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August 2, 2012

Host: Ted Simons

MCSO Racial Profiling Trial

  |   Video
  • Testimony ended today at the federal trial accusing the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office of racial profiling. Arizona Republic reporter JJ Hensley and Scott Halverson, a defense and civil rights attorney, offer their observations of the trial and lawsuit, which they have been following closely.
  • JJ Hensley - Reporter, Arizona Republic
  • Scott Halverson - Attorney of Defense and Civil Rights
Category: Law   |   Keywords: lawsuit, racial, profiling, trial, ,

View Transcript
Ted Simons: Testimony ended today in the civil rights trial against the Maricopa County sheriff's office. It involved a class action lawsuit accusing them of racial profiling. Here with analysis are JJ Hensley, covering the trial for the Arizona Republic, and Scott Halverson, a personal injury attorney who has sued the sheriff's office in the past. Thanks for joining us. J.J., any surprises so far?

JJ Hensley: No. Both sides have been involved in this case for years now. They both filed motions for summary judgment which pretty much laid out what their arguments were that we heard in court over the last seven days. I think most of the surprises actually came from the questions the judge asked from the bench of the deputies and other folks involved.

Ted Simons: I want to get to that, especially the instructions early on, an impact they might have had. Again, over all, any surprises?

Scott Halverson: No. As much as we have anticipated this trial I think it's probably anticlimactic for the judge. He has poured over documents going on four years now. There's a lot to consider. The testimony was probably fairly well scripted from past proceedings.

Ted Simons: You mentioned the judge's comments and instructions. Early in the trial did the idea of the instructions being I want something that's current as opposed to the past, something along those lines, what was all that about? How has that impacted testimony?

Scott Halverson: I think that the judge did not want the plaintiffs to focus on the incidents particular individuals named as plaintiffs and others in the class that had instances to bring forth where they alleged racial profiling. The judge wanted to be concerned with the policies and practices, patterns and supervision, things like that. Then decide whether as a practical matter he would need to be involved and monitor this in the future.

Ted Simons: Does it seem he's getting what he asked for?

JJ Hensley: From the sheriff's office? We'll see. You know. I think that he really drilled down with all of the deputies up there. Because there was a bench trial, there was for jury, he's free to ask questions of any of them and would frequently stop the question and answer in the middle and say, I just have a couple of things I want to clear up here. What kind of training do you have? What was your experience level? From one of the most telling questions yesterday came when he started asking a deputy if he asked everyone who he stopped, all passengers in all vehicles, for their identification or only Hispanic passengers. Then does he call those 287 G-trained deputies any time he encounters someone who’s a passenger without I.D. or only Hispanic passengers.

Ted Simons: Can you real -- is he giving hints, any indication?

Scott Halverson: Yeah, I think so, any time you have the person that's making the final decision in a case asking the questions, that's the most important part of any trial. That's what you need to focus on.

Ted Simons: What was the impact of Sheriff Arpaio's testimony?

Scott Halverson: The judge is well-familiar with this. This information was already in the pleadings. I think that it was interesting to hear those sound bites in the video, those bombastic statements, then it's easy for the plaintiffs to say, this is the intents. This is really what's going on despite written policies and procedures this is what is going on at the heart of the Maricopa County Sheriff's Office.

Ted Simons: What did you see from Arpaio's testimony as far as impact on the judge.

JJ Hensley: hard to say. Federal court judge playing it close to the vest. I think the thing that was probably most significant about his testimonym this is -- heart of the plaintiff's case. You take these statements from the sheriff's office, couple those with some of the things their sergeants said when on the stand. Some of the emails the sergeants and the human smuggling units, which were plainly racist. Then you try to join those things together and then you have your victims to show the impact of this and then the stats, which are really the thing that carries this case.

Ted Simons: And yet, none of what you mentioned is really a smoking gun, is it?

JJ Hensley: I think there were a lot of people looking for that smoking gun throughout this. It was hard to find that. I don't know that that ever really happened. Probably because both sides were so familiar with what the other had to say. But I think that testimony is one sergeant who was over the human smuggling unit who sent out the emails, who clearly didn't have a solid understanding of federal immigration law and was in charge of this group of people who were out there busting immigrants. That I think was kinda damning.

Ted Simons: Back to Arpaio, again, taking you back to what J.J. is saying, it seemed he suggested he delegates, he wasn't completely in charge and deputies were suggesting he may not completely know what was going on, that lack of control, does that dispute the idea of a systemic discrimination at least from on high?

Scott Halverson: Well, to a certain extent except he's responsible. He sets policy. It's clear from the testimony and the record that he's the one that sets policy. The buck stops there. If he's not doing a good job in terms of supervising and administering his office and setting clear policy that you can turn to and say we don't racially profile. There wasn't that. It was absent. Clear policy prohibiting racial profiling.

Ted Simons: Yet the other side would say it's so difficult to prove systemic discrimination.

Scott Halverson: Oh, yeah. Absolutely is.

Ted Simons: Have you seen -- back to the smoking gun situation, have you seen anything spitting smoke here?

Scott Halverson: It is hard to say, to predict what the judge will say, but I think there's a good case made. You have a team of attorneys on both sides working on this case for four years. They have made very good cases for their respective clients. The bottom line is the judge is going to have to decide do we want to make a statement here, declaratory relief saying that there has been racial profiling in the past, violations of constitutional law, then if so, the next step is do we want to get involved? Federal judges especially are very reluctant in wanting to get involved in monitoring on an ongoing basis into the future any sort of state agency or local government agency to try to prevent future discrimination.

Ted Simons: When does the six-day trial end?

JJ Hensley: It’s done. Wrapped today. When does it ever ends? It's going to go to appeal no matter the verdict. We have closing arguments due on August 9th. Another set due August 16th. He briefly entertained this afternoon it sounded like he was going to entertain bringing them back on the 17th for oral arguments, but his schedule didn't matched up with that. Now he said I'll try to issue a ruling. Tim Casey, Arpaio's attorney, put him on the spot during the hearing today and said, do you know how long it will take? He said, I have no idea.

Ted Simons: Ten seconds. Would it surprise you if the decision went either way?

Scott Halverson: No. I think it's a close call but I think my opinion is I think it probably will go in favor of plaintiffs.

Ted Simons: Interesting. Good stuff. Thank you for joining us.

New Arizona Laws

  |   Video
  • Capitol Media Services reporter Howard Fischer talks about some of the new State laws that take effect today.
  • Howard Fischer - Reporter, Capitol Media Services
Category: Law   |   Keywords: law, fischer, state, ,

View Transcript
Ted Simons: 363 new laws were passed by the legislature in the last session and now that it's been 90 days since the legislature adjourned those new laws are officially on the books. Here to talk about some of them is Howard Fischer of Capitol Media services. Howie, good to see you. 363. Is that more or less than usual after a session?

Howard Fischer: It's a little bit more than some sessions. We started off with like 1800 bills. Get news is most of the stuff died. Thank goodness for that because some of it was really garbage. It's a good filtration process but this is about normal. Most of them, as you say, took effect today. There's a few that are delayed, a few that took effect immediately as emergency clauses.

Ted Simons: Some of those did not take effect because of court action. Before we do that, studying the bible in public schools. That was a biggy when it was debated. What are the parameters? As far as literature, history, culture?

Howard Fischer: The idea is that so much of what we read in profane literature versus secular literature, in broader terms, is a biblical reference. You're older than Methuselah. If you don't know anything about Methuselah it doesn't mean anything. References to the old testament, the new testament are rife. Shakespeare is full of them. The idea was give kids that an option, make it an elective. There was at lot of concern about this. Because, you start studying the bible…Is it a book of stories? Is it literature? Or is it the word of God? They tried to build in some safeguards to make sure nobody will be prosthelytizing on it. Only the old and new testament is allowed to be studied here. If you want something out of the book of Mormon, forget it. If you want to understand the idea Mohammed can't come to the mountain the mountain will come to Mohammed. No.

Ted Simons: As somebody gets stopped occasionally, have a bit of a lead foot, the officer can ask for license, registration, proof of insurance and I find myself fishing around the glovebox. A lot of times you're buying insurance online. This allows I can whip out my trusty note pad and officer, here's my proof of insurance. He looks and says, well, yeah, you've got some insurance, which means I don't need to worry is it current, have I gotten the card in the mail, anything else. They built in an interesting safeguard on this, because a lot of people were concerned, giving your phone to an officer? What else he looking at just because you give it to an officer doesn't mean he can start looking through your personal pictures and whatever else you've downloaded.

Ted Simons: Ok, and you have to make sure it's in the car with you and book marked. 11

Howard Fischer: Oh, yes.

Ted Simons: Hunting with silencers and hunting with guns capable of five plus shells.

Howard Fischer: This got a lot of attention because, well, gun bills always get attention. Actually, the more bizarre ones, I'll call them that, didn't go anywhere. The idea of guns on campus and everywhere else. Proponents of the silencers say look, there's less recoil. They are more accurate. Of course it also means if you're living nearby you don't know somebody has been hunting. Some of the fun debate occurred over this issue that game and fish has a rule: Five shotgun shells, five bullets. That's it. You stop and reload. That load to the question, do you need a magazine with 10 or 20 which led somebody to say if you can't hit that bear in five shots you shouldn't be out there with a gun.

Ted Simons: A couple of laws that were blocked enjoined here. Ban on abortion after 20 weeks. That just happened. Planned Parenthood, the funding ban blocked as well.

Howard Fischer: The bill says if you also provide abortions you're not eligible for other family planning money even if it's federal money. The Planned Parenthood sued. The state in that case agreed to a temporary restraining order said we would like to debate this fully. Said we will agree not to enforce it until at least the middle of October to give the judge a chance to hear. Obviously the one just decided this past week was the state fought the idea of a temporary restraining order, one at the lower court level, the 9th circuit court said, no, we'll hold that off until at least October.

Ted Simons: Good stuff Howie, we’ll leave the other 350 some-odd for another day. Good to see you. Thanks for joining us.

Team ACA Private Donations

  |   Video
  • Team ACA, the nonprofit fundraising arm of the Arizona Commerce Authority, has been criticized for not revealing the amounts of donations from private sources. Team ACA Executive Director Don Cardon addresses those criticisms.
  • Don Cardon - Executive Director, Team ACA
Category: Business/Economy   |   Keywords: ACA, donations, private, nonprofit, fundraising, commerce, ,

View Transcript
Ted Simons: Good evening. Welcome to "Arizona Horizon." I'm Ted Simons. The Arizona commerce authority was created by the governor and lawmakers to replace the state's Department of Commerce. The ACA is designed to be a leaner, more nimble agency charged with expanding Arizona existing businesses and attract new companies to the state. It's set up as a public private partnership. Minimizing the need for tax declares to support economic development activities. Team ACA is a nonprofit fund-raising arm of the authority. As a nonprofit it can raise money from private companies and spend it in ways that a government agency cannot. Team ACA does not disclose the amounts of donation it is collects and the recent article in the Arizona Republic raises concerns about that lack of transparency. Here to talk about this is Don Cardon, the executive director of Team ACA and former director of the Arizona commerce authority. Good to see you again, thanks for joining us.

Ted Simons: Why doesn't Team ACA, this is a nonprofit raising money for ACA expenses. Why not disclose how much?

Don Cardon: First let me say I'm not sure we're not going to. We have really started the nonprofit within the last six to nine months. The board has met twice. They are away for the summer. When questions were raised about who gave and how much I really didn't have -- we hadn't had that on the board agenda and I didn't want to disclose some of the companies. We're fine, but like to know and have some voice in that as a board. The board has not discussed it. Of the two that did come forward and say I called them and both Alliance Bank and Apollo group said that's fine. I think it will be an issue that will be discussed but part of it too is it's not a thing. It's a matter of some things they don't want people to know how much there giving out to this one or that one. Not because there's anything wrong, we're proud to be involved, but there's things that we don't disclose on a national policy basis. Not just about this.

Ted Simons: But if they are proud to be involved, why would they not want to be front and center saying, we're trying to support getting businesses here and keeping businesses that are here intact?

Don Cardon: Like I said I'm not sure they are not going to say that, Ted. That it's what we're going to be discussing in September when we meet. I think the models around the country, their approach has been they disclose who and in tiers up to 50,000 or up to 100,000. But they may say sure, you know Alliance Bank said, we put in $100,000, proud of it. We're thrilled with what's going on with the ACA.

Ted Simons: Obviously the question here and concern here is that there would be preferential treatment for those who donate but if we don't know who donates we don't know who is getting what kinds of treatment.

Don Cardon: Right. Well first of all, everyone that contributes will be known by name. How much depends on some of their national policy stuff. For example, with Apollo their approach was we don't want to disclose anywhere in the country how much we give. We're not trying to tout ourselves. We believe in community service. By policy we don't want to do that. But the realty is that these companies are coming together to provide a service that really our country is saying they want. They want a smaller government. They want business to be more involved. They want taxpayers to be less on the dime. So to the degree that they can they are doing it. It's intriguing to me why once it starts happening it's so suspicious.

Ted Simons: Well, let's go along those lines. The Arizona Republic story noticed that there were Diamondbacks tickets, limousine rides and receptions there. Shouldn't the public know who is involved quasi-governmental agency, public-private, shouldn't government have some idea who is involved paying for things like that?

Don Cardon: Well, first of all, they should be involved if they are taxpayer dollars, absolutely. These are private dollars that are contributed on the behalf of the citizens of the state. Any dollar that's given to the ACA, or given to the Arizona Tech council, which TEAM ACA plans to contribute to or GPEC,will be disclosed if they have to under their guidelines and their charters. At ACA, every dollar Team ACA has provided to ACA is disclosed. We're totally good with that but that's ACA. Because it's taxpayer dollars as opposed to private. So to me, I don't agree with the concept and the notion that because somebody contributes to help a state advance during one of the worst economic challenges in our history it's doing it to try to get favors. To me it's believing the worst common denominator and honestly I think it's one of the biggest challenges our country faces is the eroding trust of people that actually do care about serving. I experienced it myself. Biggest challenge for me was I knew what my motivations were. I knew that I wanted to do it for a year when I signed on. I was asked to stay longer, which I did because the argument that Jerry and his office – Colangelo -- said you have a responsibility. You have imparted a vision. You need to stay with that. I said, I've got some needs in my family. I want to get back to my businesses. His argument was just. I stayed in. Last two years have been challenging because of the fact that now this is really something. Rightfully so. We're proud of it. I'm very proud of it. But it's been hard to feel like why does everybody believe the worst? It really bothers me about our country.

Ted Simons: It's an interesting point to raise. Some would argue why not then go overboard on transparency? Don't even give anyone a chance to think there could be kickbacks, shenanigans, monkey business. People do that because experience suggests that it can happen. Why not go overboard and say, you know, every penny, here's why they are doing it. We're going to get more if we can.

Don Cardon: But understand every penny given to the government is being disclosed. Every penny. There's nothing being given to the ACA by Team ACA that will not be disclosed and has not been. There's no elected officials on our board. We're doing the best we can to have no board members of the ACA ever be on Team ACA. The ACA, and I'm proud of the governor and legislative leadership, one of the things they did really well is put very strong transparencies. The ACA provides disclosure every quarter on every dollar. The fact that they have the details in that article yesterday, how did they get them? They got them because they were disclosed.

Ted Simons: If that's happening with ACA, again, what is the purpose of Team ACA? Why is it necessary?

Don Cardon: Because there's things in Team ACA that the ACA, when the governor and I went to Beijing a year ago a week before the governor of Washington and 90 CEOs were there trying to get business to go to Washington State. We showed up at about 15 people. Washington puts on dinners, diplomatic dinners for everybody. I don't know how they paid it. My guess is with private dollars. Texas, the number one state in the country, has Texas One. That's how it was modeled.

Ted Simons: Missouri I believe is a well. Something on the website, the Team ACA website going overseas and using private funds to again attract businesses to Missouri, but again, if Arizona is involved in this, shouldn't the public know if any kind of adjunct to a public-private partnership, ACA, commerce authority, if anything involved in that particular arrangement is being done for good, for not so good or somewhere in between, shouldn't the public know?

Don Cardon: Well, I think when it intersects with the public sector, it is and will be. Again, when we pay money, ACA, Team ACA, that will be fully disclosed. I don't know if I don't see your point but we're fulfilling that.

Ted Simons: It seems as though, some folks are not comfortable showing how much they give. Don't want to be known for this even though they should be if they are supporting it.

Don Cardon: Let's say -- I'm not talking about politics. What about where they give to shelters or to things that have no political connectivity to them at all? It's the same standard. What we're talking about is corporations nationally where we charitably or philanthropically give we don't want to tout that, we just want to do it. Again, team ACA has not determined that they won't, but right now I don't have the authority to say we will.

Ted Simons: Before we let you go you mentioned you signed on for a year and I know that the article mentioned discretionary bonus and these sorts. I'm not sure how much you can talk about that. $75,000 according to the Arizona Republic. Does Team ACA pay that? Is that again something that private pays to, a quasi-public official?

Don Cardon: Entirely by contract not only for my tenure there but anyone going forward recruit and hire a permanent CEO, any of the bonuses are 100% private contract paid by private dollars. You have an annual salary set by national survey two years ago. I'm proud of the fact that private sector is stepping up, Team ACA is paying half that. You have the cost to the citizens of Arizona of $150,000 to get a $300,000 talent level.

Ted Simons: The last question, for folks who see that dividing line too thin or too vague or somewhere along those lines, you say --

Don Cardon: I just say that I am so proud of what we have done and there's full disclosure on every dollar that goes in connection to the public dollars. It's right, it's appropriate, we're going to continue to do it, but the biggest success in my opinion that the state has had in terms of organizational position against challenging local economy is the ACA, and my hope is that people understand the governor gets the legislature gets it, the business community gets it, our hope is one day the media will get it.

Ted Simons: All right. Well, maybe we'll have you on again sometime to help us figure that out. Thanks for joining us. We appreciate it.