UPDATE: Blue Aardvark has a diary on this topic that was posted before mine. Please rec it up.
I guess Sheriff Joe has to be a little nervous now that his good buddy and the former Maricopa prosecutor who enabled Arpaio's reign of terror has been disbarred by a three member panel of the State Bar of Arizona for abusing his powers to go after political opponents. From TPM:
A three-member panel of the State Bar of Arizona ruled that ex-Maricopa County Attorney Andrew Thomas abused his powers as a prosecutor to target his political enemies. Because of that, they ruled he would be disbarred.
One of Thomas’ top aides, Lisa Aubuchon, was also disbarred for her role in the misconduct. A second aide, Rachel Alexander, had her law license suspended for six months. [...]
Thomas spent six years at Arpaio’s side as the top prosecutor in Maricopa County, Ariz., which encompasses Phoenix and most of its sprawling suburbs. [...]
Politically, Thomas and Arpaio were almost inseparable during their years as the top law enforcers in Maricopa County. They supported each other on almost every issue and often found themselves locked together in heated battles with judges and other local government officials. [...]
Investigators with the State Bar of Arizona said somewhere along the way he became obsessed with his political enemies. He turned disagreements over policy into a full-fledged attempt to see his opponents jailed and disgraced.
With Arpaio’s help, investigators said, Thomas used the powers of his office to target his opponents with criminal investigations. He had some arrested and some charged with crimes. The evidence he and Arpaio used in the process was often questionable. The charges rarely stuck.
I hope that this is a turning point in the long and infamous abuses committed by Sheriff Joe in Maricopa County. Certainly it's a victory for the people who have suffered from the numerous injustices committed by the "Arpaio organized crime syndicate."
Some background on Thomas:
Thomas first came to prominence in Arizona in 2002, winning the Republican nomination for attorney general. He lost the general election to Terry Goddard, a Democrat, but cemented his role as a conservative up and comer.This is how today's brand of Republicans operate when they gain power in a microcosm.
Two years later, he won the race for Maricopa County attorney, putting him in charge of felony prosecutions and other legal matters of a community of more than 3.5 million people. It set him on equal footing with Arpaio and a team was born. [...]
Just weeks after both [Arpaio and Thoma] were reelected in 2008, the two men began using their offices to target many of the same officials they had battled with in the years prior.
During the next year or so, Thomas and Arpaio announced criminal investigations against at least 14 officials, including all five members of the Board of Supervisors, four judges, the county’s top two appointed officials, a high-ranking attorney for the county and two private lawyers. [...]
Thomas and Arpaio filed a major lawsuit against the group, accusing them of corruption and racketeering. Thomas also charged three of them with crimes, warning charges may be coming for the rest. “No one is above the law,” he said at the time.
Soon, however, the cases began to crumble. In some instances, the evidence that was promised by Thomas and Arpaio never materialized. In other instances, independent judges ruled that Thomas’ office filed charges on allegations that were well past the statute of limitations.
Ethics investigators have since said Thomas and Aubuchon knew those charges were bogus but filed them anyway to ruin the reputations of the accused. The investigators described this as perjury. Thomas insisted that the cases were good and the people he was targeting were corrupt. But in early 2010, he hit the eject button.