Deceit In The Desert: Arizona GOP Stoops To New Low

Thomas and Evil Sheriff Joe

Thomas and Sheriff Joke

Hello from the state that has brought you John McCain. Sorry about that. You would think that would be enough shame for the Arizona Republican Party. Sadly, they have much more to offer. Reprehensible does not start to describe the efforts of the Arizona GOP and their poster boy of hate, Maricopa County Attorney Andrew Thomas. You may remember Thomas, he was behind the blatantly unconstitutional arrest and attempted prosecution of the two publishers of the local independent investigative weekly newspaper, The New Times.

Andrew Thomas is a young, extreme right wing, fundamentalist nightmare, and he, along with his best friend Joe Arpaio, are the law in Maricopa County, the home of Phoenix and the fourth most populated county in the United States. Here is the latest morally repugnant bile out of Andrew Thomas and the Arizona GOP:

An official with the Arizona Republican Party says he pulled an innuendo-heavy ad linking Tim Nelson, the Democratic candidate for county attorney, to defense lawyers in child- pornography and child-murder cases.

The ad refers to suggestions made in news releases, news conferences and interviews generated by Rose’s agency.

In mid-September, one of Rose’s associates issued a news release saying that a lawyer who defends pornographers contributed to Nelson’s campaign. Nelson donated the $390 in question to a charity for parents of murdered children.

"It’s sickening that they have sunk to a new low," Nelson said.

Nelson characterized Thomas’ attacks as "personal, mean and with false innuendo."

The Nelson ad opens with images of children riding tricycles and eating dinner at a family table.

"They deserve a safe neighborhood, a secure home," a woman’s voice says. "They deserve the innocence of childhood and all of its wonder. And they deserve to be protected."

Then there’s a drum roll and a frowning photo of Tim Nelson flashes on screen.

"But can they count on liberal ACLU lawyer Tim Nelson?" the woman continues. "He took money from a child pornographer and from lawyers who defend child murderers. Liberal Tim Nelson isn’t just wrong. He’s dangerous."

What are Tim Nelson’s crimes? That fully upstanding citizens, that happen to be employed as criminal defense attorneys, contributed to his campaign. Oh, yes, and that over ten years ago, the firm that Nelson worked at was appointed by the court to assist an indigent defendant with a death penalty appeal. Not Nelson personally understand you, just his firm. Wonderful. The United States Constitution guarantees criminal defendants the right to counsel. But when big civil law firms, like the one Nelson worked at, donate their time in the interest of upholding the Constitution and the rule of law, everybody affiliated with them are tarred by Andrew Thomas and the Arizona GOP as dangerous criminal aider and abetters themselves. This is beyond despicable.

And what does Andrew Thomas himself have to say about this? Is he apologetic and embarrassed? Of course not. While admitting that the ad was slightly exaggerated, Thomas dives right back into the cesspool.

"The fact is: My opponent has prostituted himself to lawyers for Valley criminals," Thomas said. "I would hope the party, if they choose to help my campaign, will rework the ad to stick to the facts as laid out in our campaign material."

We talk so much about the national elections here, and with good reason, the Presidential and Congressional elections are of critical significance with our nation teetering on the brink of self immolation. But the simple fact of the matter is that the vast majority of real governance occurs at the state and local level. We must not forget that; those elections count every bit as much as the national ones in a lot of ways. More and better Democrats are direly needed all the way across the board.

In Maricopa County, a very critical spot in the rapidly growing and significant Southwest, arguably the most significant spot, there is a chance to make a dent. While Sheriff Joe Arpaio probably cannot be defeated, Andrew Thomas sure can. It is a neck and neck race, and Tim Nelson is a very solid candidate. Nelson is very close to Janet Napolitano, who is remarkably popular in Arizona for a Democrat, and he has run an honorable race so far. But Thomas is far better financed, and is benefitting from outside GOP money and groups that are active here because of McCain.

It is a miracle that Nelson is dead even with Thomas. Thomas won the office in 2004 by a huge margin. Tim Nelson needs help to finish off the deal. I will be discussing this race again in the coming days. In the meantime, however, if you live in Arizona, or have an interest in seeing an extremely critical race won by the good guy for once, help Tim Nelson out by donating some time or money. We always strive to make a difference, we have a chance here.

Bmaz is a rather large saguaro cactus in the Southwestern Sonoran desert. A lover of the Constitution, law, family, sports, food and spirits. As you might imagine, a bit prickly occasionally. Bmaz has attended all three state universities in Arizona, with both undergraduate and graduate degrees from Arizona State University, and with significant post-graduate work (in physics and organic chemistry, go figure) at both the University of Colorado in Boulder and the University of Arizona. Married, with both a lovely child and a giant Sasquatch dog. Bmaz has been a participant on the internet since the early 2000’s, including active participation in the precursor to Emptywheel, The Next Hurrah. Formally joined the Emptywheel blog as an original contributing member at its founding in 2007. Bmaz grew up around politics, education, sports and, most significantly, cars; notably around Formula One racing and Concours de Elegance automobile restoration and showing. Currently lives in the Cactus Patch with his lovely wife and beast of a dog, and practices both criminal and civil trial law.
    • freepatriot says:

      fookin texans

      think they got the best of everything

      three words pal

      richard milhouse nixon

      born an bred right here in Cali (what the fuck is wrong with whittier ???)

      yeah, yeah, my football team might have lost, but at least our crooks are more crooked than yours

      wanna compare trees some time ???

      How do you measure yourself against other golfers ???

      By height

    • ronin1954 says:

      The Texas Mobb that Bush brought with him to the Whte House have raped,pillaged and stolen all they want. The neo-cons have shot there wad( the Irag war) and know they have lost the heart and sole of fearful Americans. It’s time for Americans to denounce Sally Palin as Bush in “drag” and get on with the business of restoring Americans to taking care of one another and providing the protections set forth in the US constitution.We have just witnessed a lawless age and need to return to the rule of law.

  1. MadDog says:

    How many times have we seen this same mindset?

    Andrew Thomas, like many other wingnut attorneys (does Monica Goodling come to mind?), apparently believes that defendants should have no representation in court.

    And heaven forbid, no juries please!

    Yup, just the Judge and Prosecutor is all one needs to conduct a trial.

    And yes, Andrew Thomas does believe in holding trials before the defendant is convicted and sentenced.

    Why can’t the public understand this?

    • bmaz says:

      Crikey, this jerk wants to convict their attorneys too. I draw the line very definitively there, as you might would guess.

      Any body reading this post, if you know anybody in Arizona, reach out and touch them; and tell them to vote for Tim Nelson. Please.

  2. PJEvans says:

    There are a lot of people out there who think that being arrested means you’re guilty. (They also tend to think that police officers never lie about anything. There are people in Los Angeles who think that, even after Rampart and Rodney King.)

    We have an awful lot of people in this country who failed civics.

  3. MadDog says:

    Crikey, this jerk wants to convict their attorneys too. I draw the line very definitively there, as you might would guess.

    I had assumed defendants was all-encompassing, but your additional specificity is helpful.

    Final nail, meet coffin. *g*

  4. JohnLopresti says:

    Last I checked the scandal over the attempt to reduce the county news sources to a monopoly of one by bankrupting the NewTimes, there was this linked article describing excuses for partial divulgation by some personnel involved in archiving records and watchdogging due process. The Todd and Sarah episodes in the news last night over the scandal firing someone reminded me of Maricopa politics. However, I wonder if, with its new voter lists AZ is ready to explain its share of the statistics in an article in NYTimes today showing 43,000 AZ voter registrations* evidently referenced against the federal database redundantly when local AZ databases should have provided name matches without accessing the Social Security Administration roster. I expect Maricopa has its share of these voter list references, as it is the population center of AZ. In NW AZ county of Coconino, there is an interesting suit prosecuted by RSilver’s outfit to attempt to halt a Bush appointee’s illicit awarding of uranium claims inside Grand Canyon in the twilight days of the administration. AZ is a state with strongly held personal and private ideals, definitely a place which needs more Democratic party officials to balance the usual fare.
    —-
    *v.sidebar link ‘States use of Social Security database’

    • bmaz says:

      Yep, know the suit well. Robin is a friend, and the Biodiversity Center does a lot of truly incredible work. There have been a ton of new registrations here, tilting big to the Dem side. The Sec. of State is a raging wingnut named Jan Brewer; there will be a very strong push by the GOP here to attack voters.

  5. Evolute says:

    WO

    And I thought my home state (Texas) had a lock on reprehensible politicians.

    bmaz:

    Oh no, we have more than our share here.

    An interesting tally is called for…

    (my dad’s bigger than your dad file) Just off the top — we coastal elitist brought you Duke Cunningham, John Doolittle, Jerry Lewis, Darrell Issa, Duncan Hunter, Dana Rohrabacher, David Drier, Dan Lungren, Richard Pombo. And two guys named Nixon and Reagan. That’s a first thought, who’s missing? And this state is solid blue?

    I feel for you guys. As big as the currant tsunami is our work is still an uphill grind just to get to level ground.

  6. bmaz says:

    John McCain, John Kyl, Rick Renzi, Fife Symington, Ev Mecham, Trent Franks, JD Hayworth, Kleindeinst, Rehnquist, Arpaio and Thomas

      • Evolute says:

        I’m laughing and it’s not the least bit funny. F**k!!!

        ..and they feign rage and are all scared n sh*t. “If I can’t even cheat to win, fuck you.” What a bunch of spoiled, thin-skinned, one-way, mealy-mouthed bastards — I’m going take my ball (and my guns) and play it my way.

        But on this count I concede, I have to zip more than my mouth when I drive through Texas.

    • bmaz says:

      Yeah, that is indeed a “winning” hand you have there. I am not sure that even Reagan and Nixon stack up even close to that.

  7. Ishmael says:

    I have to say, I can never understand electing judges and law enforcement types like sheriffs – the realities of electoral politics, in Arizona or elsewhere, is that a sheriff is going to get more good press from putting 1 despised criminal or pornographer in jail on dubious evidence than he is for investigating and solving 10 crimes. There is simply no place for demagoguery in law enforcement. And the Republicans have figured out that the best way to neutralize the trial lawyers is to get their Federalist friends on the bench, through appointment federally and by large campaign contributions for elected judges.

    • bmaz says:

      Yeah it really is pernicious. When I first got out of law school, the Federalists were just cranking up. I had an unwanted encounter with them early on, somewhere back in very late 80s or early 90s. They were on me like flies on poo because I was attempting what amounted to a straight on jury nullification argument in a case the press was up on, and somebody, I still don’t know who, told them what I was up to. That was one of their early pet causes was nullification under some freaking “natural law” or some horseshit like that. Well, since jury nullification is not allowed per se by the law, it caused a big blowup with the trial judge when they showed up (all the way from Chicago I think) out of the blue to “support me”. I was screaming “hey I don’t know whose these assholes are judge, I got nothing to do with them, and I am only arguing not guilty, not nullification”. Last part of that not totally true. Fuckers then had the gall to show up at my office after court that day to try to explain and convert me. Literally screamed at them to get the fuck out or I would call the police.

      Now look where they are. Insane.

      • Ishmael says:

        I’m glad that you didn’t go over to the dark side of the Force! /s I had a similar experience doing a very nasty divorce that got some publicity and I was acting for Dad and Mom wanted to move with the kids across the country, when a branch of the Father’s Rights movement from out of town offered to “support” my client – this particular group was to the right of the Promise Keepers. The last thing I wanted (as did my client) were these vultures, who would totally discredit him in front of the judge, so I told them to fuck off in so many words, but these guys are like that guy who protests soldiers funerals, they showed up in court “in solidarity” with my client because they thrive on publicity.

    • bmaz says:

      On a per capita basis, Alaska may be a clear winner. However the acts of their state legislature are, on the whole, pretty darn refreshing and professional. that level of professionalism would not have maintained here, I can guarantee you.

  8. skdadl says:

    Do you really not allow for nullifications? I sit to be corrected by Ishmael (always), but I believe that the Morgentaler decisions here were nullifications.

    • Ishmael says:

      You are right, it is allowed in Canada, in very rare cases and the Supreme Court in Morgentaler in 1988 said that, in very rare cases, jury nullification remains “the citizen’s ultimate protection against
      oppressive laws and the oppressive enforcement of the law”. I think the same principle applies in the US, but you can’t just argue it for the hell of it.

      A couple of years ago, the Supreme Court allowed a form of jury nullification for a medical marijuana case, from Alberta of course, which is death on drug cases. He grew marijuana for his own use, was charged, and asked for a jury trial. This particular guy was the Morgentaler of medical marijuana, an activist on the issue. The judge directed the jury that they had to come back with a guilty verdict. The jury came back with a not guilty verdict despite the judge telling them they had no choice but to convict and had to follow his direction. The Supreme Court said that the jury gets verdicts, not judges, and set aside the conviction.

      • bmaz says:

        Well, no, you can’t. The judge instructs that if they find the elements of the crime charged are established beyond a reasonable doubt, they must convict. Officially, nullification is strictly verbotten. You have to do it in the context and pretense of a “not guilty” argument. And yes, when you get down to brass tacks, there is a difference. And in that case, I was a little on the shaky side of that line, and them showing up at the court and trying to submit “amici materials” to support me (solidarity as you called it) truly about screwed us. Actually it did screw us, the judge admonished me that he would be paying very particular attention and would be very strict on final instructions before deliberation. It ended up okay, we got a not guilty on the facts, but it could have been very bad.

  9. kspena says:

    OT-just a thought. I wonder if the repugs are raising the ruckus about ACORN, and maybe even creating the questionable voter registrations, as a feint to capture the attention of the press so that the press won’t notice or investigate the caging the repugs are engaged in???? Such a tactic would follow their pattern of attacking in the ‘other’ that which they are themselves doing…

  10. freepatriot says:

    princess pandora appeared before a crowd that wasn’t hand selected by the repuglitards

    and she got BOOOOOOOOOOED resoundingly

    You just GOTTA LOVE PHILLY

    guess the repuglitards didn’t know they once booed santa at an iggils game, AND THEY’RE PROUD OF IT (I mentioned it once on DKOS, and a guy from Philly said “Yeah we booed him, we booed him GOOD)

    I’m a big fan of Philly’s police department too, they really know how to serve an eviction notice

    (wink)

  11. pdaly says:

    This is slightly on topic, because it deals with republicans.
    Has anyone seen this Wired article yet?

    It details Operation Highlander, NSA’s wiretapping of Americans abroad.

    The dates are after 9/11/2001. Americans (especially reporters) in the Middle East and Americans in Doctors Without Borders were targeted.

    Here’s an excerpt:

    [Former 31 year-old Navy Reserve Arabic linguist Adrienne} Kinne [who intercepted American civilians’ satellite phone calls and faxes] said everything changed shortly after her unit intercepted a call in early to mid-2002 between British and U.S. aid workers. The two were discussing day-to-day work details when the British worker told the American, “You should be careful about what you’re saying because the Americans are listening to us.” The American responded that USSID 18 barred U.S. authorities from spying on the communication of Americans, so the British worker had nothing to worry about.

    Kinne said her supervisor, Chief Warrant Officer John Berry, and others were livid.
    “[They] acted as if he was betraying some hugely intense national secret to a foreigner,” she said. “So that’s when they were like, ‘We need to be able to listen to them’.”

    Shortly thereafter, she said she was informed that her group had received a waiver from USSID 18. She said it was communicated verbally during one of her shifts.”They never showed us anything in writing,” said Kinne. “But we never expected to get anything in writing.”

  12. pdaly says:

    Here’s an additional excerpt:

    Once they identified speakers, they typed the person’s name or organization into the system, so that when a conversation involving that number was intercepted again, the name appeared on their computer screen. Although the system allowed them to block phone numbers identified as belonging to a nongovernmental organization or journalist, they never did so. Instead, she said, they added the numbers of humanitarian aid organizations and journalists to a priority list.

    “They were ‘priority five,’ from what I remember,” she said. “‘Priority one’ was terrorist organizations. ‘Priority five’ is middle of the road. ‘Priority nine’ was just unidentified numbers. Not only were we given the ability to listen to [NGOs and journalists], but it was programmed into our system to listen to them.”

    Not surprising, I guess. But here’s at least an eye witness account. Wonder if AG Ashcroft signed off on this order, pre-pancreatitis (which was in 2004)

  13. yonodeler says:

    Andrew Thomas should list all products, services, and accommodations that he uses and has used and identify the companies that offer them, not omitting the area of search (web and site; what’s that big search company whose name starts with G?); he should then research whether each company profits in any way from the pornography industry; he should then present his findings.

  14. BooRadley says:

    Thanks bmaz.

    GOP ran the same stunt in Wisconsin to try and stack the state Supreme Court. You’d think these neocons were all working the same Rove play book, lmao:

    Judicial Commission says Gableman ad was deceiving

    […] Gableman’s campaign ad suggested his opponent, then-Justice Louis Butler, got a child molester out of prison, allowing him to commit another sex offense. Butler won an appeal in the case as a public defender, but the offender remained in prison and did not commit the subsequent crime until he served his sentence.

    “By publishing the advertisement in willful violation of (the state’s judicial ethics code), Judge Gableman engaged in judicial misconduct,” the commission wrote in its complaint.[…]

    More background.

    Gableman’s calls from DA office under investigation
    Justice says calls to fund-raisers were not political

    […] In all, 60 calls went from Gableman’s office to Republican campaign offices, McCallum fund-raising staff and McCallum donors in the weeks before Gableman hosted a June 2002 dinner for McCallum, records show. Most of the calls were brief, but some lasted 15 minutes or more.

    McCallum appointed Gableman to be Burnett County circuit judge two months after the event.

    In May, Gableman told the Journal Sentinel he couldn’t recall the nature of the calls but thought he might have been trying to get details about a visit McCallum was making to the area. He insisted the calls were not political and said he tried to reimburse for personal calls. […]

    Gableman and he’s the second neocon justice, they’ve gotten on the court in the last two years. The first one we’re stuck with. The big daily in WI is going after Gableman with a lot more vigor. Maybe we can get rid him off the court?

    • BooRadley says:

      Gableman and he’s the second neocon justice, they’ve gotten on the court in the last two years. The first one we’re stuck with. The big daily in WI is going after Gableman with a lot more vigor. Maybe we can get rid him off the court?

      Gableman is the second neocon justice, they’ve gotten on the state supreme court in the last two years. The first one got a reprimand, but we’re stuck with her. The big daily in WI is going after Gableman with a lot more vigor. Maybe we can get him kicked off the court?

  15. katymine says:

    The GOP and another so called independent PAC have been hitting Dan Saban who is running against Sheriff Joe……..accusing Saban of rape and other acts …… the true is:

    Ad against Saban elicits strong response

    When Saban was in the process of applying to be Buckeye’s Police Chief, he told then-Town Manager Carroll Reynolds that he was suing the county for defamation because of a story that spread in the campaign that claimed Saban had raped his adoptive mother, Ruby Norman, in the early 1970s. Saban told Reynolds that he did not have intercourse with Norman. In a subsequent deposition related to Saban’s defamation lawsuit, Saban said he was the victim of physical and sexual abuse as a child and teenager at the hands of Norman, and that she forced herself on him. Norman contended it was Saban who raped her.

    These are slimy folks and PLEASE help Dan Saban too…… Sheriff Joe has been harassing local donors by using the FEC filings and targeting donors…..