Sheriff Joe Arpaio: Hero or Zero?
by Buck Quigley - posted 2:35 pm, December 16, 2009
As the Buffalo News reports, Erie county has been sent a bill for over $40,000 by the Allston and Bird law firm for research and advice back in August, after being taken to task by the US Department of Justice for conditions at the Erie County Holding Center, and the correctional facility in Alden.
The idea is that Robert N. Driscoll, who is currently at the firm, used to be a deputy assistant attorney general and chief of staff for the Civil Rights Division from 2001-2003, and has done work for controversial Arizona sheriff Joe Arpaio. County Executive Chris Collins calls it “money well spent.”
Recently, Arpaio instituted a lawsuit against Maricopa County (AZ), then asked for $7 million from the county to pay for that lawsuit. The county will also soon be forking over money for lawyers fees to four activists who were arrested for clapping at a Maricopa County Board of Supervisors meeting one year ago. And let’s not talk about his tactics with the press.
Collins is quoted in the News, “No apologies…you have to spend what you have to spend to hire the best experts you can hire. No one would suggest that that advice comes cheap. It’s a shame the Department of Justice chose to sue us with a frivolous lawsuit.”
It’s also a shame that there have been beatings by guards, avoidable deaths, suicides, attempted suicides, and prisoner-on-prisoner violence encouraged by authorities at the Holding Center—but shame means different things to different people.
Today, Erie county attorneys will make their first argument to dismiss the case against them before US District Judge William M. Skretny.
We’ll see how valuable the advice of the best experts turns out to be for county taxpayers.