Joe Arpaio, Bill Montgomery and Montgomery's First Day as County Attorney

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Bill Montgomery (right) being sworn in by Superior Court Judge Norm Davis

As Bill Montgomery was sworn in yesterday as Maricopa County Attorney, Sheriff Joe Arpaio sat glowering, Nixon-like, from the front row of the Board of Supervisors auditorium.

After the ceremony, I asked Arpaio of he was checking on his investment. You know, his half-million dollars in TV ads and mailers bashing his longtime foe, interim County Attorney Rick Romley, Montgomery's rival in the Republican primary for the C.A. spot.

Those TV ads were deemed legal. However, the mailers were not, and Arpaio garnered a 154K fine. If you include the fine, the total cost to Arpaio was close to $700K, maybe more.

As he always does, Arpaio played off the question, inviting me to do lunch sometime in the not-so distant future.

I told the sheriff I'd be happy to split a check with him. Right after MCSO Chief Deputy David Hendershott and Captain Joel Fox -- both on paid administrative leave pending Pinal County Sheriff Paul Babeu's "investigation" of allegations of wrongdoing -- are indicted by the state AG's office or the feds.

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Arpaio with PLEA lobbyist Levi Bolton

Arpaio frowned and rolled his eyes comically. Nearby, interim Chief Deputy Jerry Sheridan pulled a poker face.

Hey, if they do get indicted, I may even pick up the check. As long as the sheriff's taste buds can handle Baja Fresh.

Earlier, during his speech following the swearing-in, Montgomery pledged to work with the sheriff, as well as the Board of Supervisors. And he signaled (surprise, surprise) that illegal immigration is high on his agenda.

"You told me you wanted a county attorney who would enforce all of our laws in a full and fair manner," said Montgomery. "Including our laws that [address] the impact of illegal immigration, mindful of our Constitution, and respectful of the civil rights of all."

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Arpaio scowls (or naps, it's hard to tell) from the front row

Granted, that's hardly extremist nativist rhetoric. But Montgomery has already promised to begin enforcing the "self-smuggling" interpretation of the state's coyote law, as well as cooperate with Arpaio's brown roundups, whether in the form of sweeps or raids on businesses.

Indeed, a number of nativists were in attendance, including affiliates of the nearly-defunct hate group United for a Sovereign America, and state Senate President-elect Russell Pearce's creepy cohort, state Rep. Carl Seel.

Phoenix Law Enforcement Association lobbyist Levi Bolton was also in the audience. You may recall that in a recent Bird column, I wondered if PLEA would attempt to use its influence with Montgomery to put the kibosh on the indictment of Phoenix cop Richard Chrisman in the shooting death of Daniel Rodriguez.

After the ceremony, I asked Montgomery if PLEA's endorsement of him during the campaign and its contribution to his campaign coffers would influence his actions in the Chrisman affair. He insisted that it would not.

"Anyone who supported my campaign because they thought it would result in any undue influence, or undue regard or undue favors, made a gross mistake," he told me.

I also wondered about the six assistant U.S. Attorneys who had been cross-deputized under Romley so they could investigate state crimes involving the sheriff's office. Would Montgomery move to un-deputize them?

He said that at this point, "I don't have an inclination to do that."

Montgomery continued: "My understanding is that the way that's been set up, is that it allows me to say that I have no role with the investigation. That's my concern. I want to make sure that anything that's happening involving fellow county officials is done so that there's no perception that I would have any influence one way or the other."

Finally, concerning Romley's recent announcement that PLEA (the Phoenix police union) and other Phoenix cops were under investigation both by the C.A.'s office and the PPD (an investigation the FBI's watching), will he continue that investigation?

"That investigation that was opened needs to be carried through," Montgomery explained. "So that it's done in a full and fair way. So that at the end of that, I can make a decision that's based upon the evidence in front of me, and make an objective determination."

Fair enough. I will never see eye to eye with Montgomery on how his office handles immigration. Nor am I naive as to his friends and supporters, but I'm willing to see if he can walk the walk he's talking on certain issues. After all, he will have to run again in two years time. Which may motivate him not to repeat the mistakes of ex-C.A. Andrew Thomas.

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18 comments
Concerned Citizen
Concerned Citizen

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XSoldier
XSoldier

I think we should give Monty a chance to show us what he can do.

However, my concern is that the Flaccid Fool and his greasy, slimy minions will resort to the KGB-style headgames that destroyed county government.

I wonder when the unmarked MCSO shurf cars with the Sonora license plates will start showing up at Monty's house?

Coz
Coz

Ahhh yes, the more things change the more they stay the same in Maricopa County

Whothehellismontgomery
Whothehellismontgomery

looks like tough joey is sleeping, and whos sitting next to him on the other side? looks like the hair of ANDY dandy the ghost , LOSER

our eyes are on you montgomery...................do I smell a disbar?????

Doyourjob
Doyourjob

Yes, I agree Montgomery if you arent Arpiaos lap dog, (after all a no name come in a win , with only a libitarian to go against you) then you ought to be thinking about prosecuting the criminals. And I dont mean those from south of the border, your 'buds" you 'paybacks" . lots of felonies by mcso, what part of illegal do you understand????

Chad Snow
Chad Snow

Pat Pacer, look up the (ultraconservative) Goldwater Institute's report titled "Mission Unaccomplished" or the East Valley Tribune series from 2008 and then talk to Tommy and I about "laws being enforced". Arpaio spends millions of dollars to dupe suckers like you into believing that he is enforcing the law. Looks like it works.

Gerry_C
Gerry_C

Sorry Stephen, There is no charge for the extra 'm'

Gerry_C
Gerry_C

Mikey1969, It may have a lot to do with Montgomery setting him straight. However, I think Joe's scowl is more likely related to being in the BoS chambers and the recent investigative focus on him personally. It could also have been Metamucil moment. Too bad Mr. Lemmons did not clarify that, but it might have had to wait for lunch on a future day.

Mikey1969
Mikey1969

LOL, that IS pretty funny. You'd think after all the cash Arpaio dumped to get this guy elected, he'd look happier. Maybe had a little sit-down with Joe and set him straight on a few things?

Pat Pacer
Pat Pacer

Tommy that is so cool, y’all are in the minority who complain of the Law being enforced. Gosh I do believe the old governor’s mansion here would look mighty fine with Mr. & Mrs. Arpaio living there. Just think Tommy then he would send back all the illegal aliens he chased here. Ahhh…the irony of it all. God Bless Senator Pearce, Sheriff Arpaio & America.This video was forwarded to me yesterday right before I sent the fax to Obama opposing the Dream Act. Thought I’d share the video and my P S fax comment. Buy the way watch the funny video before assuming anything.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v...

P S – President Obama you are standing with foreign nationals while suing and screwing America! Being so close to Thanksgiving many are thinking of the turkey, the ax and the dark meat which all go so well together. Definitely a one term presidency!

Happy Thanksgiving! :)

Tommy Collins
Tommy Collins

"After the ceremony, I asked Arpaio of he was checking on his investment. You know, his half-million dollars in TV ads and mailers bashing his longtime foe, interim County Attorney Rick Romley, Montgomery's rival in the Republican primary for the C.A. spot."

Mr. Lemons, you are such an incredible smart-ass. I think that's why I so admire your veracity.

Monty is saying most of the right things. Now, let's see if he has the intestinal fortitude to follow through and confront the shurf of Mariham the first time he comes knocking for a favor. I don't expect he has the nuts, actually. I think he is owned by the Flaccid Fool. Too bad for him.

Pat Pacer
Pat Pacer

Dang I love reading Arizona politics, here in the corrupt Luzerne County Pa. seems the FBI is still here since busting our Judges in the cash for kid’s scandal. A state senator who lives here was charged today with bribery, mail and wire fraud and lying to the FBI.

Now this is a good news report coming from ABC 15 – People are tired of illegal immigration. Sheriff Joe is a true national American hero! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v...

pressguy
pressguy

There is nothing whatsoever in Mr. Montgomery's very short career as an attorney that would lead anyone to believe he will be an effective county attorney. He bailed on the military. He sold computers. He ran unsuccssfully for AG. His prosecutorial experience is in auto theft. He is completely unremarkable. Completely.

Chad Snow
Chad Snow

"You told me you wanted a county attorney who would enforce all of our laws in a full and fair manner,"

Hey, Bill, a good place to start would be with Karen Osborn's letter recommending prosecution of the felonies committed by MSCO through the Sheriff's Command Association. What better way to signal to us voters that you're not beholden to your Fuhrer Arpaio?

Tommy Collins
Tommy Collins

No, Pat. I don't complain about any law being enforced and I am NOT an open borders advocate as you may assume. MCSO actually does very little immigration enforcement. Most of those being held for immigration violations in Arizona were arrested by all the other city, county, and state agencies here in Maricopa County and are being held in the MCSO jails. The enforcement arm of MCSO is actually quite small and, for the most part, ineffective. MCSO is hurting from lack of management with regard to human resources. But, to your credit Pat, you don't live here and all you know is what you see and read that is generated by the MCSO media machine, designed to garner supports and votes for a mentally ill old man and a few of his miscreants with badges.

Again, we would very willingly sent the Flaccid Fool to you folks in Pennsylvania, if that's what you think you want. Again, absolutely no return allowed.

At that point we might get a professional law enforcement sheriff who is non--partisan and goes to work and actually worries about doing HIS/HER job, and not worrying about selling his books, which he apparently has not read.

Steve
Steve

I'm glad you're in PA and not here...

Tommy Collins
Tommy Collins

Only in your imagination, Pat. But that's ok. Everyone needs a hero. We will gladly your your folks in PA have him. One way ticket, absolutely NO RETURN.

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