It may seem shocking, but it was almost a month ago that Jodi Arias was convicted of first-degree murder.  On May 23th, however, the jury that reached that unanimous decision could not decide between life and death.  Some jurors wanted to extend mercy and others did not.  When such a monumental decision is placed on the backs of ordinary citizens, it is understandable that they have difficulty living with signing off on the death of another.  Especially when that person, as admitted by the State, has mental issues.

I do not find it shocking, as I’m sure many others don’t either that a lot of people in our society are dense and irresponsible.  They do not care about the sanctity of life except for when it involves an already sympathetic person, the obvious victim.  People jump for the easy answer and don’t make any attempt to comprehend the larger picture.  These people run amok on social media and on television, whether they are a 12-year-old kid or a 45-year-old news anchor, they poison themselves and everyone who listens to them with hate.  They are bullies, plain and simple.  I always wonder what makes those people think they are so different from the “evil” that they are condemning?  It baffles me that they wonder why we have a bullying epidemic.  This all stands in the way of America being what it was meant to be, a beautiful democracy with justice for all.

Maricopa County Attorney Bill Montgomery held a press conference, in which he stated that he would go forward with the trial and attempt to convince a new jury that they should sign off on Jodi Arias’ death.

If they were to make an offer for resolution, I think I have an ethical responsibility to consider that,” he said.

He wants the best of both worlds.  He doesn’t want to be blamed for the over-straining of resources, mostly taxpayer money and he wants the political favor that comes from putting away the “bad guy”.  Not unlike most prosecutors, he is confident that he can seat an “impartial jury” to determine punishment.  Whether he can seat an impartial jury is up for debate.  Right off the bat, studies have shown that death-qualified juries tend to be pro-prosecution.  Arias’ defense attorneys, Kirk Nurmi and Jennifer Willmott who have endured so much in just this one case, didn’t give him the license to shirk his responsibilities, unlike the public and the media.

They told The Arizona Republic in a statement:

If the diagnosis made by the State’s psychologist is correct, the Maricopa County Attorney’s Office is seeking to impose the death penalty upon a mentally ill woman who has no prior criminal history.  Despite Mr. Montgomery’s recent statements to the media, it is not incumbent upon Ms. Arias’ defense counsel to resolve this case. Instead, the choice to end this case sits squarely with Mr. Montgomery and his office.  It is solely for them to determine if continuing to pursue a death sentence upon Ms. Arias, who is already facing a mandatory life sentence, is a good and proper use of taxpayer resources.”

We are witnessing one of the most publicized cases of a person, admittedly mentally ill by the State, yet the State continues to fight tooth and nail to exact their version of justice upon them.  Killing a sick person may bring comfort to the families of victims, but it certainly isn’t just.   Despite Montgomery’s attempt to smokescreen the public, who admittedly probably didn’t notice because they get their information and perception of the world from dubious agenda-oriented people a.k.a. the media, the facts are only the prosecutor and his or her boss are responsible for allocating taxpayer dollars and pursuing or not pursuing a case with or without merit.  Jodi Arias faces a mandatory life sentence; the judge will not give her a chance at parole.

In case you haven’t been lied to enough by HLN and other news outlets, even if the judge gave Arias the chance of parole, it isn’t a chance at all.  It’s just a lie on a piece of paper, I guess to confuse you.  Most states that say you have a chance at parole really mean you have a slim chance at your 4th opportunity for parole.  Arizona really means you don’t have any chance at all.  Arizona discontinued parole for people found guilty of first-degree murder more than a decade ago.  She would never get out either way.  Don’t listen to the squawkers on social media or on shows like Nancy Grace, they can’t even do minor research on the Internet to find out the truth.  Even more of a reason to be afraid that the legal “experts” on TV have or have ever had legal degrees.  Arias will never have the chance to get out.  Yes, she has a chance at commutation by the Board of Executive Clemency if she is given life with the chance of release (not parole), but that chance is so slim for others who have done less who are seeking mercy that it is almost impossible here.  Interestingly, if she had committed a murder after 2012, that little misnomer in her possible sentences wouldn’t even exist.  The Arizona State Legislature has abolished the sentence of life with the chance of parole for premeditated murder.  So, had the murder been committed after 2012, the media wouldn’t be confused and neither would those people angry that Jodi Arias could kill again!  Regardless of how improbable that is for other reasons, it is impossible unless she kills a guard, employee, or inmate, which also is statistically improbable given the nature of her crime.  People act like she is some kind of animal with rabies.  She’s a human being with deep issues who did something horrible.

There is an interesting strategy associated with the head prosecutors passive-aggressive “peace” offer.  He probably wants the usual, “I won’t appeal” promise.  This means that all that Prosecutor Juan Martinez has done and the aggravation-hearing debacle won’t come to light in a respectable appellate court.  Anyone who knows anything about the system knows that appeals that have merit aren’t always given a chance, but the fact that this could happen is usually enough for a prosecutor to want the reassurance that it won’t.  Studies have shown that Maricopa County, Arizona has an average capital case error rate of 71% and half of those people were later found not guilty at retrial.  You should not exactly be filled with confidence.

The bottom line is that the government makes the decision to seek or not seek the death penalty for whatever reason, either respectable or not.  They make it.  In this case, they make it caring more about what the public, who is partially informed, wants then what their expert, Dr. DeMarte thinks of Arias‘ mental state.  She may be competent to be tried and to be executed, but the legal definition of mental issues and the medical and moral definitions are vastly different.  Jodi Arias needs help not death.

People have made a huge deal over Jodi Arias.  “Her trial was 5 years after she killed him, why?”  “Why is she allowed to say those things?”  “Can’t someone shut her up?”  “Why can’t the judge give her the death penalty?”  “Why does it take so long?”  “Can’t we just skip the defense presentation, we don’t believe them anyway?”  “Juan Martinez for President.”  You even have “reporters” like Vinnie Politan coming up with “Juanisms” because he thinks it’s cute.  It’s just sad.  These questions and the light-hearted approach to a capital case, show the lack of true understanding of the justice system and the prevalence of the false system the media has created for money.  Those questions are unAmerican, there is just no ifs ands or buts about it.  It is so bad out there, that because people are angry about this one case they have attacked the entire, barely hanging on, capital system.  “Why does it take so long to kill these people?”  “We should kill them faster”; ignore the flaws of the system.  “Just die already.”  Florida is taking it to a whole new level attempting to get the Timely Justice Act (more appropriately called the Quick Injustice Act) passed into law.

Well, be careful what you ask for.  You are asking for a system with no rights, one that gives up on the innocent, one that is guilty until proven innocent, a heavy police state, a system where if it’s entertaining to make someone look guilty you’re okay with that, and a system that executes the innocent because it is convenient politically.  You should rethink this.  Really think about it.  Rights are lost quickly and gained slowly.  Lots of people have lost their lives for us to have what we have and you just want to throw it away because of your perception of one case?  I think people have lost perspective in our cushy rights-filled lives.  We need to re-prioritize and realize that rights must be fought for not just on the battlefield, but in the halls of Congress, courtrooms, schools, prisons, everywhere.

I wouldn’t be surprised if the State of Arizona continued on with the death penalty.  The prosecution is going to have to weigh, their obligation to justice and their need to have a job.  They are going to have to weigh:  what the family wants, what the public wants, what is ethically necessary, and what is ethically right.  Weighing the annals of law versus the loudness of the mob doesn’t always come out right.  While the media remains transfixed on Jodi Arias, they once again have missed a huge Sheriff Arpaio corruption case and this one intertwines with Juan Martinez’s boss, the man of the hour, Bill Montgomery.

All of this started back in 2005 with County Attorney Andrew Thomas who was eventually disbarred for covering up Arpaio’s unconstitutional tactics.  The tactics haven’t changed, but the county attorney has, well at least in name.  In 2010, Thomas resigned and then was disbarred for using his office to destroy political enemies, file malicious and unfounded criminal charges, and committing perjury, among other things.  His top deputy, Lisa Aubuchon, was also disbarred.

This is the story of the public trust dishonored, desecrated and defiled,” the ethics panel said.

As chief prosecutor Thomas joined forces with Sheriff Arpaio to aggressively pursue, detain, and prosecute undocumented immigrants.  A series of failed public corruption prosecutions, also closely plotted with Arpaio, proved Thomas’s downfall. After the cases collapsed, a far-reaching independent investigation authorized by the Arizona Supreme Court revealed stunning unethical exploits.  Thomas suffered from “profound arrogance” that led him into “ethical ruin,” said the panel.  Thomas, aided by Aubuchon, “outrageously exploited power, flagrantly fostered fear, and disgracefully misused the law,” the panel said.  The panel found “clear and convincing evidence” that Thomas and his deputy brought unfounded and malicious criminal and civil charges against political opponents, including four state judges and the state attorney general.  The charges were ultimately rejected by state grand juries or thrown out of court as meritless, but not before reeking havoc on the lives of those targeted.

Anybody who disagreed with them, they indicted,” Bennett Gershman, an expert on prosecutorial misconduct was quoted as saying.

Despite the findings, Thomas said, “I brought corruption cases in good faith involving powerful people, and the political and legal establishment blatantly covered up and retaliated by targeting my law license.”  Rick Romley, who served as a Maricopa County attorney for 16 years said that Thomas was not persecuted.  Romley had led several corruption probes during his time.  “It’s absolutely clear that this wasn’t a search for justice,” he said of Thomas’s contested prosecutions. “This is an issue of vindictiveness and a clear abuse of power.”  Arpaio did not defend his fallen friend, “Today’s decision no doubt is a disappointment to Andrew Thomas, his family and his colleagues.  He was a hard-working professional who served the people of this county for many years.”  Now, Montgomery, who sailed to victory in 2012 with $500,000 from Arpaio contributions, has stepped in to fill the shoes of Thomas.  He seems to be picking up where Thomas left off.  Out with one prosecutor in with another.  I have already posted about Sheriff Arpaio’s greed for the camera and his disrespect of human rights and Constitutional rights as documented in several court cases (especially to the accused who have not gotten their day in court yet) and people are aware of the immigration debacle occurring in Arizona for quite some time now, but are you aware of Melendres v. Arpaio?  It isn’t quite the talk of the town like Arizona v. Arias, though in certain ways it is much more important.

Federal Judge G. Murray Snow recently ordered that the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office has (once again) engaged in unconstitutional behavior.  They have been engaging in biased policing (also called profiling) against Latinos.  He ordered that the Sheriff’s Office, specifically Arpaio and his goons, stop.  He set a hearing, ironically, for Arpaio’s 81st birthday, June 14th.  Happy Birthday Sheriff Arpaio, now start treating people appropriately.

Arpaio’s attorney, Tim Casey, whose firm has already billed the Arizona taxpayer’s $1 million on this case, has promised he will appeal, which is sure to make him more money and it shouldn’t go unnoticed that he has a slim chance of winning (the Sheriff’s Office has already begun implementing the decision).  The Sheriff’s taxpayer-funded illegal immigrant hotline, where citizens could call in if they saw an illegal immigrant, has been unplugged and the advertisements, also paid for by citizens, have started to be removed from state vehicles, all paid for by citizens.  The patrols for illegals have been suspended.  There will be no more raids on businesses, for now.  Out of character, Arpaio has been civilized; I guess that’s because he can concentrate on the flattery bestowed upon him for being “tough” on Arias, which I guess includes not feeding anyone who is imprisoned lunch.  I call that cruel not “tough on crime”.  In addition, the loser, that’s Arpaio or more accurately the taxpayer, must pay the plaintiff’s legal fees, which are also about $1 million.  And as the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office navigates the legal system of appeals, they could rack up an additional $1 million.  And people are complaining about Jodi Arias’ $1.7 million capital case?  First of all, that is pretty cheap for a capital case, it is about a person’s life after all.  It is kind of important to get it right.  Versus this $3 million crusade to allow Sheriff Arpaio to continue profiling.  I’m pretty sure that taxpayer money, not the money spent on the Arias case, would be better spent in other resources.

Prosecutor Montgomery continues to prosecute the undocumented workers that Arpaio has arrested with trumped-up charges that will coerce them into pleading guilty and see them returned, on taxpayer dollar, to their home country.  There are a couple of problems though.  In 2011, the U.S. Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division told Montgomery that he was on notice.  They stated that the cases were tainted by the “pattern and practice of unconstitutional policing” occurring in Arizona.  The 22-page letter written by Assistant Attorney General Thomas Perez concluded by saying that the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office’s Criminal Employment Squad “targets work sites where most, if not all, of the employees are Latino.”  CES detectives “typically detain and investigation the immigration status of all employees at a raided work site whether or not the employees are listed in the warrant authorizing the raid.”  So, the Sheriff’s Office investigates people who they have no probable cause for thinking they are illegal immigrants except for the color of their skin.  Of course, Montgomery denounced the DOJ letter and claimed that there was no evidence to back up the allegations though the department offered examples and provided an outline to alert him of the “violations committed” by the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office.  He just completely rebuked the friendly letter from one government agency (DOJ) to another (him) about another (MCSO) government agency’s misconduct, in order to protect said third government agency.  He’s just lucky he has most of the media on his side because had they actually looked into what he was and is doing they might find some eyebrow raisers.

Montgomery continues to enforce the state forgery and identity theft statutes and ignore the violations made by the sheriff’s office.  In fact, he isn’t just ignoring it, he actually challenged the Justice Dept. to produce evidence.  And they did, they sued Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office and Maricopa County in federal court on civil rights infringement.  This legal case is still pending.  Now, Montgomery has even more evidence, in the form of the ruling made by Judge Snow, 142-pages of it.  His findings were largely based upon evidence, statistics, and testimony provided by the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office.  The problem here isn’t that we have immigration issues; this has gone far beyond an immigration debate.  It has encroached upon human, civil, and constitutional rights violations.  But, it has also caused innocent people to suffer from overreaching prosecutors, who have tunnel vision.

What did Montgomery have to say now that evidence has been presented, well, he still claims innocence for his friend, Arpaio:

“We have been looking very carefully at submittals involving human smuggling and employment-related fraud cases to ensure that they pass constitutional muster.  For all those cases we have been handling, not a single one has been dismissed by a court because there was no probable cause for the arrest.”

And that was it, but you couldn’t get him to stop talking about Arias.  While no court has dismissed the cases for lack of probable cause, we all know that you can have probable cause and still be wrong.  Juries have certainly showed him.

Rafael Lavallade Gonzalez isn’t in the media spotlight like Jodi Arias, but he has a story to tell.  He is a 70-year-old diabetic who was arrested in an Apraio raid at a GNC warehouse.  The prosecution, somehow,  barred the defense from seeing the evidence before trial.  A move that made it pretty obvious prosecution was hiding something.  It was 5 months before his attorneys were able to review the evidence and they noticed that the document that Gonzelaz supposedly forged had been Wite-Outed and someone else wrote in a false SSN.  In other words, it appeared to be a possible frame job.  Needless to say, it became obvious to the jury that the prosecution hadn’t proven their case.  He was acquitted.

In the same raid at GNC, Luz Ruiz Rascon, a young mother of 2 whose son has leukemia has been locked up for six months and not allowed bail because her charges are felonies.  Her crime is literally victimless, if she is guilty.  The SSN that she used to gain employment 11 years ago is owned by no one.  She could have been charged with a misdemeanor, but Montgomery said no.  She is a felon.  She must now navigate as all accused people do the plea bargaining system.  If I’m guilty do I plead guilty for a reduced sentence, if I’m guilty do I take my chances at trial, if I’m innocent do I take my chances at trial, or if I’m innocent do I pretend to be guilty?  I guess you could say she has the choice of either plead guilty and never see her children again or spend more time in Arpaio’s inhumane jails.  Even though Rascon is in the Estrella Jail with Jodi Arias, you won’t find her on TV.  It isn’t sensational enough.

It’s taking so long,” Rascon laments during a jailhouse interview. “Every day, there are so many indignities; they pile up against you.

Even though she imagined an SSN in order to pack vitamins for the rest of her life, she is charged with six counts of forgery and identity theft.  Normally, identity theft and forgery aren’t un-bailable crimes, but under Arizona’s Prop. 100 passed by voters in 2006 as part of a package of anti-immigration laws, she can be refused bail just like a suspected murderer or child molester if “proof is evident or the presumption is great”.  In other words, you are guilty until proven innocent to the court just like most serious felonies.  Just to put things in perspective, Scott Bundgaard, a Senator, who assaulted his girlfriend in the median of a highway was given bail and never spent a day in jail.  Apparently, when you commit domestic violence, you are less dangerous than a Mexican-national who invented an SSN.   But wait, Montgomery’s defense is that the victim will come in the future, “That Social Security number still can be issued.”  You often hear references to Big Brother, but this is the Minority Report.  Much like Juan Martinez’s argument that just because you don’t have a criminal record doesn’t mean we shouldn’t create crimes that you’ve never been charged with or had the chance to defend yourself from and hold them against you in an attempt to give you the death penalty.  Must be something in the water at the office.

Arpaio doesn’t want anyone to be afraid of him though, as he stated at a meeting with Hispanic leaders.  Why would you be afraid of him?  He rips apart families, tortures and murders inmates in horrible conditions, goes on witch-hunts against political rivals, and levies criminal charges against innocent people.  All while the media plays buddy-buddy with him.  Some protestors had the right idea.  They marched on Pheonix City Hall not too long ago while everyone was transfixed on Jodi Arias holding signs to remind everyone that Arpaio’s immigration sweeps have trapped hundreds of Hispanics in legal purgatory.  That Arpaio has ignored about 400 sex crimes against Hispanic children regardless of citizenship.  Not to mention the fact that Arpaio could care less what he does wrong.  But you won’t hear the media picking apart his videos to find out what their arm-chair fake-psychologist Dr. Drew thinks about his remorse or lack-thereof.

It seems as though Montgomery is prepared to help Arpaio get the police state he’s always wanted.    They want more border walls, they want hospitals to refuse care to those suspected of being illegals, schools to stop teaching anything Hispanic-related, and to deny drivers’ licenses to DREAMers.  This system was designed as a “deterrent” for illegal immigration by now-disbarred County Attorney Andrew Thomas and now-recalled state Senate President Russell Pearce, but Montgomery seems content to keep it going.  On top of all of this is the Supremacy Clause of the Constitution of the United States, which does not allow states to run immigration.  It is a federal issue.  The media has largely turned a blind eye to government misconduct, even though that was the original reason why the 1st Amendment clause of freedom of press was created, opting instead to maximize profit, which does not include investigating anything.   So far, state and federal courts have also turned a blind eye to this ongoing injustice.

Take for instance another man, Miguel Angel Morales, he waited 6 months for trial and his attorney discovered that the concerned citizen who turned him into the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office had alleged that others at the workplace, not him, had been recruiting undocumented workers.  Maricopa County Sheriff’s employees raided the construction company and arrested Morales.  Deputies admitted under oath that they’d never investigated that possibility (even though it was explicitly said in the tip!).  The jury saw reasonable doubt and acquitted Morales.  But, it isn’t just the MCSO who has this culture; the Arizona Department of Public Safety has this going on as well.  An officer of theirs arrested Sol Zenir and held her for six months while investigating her for forgery and ID theft following a routine traffic stop.  On the day of the 24-year-old’s trial, the prosecutors under Montgomery’s employ, revealed that the SSN that Zenir had forged was actually her own that she had legally obtained as a child.  Yes, she forged her own identification!  She pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor and was set free.

In the case of Octavio Castaneda-Flores, a Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals eligible man, who has been held so far for eight months, the judge, ruled that evidence improperly obtained by Arizona’s Department of Economic Security (yet a separate government entity) would be suppressed as a violation of law.  The prosecution has moved for dismissal, left with no evidence good enough for trial beyond the evidence they unlawfully attained.  Don’t forget that if the government of Arizona had deported Castaneda-Flores, they would have left 4 American children without a father.

The county attorney and the sheriff are shirking their responsibilities as men of the law, as public servants, and as officers held to a higher standard to protect and serve their citizens and instead choose to have fun with the media, basking in the glory of the Arias case.  Of course, you would never hear of any of this on “news” channels where prosecutors and police can do no wrong.  Bill Montgomery in usual prosecutorial form had this to say about the people like Rascon,

“Look, you can go through the jail and come up with a hard-luck story for everybody in there who’s being prosecuted.”

He has a job to do, but is it the job he should be doing?  A little more compassion in the world could go a long way.  We can look forward to the sentencing of Jodi Arias and to the next case, but we should never forget what is in the past.  If you don’t learn from history, you are doomed to repeat it.

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Comments
  1. Lon Spector says:

    Why should it surprise anyone when the “wronged” demand their pound of flesh?
    The “righteous ones” always want to balance the ledger. One lost life is never enough for them.
    I knew a man once named Macavoy. His son was standing on a street corner chatting with
    friends. All of a sudden, another boy strode up to his son Hugh, pulled out a pistol, leveled it
    at his forehead and asked, “Who you laughing at man?” He shot him dead on the spot.
    Funny thing, Mr. Macavoy made it clear that he had no bitter feelings. Why? Because in all
    probability he was very advanced spiritually. He knew that nothing could be gained wallowing
    in recrimination and hostility. It is only when we realize that light is light, dark is dark and never
    the two will meet that we have real peace.

    Like

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