Get Out of Jail Card

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In 2012, the Obama administrations Justice Department had what they thought was an open-and-shut case against the controversial Sheriff Joe Arpaio of Maricopa County, Arizona.

They were going to present him with “criminal conduct” charges, mostly related to discriminating against Latinos in traffic stops, racial profiling, detaining people on mere suspicion of being illegal, etc…

The Department of Justice had literally spent years accumulating mountains of evidence. It was, in fact, an open-and-shut case. And with some reason. While Arpaio seems like an upstanding guy, I personally disagree with focusing on marginalized immigrants, preferring that people pick on those their own size or bigger.

The DOJ flew out to Phoenix in August of 2012, thinking they had a slam dunk. Then Arpaio, apparently, played a recently acquired get-out-of-jail card, calling attention to a file documenting the Obama administration’s abuse of power in 2009.

The file could have produced a crisis of legitimacy rather severe, and so the DOJ backed off. At the end of that week, the DOJ quietly dropped all charges against Arpaio and his office, without any explanation, and flew back to Washington DC.

The local media in Phoenix was, well, stunned.

As AP reported: “Federal authorities announced Friday that they’re closing their abuse-of-power investigation into Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio in Arizona without filing charges against him.”

Now, Arpaio is facing a much smaller but still pesky charge of “contempt of court.” At worst, this might earn him 6-months in prison, but probably not. He can tangle up the case with appeals for years, and being 85 years old…

If Arpaio ever does get sent to prison, one must wonder what kind of threat, or bribe, was put into play, so that he could not play this get-out-of-jail card twice…

The controllers always seek to gain leverage, over each and every compromising situation. They will go to any lengths, with an unlimited budget. But they prefer the soft pressure of a fraternal organization. It’s less messy.

Or is Arpaio, like most high-ranking law enforcers, just another player in the game?

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