Joe Arpaio

On the Plus Side, Sheriff Joe Arpaio Got Booted Out of Office

Happy trails to America's worst sheriff.


Anthony Behar/Sipa USA/Newscom

After 23 years of flouting constitutional rights, federal court orders, and common decency, Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio will no longer be an embarrassment to the U.S. criminal justice system.

Retired Phoenix police officer Paul Penzone defeated the 84-year-old Arpaio 55-44 percent in the race for Maricopa County Sheriff on Tuesday night, dealing a shocking defeat to the longtime incumbent.

Arpaio, who has cruised to reelection in past contests, was dragged down by a flood of out-of-state funding and a well-organized campaign to get out the Latino vote. Oh, and there was also the criminal contempt of court charges for refusing to comply with a federal judge's orders to improve the conditions at the county jail and to stop unconstitutionally profiling Latinos.

In a statement, Maricopa Strong, a super PAC funded by liberal mega-donor George Soros that funneled more than $2 million into the race, said the voters "rejected the poisonous anti-Immigrant policies that Arpaio symbolized."

"In this race, when matched on a more even playing field, the values of justice and inclusion defeated the politics of fear-mongering and intolerance," the super PAC said. "Maricopa County will be a safer, fairer, more just jurisdiction with Paul Penzone as sheriff. Voters have rejected the poisonous anti-immigrant policies that Arpaio symbolized."

Arpaio was an outspoken supporter of Donald Trump and his hardline immigration policies. He spoke at the Republican National Convention in July, drawing applause when he said, "Donald Trump will build the wall!" (There was a large picture of a border wall displayed behind Arpaio, just to emphasize how tremendous and bigly the wall will be.)

Trump returned the favor, telling voters to back Arpaio. But the wave of Republican votes that propelled Trump into the White House did not lift Arpaio. Nor did the backlash against Arpaio and prominence of immigration issues hurt Trump. With 97 percent of the vote counted, Trump is winning Maricopa County 49-45 percent.

Arpaio gained national name-recognition—he styled himself as "America's toughest sheriff"—for housing inmates in a desert tent city and running aggressive sweeps to round up illegal immigrants.

In 2013, Reason named Arpaio one of its 45 enemies of freedom, where he joined such luminaries as Idi Amin, Michael Bloomberg, and Hillary Clinton:

Maricopa County, Arizona's chief law enforcement officer is famous mostly for publicly degrading inmates: forcing them to live in a tent city, work on chain gangs, wear pink underwear. Meanwhile, his more serious transgressions receive far less attention. Arpaio has created citizen posses to track down and arrest illegal immigrants, overseen a jail staff that has violently abused inmates (resulting in the death of three prisoners and the paralysis of a fourth), and used law enforcement resources to harass and intimidate his political opponents.

In 2014, J.D. Tuccille noted in Reason that Arpaio's office "has also been guilty of a litany of shenanigans, including stealing documents from a defense attorney, arresting critical journalists, spying on political opponents—and maintaining such lousy jail conditions that they violate inmates' rights."

Arpaio's jails lost their national accreditation in 2008, but Arpaio continued to wrangle with a U.S. district court judge over the conditions of the jail, as well as the unconstitutional racial profiling of Latinos.

The judge referred Arpaio to the U.S. Attorney's Office for potential prosecution, and in mid-October the office charged Arpaio and three of his aides with criminal contempt of court:

[U.S. District Court Judge Susan Bolton's] filing walks through five years of the sheriff's resistance to her colleague, U.S. District Court Judge G. Murray Snow, who has presided over the long racial-profiling case out of which the criminal-contempt charge grew.

The document alleges Arpaio was more interested in maintaining his famed tough-on-immigration persona than following Snow's orders. His deputies continued to arrest and deliver undocumented immigrants to federal authorities when there were no state charges against them, long after Snow banned the practice.

"Judge Snow concluded that Sheriff Arpaio did so based on the notoriety he received for, and the campaign donations he received because of, his immigration enforcement activity," Bolton wrote […]

The practice, she notes, continued even after Arpaio's attorneys advised him to stop. The sheriff at various points told his attorneys they would revise their protocol or, falsely, that the Sheriff's Office was already in compliance.

Now Arpaio has received an order from someone he can't try and ignore: voters.

"Tonight, the people have spoken," Arpaio said in a campaign statement on election night. "And while Ava and I are disappointed in the results we respect their decision."

NEXT: Did Gary Johnson and Jill Stein Voters Cost Hillary Clinton The Election?

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  1. Too bad my dear friend in Phoenix didn’t live to see this day

  2. RE: On the Plus Side, Sheriff Joe Arpaio Got Booted Out of Office
    Happy trails to America’s worst sheriff.

    Damn those Maricopa County voters to hell!
    Good fascist sheriffs only come around once in a lifetime.
    Don’t they realize what they’ve done?

  3. There are so many gifts in this election.

  4. Whoa whoa whoa…, he was America’s most FAMOUS awful sheriff, but with so many worthy candidates, let’s not be too hasty in dubbing him the worst.

    1. I think it’s fair to call him that in the absence of a compelling challenger for the title.

      1. They’re out there. They just don’t get the publicity. The panhandle of Florida, for example, is teeming with brutal, corrupt sheriffs.

        Still, I suppose that I’m just splitting hairs when you get to that level.

    2. To lazy to link to it, but do a Google search for “Victor Hill”.

  5. He also cost the taxpayers of Maricopa County around $145M to defend his dumbass in court.

    1. Sure, total win-win for him.

      1. If he wins, money well spent
      2. If he loses, its a final middle finger to the people who voted him out.

    2. No, George Soros and his ilk cost the county all that money.

  6. Maine’s question 3 also lost. Q3 was universal background checks.

    1. Wow, I did not expect this either.

      1. I did – Maine. Can’t imagine the average (non-Portland) Maniac wanted a background check when buying a neighbor’s shotgun or inheriting Dad’s guns.

    2. How does that work? What if the rest of the universe doesn’t care?

  7. So, people were told this was life or death — just listen to him, he’s literally hitler. Had the daylights scared out of them, but were also told it was next to impossible they’d ever have actually deal with the reality of that fear. Now they are. When it turns out he can’t deliver, the team loyalists won’t be affected, but these others, who were scared into it, what’s going to be their takeaway?

    It’s a shame for the left that they didn’t pull this out of the bag, because the way they set it up, it’s not going to be helpful to them in the future.

    1. That’s an…odd way of characterizing Sheriff Joe’s loss, but whatevs.

      1. Oops, intended to post that on a different article.

  8. May all the corrupt politicians like Arpaio, Hillary, Christie, Pelosi, Reid, etc receive the wrath of Americans.

    1. Damn him for rounding up all those illegals for being……..illegal.

      1. Yeah, you don’t know what you’re talking about.

        He didn’t ’round up illegals’. He rounded up ‘anyone who was too brown’. That he managed to get a few illegals in there doesn’t justify the assault on the other innocent people.

        But I guess you’re a big fan of ‘stop-and-frisk’ and the crime of ‘driving while black’, eh?

  9. Yeah, that guy was a fucking douchebag. BTW, did they just elect that douchebag McCain again?

    1. It’s always baby steps with Arizona, America’s reservoir of irrationally-frightened old people.

      1. no rec weed either

        1. “Dem potheads gonna rape me for my pill money!”

          1. I smell another story brewing.

          2. Call a crackhead to save you!

            There, I did it.

        2. No on weed, yes to a minimum wage hike to $12 an hour. Only two propositions and they got them both wrong.

          1. This is what happens when you vote high!

    2. Of course they did, silly man, by a 12 point margin

    3. We voted for the Green Party candidate simply because his campaign website was him talking about how he spent the last 10 years backpacking across the American West. How bad could he be? (There was no LP candidate for Senate)

      In any case, McCain might have a stroke before long so I’m not too upset about him winning.

  10. You know when libertarians will make a difference? When we start getting enough votes at all levels of government that the fuckstick politicians HAVE TO start talking about real issues. Like ending the war on drugs. Sure they will scoff and wring their hands and deflect and change the subject. But then a lot more people will know what libertarians are saying and will see how stupid team purple really is about a lot of things.

    1. I don’t think that enough people are liberty minded to pull that off. People are interested in seeing government use force to beat their ideological opponents into submission on a whole range of topics.

      Getting them to consider leaving individuals the freedom to make their own (even wrong) decisions doesn’t track with most people.

      “But, if we leave them to make their own decisions, how will we force them to comply when their decisions are wrong??”

      1. I certainly think that progs and SoCons are like that. But 30 years ago, would anyone have predicted that we’d be legalizing cannabis in several states and that nearly 60% of Americans approve of that?

        1. 30 years ago? No. But 40 years ago, 1976? Yeah, probably.

  11. Layna Klek ? Chicago, Illinois
    I don’t want anyone to get harassed but I kind of want every women who voted for trump to be treated with his standards for women… next time a female trump supporter gets harassed or treated like an object I’ll just laughed and point fingers. I don’t need to be the bigger person lol
    Like ? Reply ? 441 ? 1 hr

    They’re going to rape-culture women into submission.

    1. Stay classy, Democrats.

    2. Trump all them bitches!

    3. =”women matter, except when they don’t agree with me. Then I hope they get raped”.

      Umm, ok.

    4. As opposed to the Clinton standards for treating women? I supposed some old-fashioned harassment is better than straight-up rape followed by public ridicule.

    5. Women who voted for Trump aren’t real women.

      1. Good thing Obamacare covers transition surgeries.

    6. They weren’t already doing this (All Bill Clinton’s victims come to mind)?

    7. Isn’t that like saying “She asked for it”?

  12. Glad he lost. I have a friend who lives in Arizona. He told me that Arpaio was basically little more than a crime syndicate boss. He deserved to go.

    1. Yep. He’s terrible and not even a competent sheriff. If you read about him you’ll find that all he does here is abuse easy crimes and cases, and ignores the more complex and difficult types of crimes.

      Shame about the Minimum Wage (Almost a 4 buck increase, that’ll teach all those small companies to fuck off) and Marijuana.

      1. “If you read about him you’ll find that all he does here is abuse easy crimes and cases, and ignores the more complex and difficult types of crimes.”

        You pretty much described every police/sherrif’s dept. in the US. Cops are adrenaline junky control freaks with short attention spans and questionable work ethics. Working tough cases only happens when there is a lot of public pressure, or heat from the prosecutor’s office.

  13. As usual, the thinly-veiled Republican hordes here stinking up the comments with their tedious defenses of Arpaio. Typical.

    1. Everyone here is a closet Trumpet. Shreek said so.

  14. Who’s going to humiliate the poor?

  15. Yep, I’m 60 y/o life resident of Maricopa county and I don’t understand why the voters kept re-electing this guy.

    Good riddance and about time!

  16. until I looked at the paycheck saying $4730 , I did not believe that…my… brother woz like actualy bringing in money part time from there computar. . there friend brother started doing this for less than 7 months and resently paid for the morgage on there home and bought a new Cadillac …….


  17. until I looked at the paycheck saying $4730 , I did not believe that…my… brother woz like actualy bringing in money part time from there computar. . there friend brother started doing this for less than 7 months and resently paid for the morgage on there home and bought a new Cadillac …….


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