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Arpaio supporters demand end to recall effort

In this April 3, 2012 file photo, Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio listens in during a news conference in Phoenix. Sheriff Arpaio has been in office 20 years, mainly by being tough on crime and, more recently, illegal immigration. But the self-proclaimed toughest sheriff in America is in the middle of the most difficult re-election fight of his career, largely because those themes are being turned against him. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin, File)

In this April 3, 2012 file photo, Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio listens in during a news conference in Phoenix. Sheriff Arpaio has been in office 20 years, mainly by being tough on crime and, more recently, illegal immigration. But the self-proclaimed toughest sheriff in America is in the middle of the most difficult re-election fight of his career, largely because those themes are being turned against him. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin, File)

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. (AP) — A group supporting metropolitan Phoenix’s sheriff demanded Wednesday that organizers of an effort to recall the lawman immediately end their campaign, and vowed to go to court to stop them.

Citizens To Protect Fair Election Results contends the recall effort against Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio is unconstitutional and intended to harass him and prevent him from carrying out his duties. Recall organizers say the self-proclaimed toughest sheriff in America should be ousted, in part, because his office failed to adequately investigate more than 400 sex-crimes cases. They also allege Arpaio’s office put immigration enforcement above other law enforcement priorities.

Arpaio supporters say the sheriff who is known for immigration enforcement and housing jail inmates in canvas tents won a sixth term in November fair and square and that recall organizers shouldn’t be allowed to contest the election simply because they don’t like the outcome.

Larry Klayman, a lawyer representing the pro-Arpaio group, said that if the recall effort continues, his group will file legal action against its organizers alleging they violated the free speech, equal protection and due process rights of the majority of county voters who re-elected the sheriff.

“There are no valid reasons for this recall petition,” Klayman said. “Nothing happened between the day of the election, the swearing-in of Sheriff Arpaio and this recall petition.”

The group called a news conference Wednesday to publicize a cease-and-desist letter it sent to recall organizers.

Arpaio isn’t affiliated with Citizens To Protect Fair Election Results but agrees that there’s no valid reason for the recall effort, sheriff’s spokeswoman Lisa Allen said.

“Sheriff Arpaio also believes there may be need for a legal clarification on whether any elected official, regardless of party, can be recalled only days after a general election,” Allen said.

Arpaio faced his second-tightest election in November, beating the closest candidate by 6 percentage points. Arpaio critics tried to turn the sheriff’s themes of unceasingly cracking down on crime and illegal immigration against him. In late 2011, his critics said they decided against pursuing a recall effort and instead would leave the matter to voters to decide.

Recall organizers face a May 30 deadline for handing in valid petition signatures from more than 335,000 voters in the county. If they succeed in securing a recall election, the earliest that race could be put on the ballot is November. Organizers say they have gathered at least 50,000 signatures so far.

William Fisher, a lawyer leading the group seeking the recall, said Arpaio denied voters the chance to justify his positions on critical issues when he refused to take part in any debates during last fall’s campaign. Fisher rejected the criticism that the sheriff’s critics have sour grapes.

“Then why have a recall statute in the state of Arizona?” Fisher said.

In arguing the recall effort was unconstitutional, Klayman cited a section of the Arizona Constitution that prohibits the circulation of recall petitions against an official until he or she has held office for six months.

Fisher countered in an interview with The Associated Press that a section of state law specifies the six-month period doesn’t apply to incumbents.

David Gartner, an Arizona State University professor who teaches constitutional law, agreed with that assessment.

“I interpret that language (of the state law) to mean that someone who has been re-elected to the same office isn’t subject to the six-month delay in terms of the possibility of a recall effort,” Gartner said.

In 2011, immigrant rights advocates succeeded in their effort to oust then-Arizona Senate President Russell Pearce, an Arpaio ally who was the driving force behind the state’s contentious 2010 immigration law.

Fisher said his group is separate from the organization that pursued Pearce’s recall, but he has talked one of its top organizers in his group’s effort to oust Arpaio.

Arpaio’s office reopened more than 400 of its sex-crime cases countywide for a three-year period after finding they were inadequately investigated or not examined at all. An internal affairs report released last week attributed the failures to understaffing and mismanagement and didn’t find any single person was responsible for the botched cases.

Arpaio apologized in December 2011 for the bungled cases, and his office has since said it has moved to clear up the cases and taken steps to prevent the problem from happening again.


  1. Normally I would agree with them that the election results should stand. But lately I have been appalled with Sheriff Arpaio’s continuing publicity seeking tactics. His having a posse with sex offenders and abusers guarding our children has me very concerned. Has he not learned anything from the J. T. Ready case?
    And besides playing a lawman in TV what qualifications does Steven Seagal have to teach the posse to protect our children? I fear that the publicity garnered by Steven Seagal will encourage deranged persons to show that they are more powerful then the movie star trained posse.
    If Sheriff Arpaio did the job he is paid to do and leave off the theatrics I might agree with his supporters but at every turn the Sheriff proves that he cares more about the publicity he receives then guarding the safety of his constituents.

  2. It’s time to be done with tyrant that professes to “save the children” as he purchases over $500,000 worth of guns with no oversight or accountability. His supporters have enabled the county sheriff for far too long at the cost of innocent lives, destruction of families and hundreds of millions of $$$’s bilking the taxpayers. His supporters should pick up the tab for his lawsuits and wrongful deaths.

    After Arizona’s botched election, visible for the world to see, with long lines of people waiting for hours to vote, this was wrong. Yes, Recall Arpaio and move forward with a better Arizona for its people. Arizona does NOT need a “king” with a badge.

  3. If the voters saw the witch-hunts and Arpaio’s recent actions PRIOR to the election, even more people would have voted him out. For an 80-something, sheriff not able to do his job except grandstand in from of the media with gruff sound-bytes, he is NOT serving the people well, he is bringing shame to Arizona’s reputation as they try to draw tourists and new business to the state.

    Legislators have been his enablers. Arizona does NOT need a “king with a badge”.

    It’s time for TERM LIMITS for County Sheriffs and County Attorneys. It’s time for the people of Arizona to take their counties and state back!


    “Sheriff Joe’s Armed School Protection “Posse” includes Convicts & Sex Offenders”

    byVyan THU JAN 10, 2013 AT 10:31 AM PST

    “In a somewhat controversial move, members of Sheriff Joe Arpaio’s volunteer posse are slated to start patrolling some Maricopa County schools.
    Some of those posse members reportedly have criminal pasts. That’s where the controversy comes in.

    An MCSO spokesman said those people have already faced disciplinary action in connection with their crimes, either avoided felony convictions or petitioned to have their records expunged, and are now moving on”

  5. The Roosevelt School District voted and has asked Sheriff Joe Arpaio to remove his “volunteer posse” who are not trained or certified law enforcement officers . All parents and community fear that their children are not safe under Arpaio’s posse and his efforts are not to safeguard children, but to garner media for himself. School Districts have the option to refuse the Sheriff’s “posse”, more should take actions that protect children with certified law enforcement “off duty” officers.

  6. Elections are kind of like a cleansing process, as they are a new election for a new office, even if the incumbent is re-elected, so it is a brand new term of office.

    Recalls are the public’s way of going after office holders after a waiting period (5 days for legislators, 6 months for all others per the Constitution that I thought was the supreme law of the State – but maybe I am wrong here) for conduct related grounds since the election and after they are sworn in – and that is assuming the election process was legal. Except for this, shouldn’t we all respect the vote for all elected or appointed office holders and judges.

    Otherwise, our constitutional recall provision will be nothing more than a wild west “recall at will” and if that’s what the courts say it is, then let’s go at it; and lets recall every single supervisor, legislator, mayor, councilman, school board member, superior court judge, appellate judge and supreme court judge just in office whose views and politics those who voted against them want to replace; and after those recall elections, the losing sides can file another immediate recall! And this election “uncivil war” will continue over and over, I guess, until both sides to every office holders campaign elect someone they all agree on – with unanimous vote replacing majority vote – or the government and taxpayers run out of money since these recalls will cost millions of dollars, or until the State Legislature STOPS IT!

    Guess it’s up to the public to decide what they want to do?

  7. Olga Aros, We couldn’t agree with you more. Your well-informed comment is spot-on. All must work on the “recall arpaio” campaign to remove this tyrant who “controls” the state. His puppets in leadership positions are afraid to speak up, while the taxpayers’ get bilked out of hundreds of millions of $$$’s.

  8. Olga, You are right, the children are NOT safe, just ask the victims of the over 430 un-investigated sex crimes cases.

  9. Bobby, The sheriff and his enablers have keep us all in the “wild west” instead of the 21st century. Arizona’s election was a shameful display for the world to see, people waiting in lines to vote for hours. The ‘ramping” up of the sheriff’s targeting, excess guns and failing to do his job, demands a recall. Incompetence and guns are a very dangerous mix. We’re sure the gun manufacturers are thrilled with Arizona’s chaos, as well as the nation. Moral panics create $$$’s for the few, poorly written legislation and destruction for the people, especially the minorities who have been treated poorly in Arizona.

  10. correction (need an edit or delete button) Bobby, The sheriff and his enablers have kept us all in the “wild west” instead of the 21st century.

    As for saving millions of $$$’s, tally up what the out of control sheriff has wasted of the taxpayers’ $$$$’s — hundreds of millions in lawsuits against him that will hit ONE BILLION — $,$$$,$$$,$$$ — in not too distant future. His supporters need to pick up this tab.

  11. If any of you whiney diaper wetters want to put on a weapon and go on patrol on a dark night in a bad neighborhood, feel free to criticize. Otherwise, shut your pie-holes.

  12. Just because a slight majority got him in, does not make Arpaio’s rule RIGHT or MORAL. Reference Adolf Hitler. The safety of the citizens should be the priority of the County and the State, but both simply turn their head when it comes to Sheriff Arpaio’s malfeasance. Arpaio and his “posse” are openly discriminatory against Latinos and yet they are being placed in public schools that are dominated by minorities. It is unethical and unjust to cause undo stress on the parents of these minority children, who now have reason to fear, on the daily, what could possibly happen to their child while at SCHOOL of all places. I just finished an article illustrating the similarities between the character and power tactics of Arpiao and Hitler. Check it out at:

  13. He won with a 6% margin. The majority rules unless Liberals don’t agree with the election results. Then, a recall vote for them is critical so they can buy enough votes to swing the results the other way. Sounds somewhat like Wisconsin to me where you Liberal jerks got your clocks cleaned. I doubt you’ll get the additional 300,000 names on the petition, but if you do, it will be entertaining to watch you lose again.

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