Explosive device found in package to Ariz. sheriff
Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio speaks next to his wife Ava Arpaio on election night in November.
April 12th, 2013
07:18 AM ET

Explosive device found in package to Ariz. sheriff

Authorities intercepted a suspicious package with explosives that was addressed to tough-talking Arizona Sheriff Joe Arpaio.

U.S. Postal Inspector Andrew Rivas in Flagstaff screened the package Thursday and realized it was suspicious enough to call the local police bomb squad and the FBI.

"We evacuated the post office, got all our employees to safety," Rivas told CNN affiliate KTVK.

The Maricopa County Sheriff's Office said Flagstaff police X-rayed the package and neutralized it Thursday night.

Filed under: Arizona • Crime • Joe Arpaio
June 25th, 2012
01:18 PM ET

Live blog: Supreme Court strikes down most of Arizona immigration law, upholds one part

Editor's note: We're live blogging from the Supreme Court today as the nation waits to see whether the justices will hand down rulings on the controversial health care and immigration laws. You can follow along below as CNN Supreme Court Producer Bill Mears and Senior Legal Analyst Jeffrey Toobin get the latest details live from the court as well as analysis when, and if, the major rulings come on Monday. Watch live coverage and analysis now on CNN TV, CNN’s mobile apps and http://cnn.com/live.

[Updated at 1:18 p.m. ET] Attorney General Eric Holder issued the following statement reacting to the Court's ruling:

“I welcome the Supreme Court’s decision to strike down major provisions of Arizona’s S.B. 1070 on federal preemption grounds. Today’s ruling appropriately bars the State of Arizona from effectively criminalizing unlawful status in the state and confirms the federal government’s exclusive authority to regulate in the area of immigration.

While I am pleased the Court confirmed the serious constitutional questions the government raised regarding Section 2, I remain concerned about the impact of Section 2, which requires law enforcement officials to verify the immigration status of any person lawfully stopped or detained when they have reason to suspect that the person is here unlawfully. As the Court itself recognized, Section 2 is not a license to engage in racial profiling and I want to assure communities around this country that the Department of Justice will continue to vigorously enforce federal prohibitions against racial and ethnic discrimination. We will closely monitor the impact of S.B. 1070 to ensure compliance with federal immigration law and with applicable civil rights laws, including ensuring that law enforcement agencies and others do not implement the law in a manner that has the purpose or effect of discriminating against the Latino or any other community.

We will also work to ensure that the verification provision does not divert police officers away from traditional law enforcement efforts in order to enforce federal immigration law, potentially impairing local policing efforts and discouraging crime victims, including children of non-citizens, victims of domestic violence, and asylum seekers, from reporting abuses and crimes out of fear of detention or deportation. We will continue to use every federal resource to protect the safety and civil rights of all Americans.”

[Updated at 12:31 p.m. ET] President Barack Obama has weighed in on the court decision, praising that some parts were struck down, but adding that he was concerned about the provision that remained. His statement is in full below:

"I am pleased that the Supreme Court has struck down key provisions of Arizona's immigration law. What this decision makes unmistakably clear is that Congress must act on comprehensive immigration reform. A patchwork of state laws is not a solution to our broken immigration system – it’s part of the problem.

At the same time, I remain concerned about the practical impact of the remaining provision of the Arizona law that requires local law enforcement officials to check the immigration status of anyone they even suspect to be here illegally. I agree with the Court that individuals cannot be detained solely to verify their immigration status. No American should ever live under a cloud of suspicion just because of what they look like. Going forward, we must ensure that Arizona law enforcement officials do not enforce this law in a manner that undermines the civil rights of Americans, as the Court’s decision recognizes. Furthermore, we will continue to enforce our immigration laws by focusing on our most important priorities like border security and criminals who endanger our communities, and not, for example, students who earn their education – which is why the Department of Homeland Security announced earlier this month that it will lift the shadow of deportation from young people who were brought to the United States as children through no fault of their own.

I will work with anyone in Congress who’s willing to make progress on comprehensive immigration reform that addresses our economic needs and security needs, and upholds our tradition as a nation of laws and a nation of immigrants. And in the meantime, we will continue to use every federal resource to protect the safety and civil rights of all Americans, and treat all our people with dignity and respect. We can solve these challenges not in spite of our most cherished values – but because of them. What makes us American is not a question of what we look like or what our names are. What makes us American is our shared belief in the enduring promise of this country – and our shared responsibility to leave it more generous and more hopeful than we found it."

[Updated at 12:08 p.m. ET] In regard to similar laws that have been enacted in other states, CNN Senior Legal Analyst Jeffrey Toobin predicts “legal trench warfare on all these laws.”

The  “mixed nature of the verdict” makes it impossible to say if these laws or constitutional or unconstitutional, so judges in the future will have to go through each law provision by provision to determine constitutionality.

The ruling guarantees American will see more cases out of other states in the future,” Toobin said.


Overheard on CNN.com: Where do state and local laws end, federal authority begin?
A tour group meets at sunset in downtown Tombstone. The "town too tough to die" worries it's going to run dry.
May 11th, 2012
07:28 PM ET

Overheard on CNN.com: Where do state and local laws end, federal authority begin?

Editor's note: This post is part of the Overheard on CNN.com series, a regular feature that examines interesting comments and thought-provoking conversations posted by the community.

Tombstone, Arizona, which has a population of 1,400 people, is suing the federal government about a water line that was damaged in last year's massive Monument fire. The city says the federal government is blocking emergency repairs that are critical to its survival. Lawyers for the federal government say there's no emergency and that Tombstone is using the fire's aftermath as an excuse to "upgrade and improve" its water system. This story, and a few others that are being talked about, raise questions about the authority of the federal government over local and state governments.

Showdown at the H2O corral

A lot of readers said the federal government should not interfere.

TRussert: "This is totally and completely absurd. Let the town fix/improve their water needs and this will all be over. No species is going to suffer from this and the land will not be disturbed. In the meantime, all this bickering and letter of the law nonsense is just costing taxpayers unjustifiably. It's not like they want to drill for oil, which apparently has more success in being done on federal lands now, what idiocy. Doesn't anyone know that Federal Lands belong to the people? Someone with common sense step up and end this BS. We have real problems to deal with here. We don't need made-up ones on top of them."

Amegioa71: "This is the kind of thing that drives us crazy in the southwest ... the government won't lift a finger to control the border, but they'll prevent a town from using a wheelbarrow to repair its water line ... the government treats its people and their needs like they are the enemy."

Some wondered if there was something more going on here.

ryuujin: "Based upon the soap opera story presented here, there has got to a lot more than what has been explained. Therefore, don't blame the federal government until the WHOLE story is known. Start with following the money and why was the mayor who seemed to be getting the pipe fixed recalled?"

These readers think there might be a balance. FULL POST

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Filed under: Arizona • Joe Arpaio • Overheard on CNN.com • Politics • Same-sex marriage • U.S.
Overheard on CNN.com: 'I stand with Joe Arpaio,' reader says about lawsuit
A Justice Department report describes "a pervasive culture of discriminatory bias against Latinos" in Joe Arpaio's office.
May 10th, 2012
08:26 PM ET

Overheard on CNN.com: 'I stand with Joe Arpaio,' reader says about lawsuit

Editor's note: This post is part of the Overheard on CNN.com series, a regular feature that examines interesting comments and thought-provoking conversations posted by the community.

The Justice Department filed a civil lawsuit against Sheriff Joe Arpaio and Maricopa County, Arizona, on Thursday.

"They're using me for the Latino vote, showing that they're doing something, taking on the sheriff over an alleged racial profiling," Arpaio told reporters in Phoenix. Our readers had varying takes on the controversial sheriff, illegal immigration and Arizona in general.

Arpaio: 'I will fight this to the bitter end'

Readers debated whether the federal government should be getting involved.

Tr1Xen: "I stand with Joe Arpaio on this one. Illegal immigration should be fought vigorously, and I applaud the State of Arizona and the Maricopa County Sheriff's Department for taking that fight much more seriously than the Obama administration has. Heck, the Obama administration found fault in Texas' recent legislation requiring registered voters to provide photo ID, claiming that it discriminated against Latinos because they disproportionately lack photo identification (even though they are every bit as eligible to obtain photo identification, provided they are here legally). By the way, as a Texan, if that legislation is overturned by the federal government or isn't in effect on Election Day, I plan to wear a name tag with someone else's name on it when I go to vote. I'll tell them my correct name and to just ignore the name tag on my clothing. I urge others to do likewise! :)"

NoTarOnBeach: "Then you stand with a criminal. If you are OK with the police working outside the laws, then don't complain when the police abuse carries over to you."

19volks71: "Thank you. The federal government has no business in county level operations."

These people spoke out against Arpaio. FULL POST

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Filed under: Arizona • Joe Arpaio • Justice • Lawsuit • Overheard on CNN.com • U.S.
April 5th, 2012
02:33 AM ET

Justice Department to sue Arizona sheriff after talks fall through

The Justice Department is preparing to sue Arizona Sheriff Joe Arpaio, known internationally as "America's toughest sheriff," saying talks between the two sides have fallen through.

The Obama administration and Arpaio's Maricopa County Sheriff's Office had been in the midst of settlement talks, after the Justice Department accused it of systematically discriminating against Latinos.

As part of the settlement, the department wanted Arpaio to allow an independent monitor to oversee reforms at his office. The Justice Department called it a "key, non-negotiable requirement."

The two sides were scheduled to meet Wednesday, but Arpaio called off the meeting at the last minute, the Justice Department said.

"We believe that you are wasting time and not negotiating in good faith," said Deputy Assistant Attorney General Roy Austin Jr. in a letter Arpaio's legal counsel.

It added: "MCSO's refusal to engage in good faith negotiations requires us to prepare for civil action."

Arpaio shot back, saying he would not "surrender" his officer to the federal government.

"Appointment of an outside monitor essentially usurps the powers and duties of an elected Sheriff and transfers them to a person or group of persons selected by the federal government," he said in a statement Tuesday.

"And so to the Obama administration, who is attempting to strong arm me into submission only for its political gain, I say, 'This will not happen, not on my watch!'"

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Filed under: Arizona • Joe Arpaio • World
Controversial Arizona sheriff starts 'Mugshot of the Day' contest
Joe Arpaio, sheriff of Maricopa County, Arizona, says the photos could drum up leads for investigations.
April 20th, 2011
12:38 PM ET

Controversial Arizona sheriff starts 'Mugshot of the Day' contest

The Arizona law enforcement official known as "America's toughest sheriff" has come up with a new way to demonstrate his authority.

Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio has begun posting online mug shots of people who are arrested, asking people to vote for the photo they find most amusing. He says that putting the mug shots online and inviting a mass audience to view them is a way to drum up leads for investigations. "I want people to turn to see if their neighbor's been arrested," he said.

Some people have said it's unfair, arguing that not everyone arrested is guilty and that putting the images online in that forum, to exist forever in cyberspace, could result in unfair discrimination for innocent people pictured for years to come.

Arpaio is not the first to come up with the concept of posting mug shots online. Thesmokinggun.com and newspaper Web sites have been doing it for years, and the public is responding with clicks.

Arpaio is used to a great amount of attention. He's famous for his tough treatment of those convicted in his Arizona jurisdiction. He has fed inmates green bologna and made them wear pink underwear. His unconventional approach to law enforcement has drummed up many headlines over the years.

Last week, an investigation into alleged misconduct by Arpaio's subordinates ended with a 1,022-page report delivered to the sheriff. The investigation was led by Pinal County Sheriff Paul Babeu, and a letter to him from Arpaio said privacy limits prevent disclosure of the report until those named can appeal its findings.

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Filed under: Arizona • Joe Arpaio
August 2nd, 2010
09:11 PM ET

Arpaio's office investigating alleged threat

The office of a controversial Arizona sheriff is investigating an alleged threat against the lawman it says came in the form of a text message from a throwaway cell phone in Mexico, a spokeswoman said Monday.

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Filed under: Arizona • Joe Arpaio