. For example, if you tell your friend the cops are coming because he's a shaddy guy in general, it's protected, but if you tell your friend the cops are coming because he told you earlier that he robbed a liquor store and the cops may be after him, it shouldn't be.

  • ||

    Wow, I cant believe someone hasnt taking this piece of cr@p Arpaio out yet! I mean really that fat outta shape piece of dung couldnt fight his way out of a wet paper bag.

    Jess
    www.total-anonymity.at.tc

  • anonymous||

    That's more topical than the usual spam. I think it's starting to become self-aware.

    At this rate, anonymity bot will probably be able to formulate and execute a plan to eradicate humanity by, hmmm... carry the 5... multiply by pi... Let's say around late 2012.

  • zoltan||

    Someone finally broke through that black Chinese ICE!

  • The truth is||

    Perhaps he's having an impact. he's the counterpoint to all the Pro-Illegal agruments. Both are wrong, but so long as people say it's ok to just cross the border, these things will occur

  • ||

    You remember Arpaio: He's the anti-illegal immigration zealot...

    Was this printed elsewhere first? Would NRO say "You remember Bill Clinton..." or would US Weekly say "You remember Kate Gosselin..."

    I guess KMW really needed one more paragraph to keep her bathroom privileges.

  • ||

    Well, yeah. Nick's in the other one all day fixing his hair.

  • ||

    It's positions such as these excusing illegal immigration that undermine libertarianism as a credible movement.

    One of the legitimate purposes of government is to build silly things like, well, roads. I don't want to a pay toll every 2 minutes whenever I take a turn driving to work. Immigration laws exist for a reason. Imagine if it was possible for large groups of people to simply walk into a country, declare you have a "right" to citizenship, and then engage in mobacracy and vote away the rights of the citizens. It's basically a legal invasion.

    The latino invasion is racist and already organized to demand special privileges ahead of whites and expand the socialist welfare state.

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