Something Wicked This Way Comes: Guadalupe Ends Its Lawsuit Against Joe Arpaio

Has the Town of Guadalupe cut a deal with Sheriff Joe Arpaio? And is another anti-immigrant sweep of the city coming down the pike? Could be, on both counts. According to court records, as of January 5, 2009, the Town of Guadalupe ended its federal law suit against the MCSO, Joe Arpaio and Maricopa County, a lawsuit wherein the town alleged Arpaio had violated the First Amendment rights of former Mayor Rebecca Jimenez after she confronted Arpaio during his April 2008 raid of her town.

Arpaio cited Jimenez's opposition to his anti-immigrant dragnet as his sole reason for wanting to pull out of the MCSO's contract with the burg, leaving it with zero police protection as of this coming March. After the county Board of Supervisors rubber-stamped Arpaio's decree, the town filed the lawsuit in federal court with the help of the powerhouse law firm Snell & Wilmer. What the town gained from this unusual lawsuit is debatable. Snell & Wilmer, however, made off with more than $54,000 in legal fees. (Snell & Wilmer legal beagle Ron Messerly declined to comment, saying the matter was "sensitive," and referring me to the federal court record, which clearly states the case has been dismissed.)

What's the significance of Guadalupe dropping the lawsuit? Well, according to a ton of town e-mails recently obtained by yours truly, Arpaio was refusing to meet with the new, pro-Arpaio Mayor Frankie Montiel until the suit was axed. Montiel'd been Frenching Arpaio's fanny since Montiel replaced Rebecca Jimenez as mayor in September, even going so far as to call Arpaio's April raid on his town "a good day for law enforcement." (See the September 24 Bird item, "Guadalupe Meltdown.") Now that the lawsuit has been square-filed, it's fair to assume that Montiel either has or soon will meet with Arpaio, and cut a deal with the crotchety old badge-wearer.
Might this mean another MCSO sweep of Guadalupe in the works? Those e-mails acquired by New Times indicate that -- shockingly -- Mayor Montiel seems to have requested a saturation patrol of his town in November because of men "loitering" within town limits. As will be detailed in this week's Bird column, Town Manager Rosemary Arellano sent an e-mail to all town council members on November 18 explaining how Montiel had asked her to call MCSO contact Detective Loren Gaytan and request a "saturation patrol," codewords for a sweep.

You can read more about it in the Bird, which should be online tonight. But Arellano's e-mail plainly states Montiel told her that "because of the increase of day laborers," Montiel found it "necessary to schedule a saturation." Arellano wisely forwarded Montiel's request to the town's attorney, who advised her not to do it till the entire town council was notified and given a chance to respond.

Asked about this, Montiel denied he'd asked for a saturation patrol, only that he asked for it to be looked into "because of a spike in crime." Interesting language, because Arpaio used a fictitious spike in crime in Guadalupe to rationalize a massive, two-day dragnet intent on nabbing as many undocumented migrants as possible.

Now that a handshake between Montiel and Arpaio is imminent, can another MCSO sweep of the community be far away? I suspect that the price of a new law enforcement contract with Arpaio, one that will keep the MCSO in Guadalupe past March, will be not only the dropping of that federal lawsuit, but a blank check to Arpaio, allowing the MCSO to pull a sweep any time they feel like it. Something wicked this way comes? You betcha. And it'll likely be wearing a brown shirt.


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