Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Another $975,000 Award against abusive Sheriff Joe Arpaio

Mary Rose Wilcox (formerly Mary Rose Garrido) is a close friend with whom I went to junior high and high school with in Superior, Arizona. I am so proud of her courageous stand against Sheriff Joe.

From the Arizona Republic:

Former Maricopa County Supervisor Mary Rose Wilcox will be awarded a settlement of $975,000 from a lawsuit she brought against county officials, including Sheriff Joe Arpaio, tied to the sheriff's failed corruption investigations.

The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals released the decision Monday.

Wilcox's payout will add to the millions of taxpayer dollars already spent on the county's politically charged investigations and legal disputes with elected officials. Such infighting amounted to a $44.4 million tab from fiscal year 2008 through January 2014, according to an Arizona Republic investigation.

The county appealed the lower court's initial decision to award Wilcox the near-$1 million, and the amount was not included in the January 2014 bill.

Seated before backdrop a community supporters and children at Grant Park, Wilcox declared the decision a victory for all of those had been "abused" by Arpaio and disgraced former county prosecutor, Andrew Thomas.

Wilcox said the legal warfare cost she and her husband their home, their retirement savings and hundreds of thousands of dollars to banks and attorneys.

"We could have rolled over and given up," she said. "But that is not how I was raised. I was raised to do the right thing and to stand up for what's right."

Wilcox faced criminal charges as a result of an investigative team orchestrated by Arpaio and Thomas, ostensibly created to snuff out political corruption. A federal racketeering lawsuit was additionally filed against Wilcox, the other supervisors, judges and various county officials, which alleged misconduct in the construction of the South Tower of the Maricopa County Courthouse.

A Superior Court judge later deemed the attacks to be politically motivated, and the criminal charges lawsuit were ultimately dismissed.

Thomas, who had resigned as county attorney in 2010, was disbarred two years later for unethical behavior. The abuse of power allegations triggered a U.S. Department of Justice investigation on Thomas and Arpaio, but no charges were ever filed.

According to a statement released Monday, Wilcox's team in March testified in front of the Court of Appeals that Wilcox "received intense and unlawful harassment by the Sheriff's office," and said county advisors predict that 100 or more people may pursue similar claims.

Wilcox said Monday she was targeted because of her outspoken criticism against Sheriff's Office's anti-immigration techniques. She recently left the Board of Supervisors to run for the Congress following the recent retirement of Rep. Ed Pastor, D-Ariz.

Thomas, who is currently running for governor, issued a vitriolic media statement in response to the payout, slamming Wilcox's congressional bid and alleging political favoritism on the part of the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals. Read more...



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