Convicted Arizona sheriff threatens libel suit against Harvard Law professor

Seems Joe Arpaio, convicted of criminal contempt of court (and, yes, later pardoned, but at least so far, the conviction still stands), didn't cotton to a Globe op-ed column by Andrew Crespo, a professor at Harvard Law School, about the case. Arpaio's lawyer sent him a letter demanding he retract the column or face a lawsuit. Crespo tells the lawyer what he can do with his demand.



    Free tagging: 


    Holy Shit

    By on

    Arpaio's lawyer is dumber than bag of bricks. Lets attempt to sue a Harvard Law professor over:

    Specifically, he asserts that the following sentence in the Globe piece is “false and misleading”:

    “Arpaio was convicted of violating a court order that directed him to stop arresting Latinos unless he had probable cause that they had committed a crime.”

    The only reason he needed a pardon was for exactly the "offending" line above. That means he was guilty of exactly what was stated. He can maintain his innocence and forgo the pardon if wants and then sue?

    Just needed more examples

    Now, had I said that Mr. Arpaio is "a decrepit old pervert who only gets a stiffie from sweaty prisoners in pink panties, and his whole illegal enterprise is a desperate attempt to counteract his impotence," one would have to prove I said that with malice...

    Malice is interesting...

    His letter states, "As for any potential consequences of this decision, I trust you recognize that truth is “an absolute defense to a libel claim.” Noonan v. Staples, Inc., 556 F.3d 20, 26-28 (1st. Cir. 2009). Indeed, even if a statement—unlike mine in the Globe—is not literally true, a libel action will fail as a matter of law if the statement was “at least substantially true,” given that “substantial truth is all that is required.”

    Yet in the Noonan case, from the MA website
    "Noonan v. Staples, Inc. , 556 F.3d 20 (1st Cir., 2009)
    Truth may not be a defense to a libel claim. The 1st circuit on panel rehearing overturned the grant of summary judgment in a case in which true but unpleasant statements about an employee were emailed to 1500 employees. MGL c.231, s.92 says that in a libel case, "truth shall be a justification unless actual malice is proved." Shaari v. Harvard Student Agencies , 427 Mass. 129 (1998) held that statute unconstitutional when applied to matters of public concern, but did not address its application to private citizens. This court did not reach the constitutional issue, but instead focused on the definition of "actual malice," and rather than relying on the "modern" definition of "actual malice" used in defamation cases, the court here determined that a more accurate definition was to be found in Conner v. Standard Publishing , 183 Mass. 474 (1903): "malice in the popular sense of hatred or ill-will."

    So, I guess the thing that leans in his favor is the 'public figure' standing of the (possibly not so) good sheriff. But, as applied to those not so much in the public eye, truth is perhaps not an absolute defense in the Massachusetts court system.

    the original letter

    By on

    requested that Crespo "govern himself accordingly", I think that's what he was referring to.

    This makes

    By on

    me wish that I were in legal trouble, so I could hire Crespo as my lawyer. Of course, if I could afford a Harvard Law professor as my lawyer, it would probably be some pretty bad trouble.

    Re: If I could afford a Harvard Law professor as my lawyer...

    By on

    Elizabeth Warren may be available at $29,166 per hour, or $350,000 per 12 hours. Her Harvard Law School rate. No extra charge for the finger pointing or shaking the head. Specializing in Indian affairs, Cambridge mansions, flipping houses and the British MG convertible, one of her many high school "poverty" rides, popular among other Native Americans.

    Why do you hate capitalism

    By on

    Why do you hate capitalism and successful women? You'd prefer it if she were a trust fund brat with multiple bankruptcies like your beloved pussy grabber?


    You don't know jack shit about Native Americans or what they think, feel, believe, etc. Scott Brown lost because he was incredibly stupid about making this an issue, and his campaign was incredibly offensive in its use of tribally inappropriate stereotypes.

    STFU already.

    Sort of reminds me of

    By on

    Hillary Clintons campaign. Swirls why don't you stfu and respect and debate an opposing opinion in a respectful manner? What all the anger?

    Been here long?

    Why don't you get a log in and lurk for a while until you realize that hatemongers who are constantly hurling around slurs like Fishy have earned immediate disrespect and contempt ?

    Naw ... too much like critical thinking.

    some of us prefer not to

    By on

    One reason is that the comment approval process kind of keeps me in check from posting disrespectful or needlessly insulting comments, like yours above. See? You can't even explain without implying that the poster lacks critical thinking skills, and assume that they are transient or don't lurk already just cause they don't log in.

    Not that I disagree with you about FISH, but jeez. The intellectual superiority and condescension act gets stale.

    Technically speaking...

    ...FISH's post was accurate, contained no 'slurs' and was not disrespectful, the way most of your posts are, even when you post anonymously.

    So, why don't you suck on a can of these?


    Liz and the Cherokees

    "You don't know jack shit about Native Americans or what they think, feel, believe, etc."
    OK, here's an opposing opinion in a respectful manner. Learn from it, or insult it as a 'link farm' or 'those links are all GARBBL', or something a bit more ad hominem. So here we go, for the grownups of Uhub...


    1. The Atlantic...I got reamed out here for calling it paywalled a while ago. Well, it ain't. It just blocks you if you use tracker blockers. Which I use. So, if you want to read it, turn off Ghostery or whatever and have a look:
    " Elizabeth Warren is not a citizen of the Cherokee Nation.
    Elizabeth Warren is not enrolled in the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians.
    And Elizabeth Warren is not one of the United Keetoowah Band of Cherokee.
    Nor could she become one, even if she wanted to.
    Despite a nearly three week flap over her claim of "being Native American," the progressive consumer advocate has been unable to point to evidence of Native heritage except for a unsubstantiated thirdhand report that she might be 1/32 Cherokee. Even if it could be proven, it wouldn't qualify her to be a member of a tribe: Contrary to assertions in outlets from The New York Times to Mother Jones that having 1/32 Cherokee ancestry is "sufficient for tribal citizenship," "Indian enough" for "the Cherokee Nation," and "not a deal-breaker," Warren would not be eligible to become a member of any of the three federally recognized Cherokee tribes based on the evidence so far surfaced by independent genealogists about her ancestry. "

    Sounds like a 'no' to me.

    Well, Christian Science Monitor, a well respected publication by anyone rational:
    "This week, Indian reporters say they were snubbed by Warren’s campaign as they sought clarification on why Ms. Warren was listed as a minority Native faculty by Harvard in the 1990s, even though she has no evidence to back that claim and apparently never sought out other Native Americans on campus."

    From YAHOO!, just to cheese off the easily cheesed:
    "More than 150 Cherokee Indians have joined a group online demanding more information from Massachusetts senate candidate Elizabeth Warren about her claims of Native American heritage."
    “You claim to be Cherokee. …We don’t claim you!” the group “Cherokees Demand Truth from Elizabeth Warren” declares on its website."

    OTOH, she seems to be up to speed on the scam that is Equifax. Here's a Herald link from today that explains a bill she wants to introduce making ALL credit freezes free. So, fake or not, wether I like her or not, at least she's doing something about the breach that affects 145 or so million of us:
    And a good Reddit, worth a glance:

    Oh, BTW, if I'm not mistaken (and I'm not...) I believe LBB caused AG to have a meltdown about civility back when You Know Who got telling someone to STFU.

    All anyone needs to know about Liz Warren is

    that Howie Carr has a bug up his ass about her. If that prep-school-product fake-assed-workingman's-advocate is beating a drum against her, you can be sure that his wealthy Republican masters are terrified of her.

    The fact that legions of working-class folk can't see how she's one of the few friends they have in Congress is a testament to the power of right-wing propaganda. If you have a credit card, car loan, mortgage, or student loan, and don't recognize that she's about the only ally you have in our government against an exploitative financial services industry, I hope you're too lazy to vote, because you're too dumb to live.

    Keep focusing on that bullshit Pochahontas issue, dumbasses. You've been voting against your own economic interests for 50 years now. The GOP can't keep fighting for the interests of billionaires at your expense without your jeering, sexist, self-sabotaging support, you gullible, hapless chumps.

    Carr hasn't mentioned

    Holly Robichaud and her lobbying on behalf of Saudi Arabia and its attempt to prevent 911 victims from suing Saudi Arabia. Holly, Geoff and Howie think you're dumb. I believe they are right.

    Real Patriots side with Pocahontas over Osama Bin Laden.

    Ah yes the MBG

    By on

    The Mazda Miata of the 1970s. What a shockingly excessive car.


    Expensive to buy relatively

    By on

    Expensive to buy relatively compared to american made cars, very expensive to maintain. So yeah, you need to be able to afford all that.


    By on

    There are probably folks who don't know cars out there that Fish was trying to incense with that line. OOOH a Brittish Convertible. An MG is NOT a Jaguar sir. In the 90s when I was shopping for my first car I bought a 70s punch buggy, for about $300 MORE than what I could have gotten an MG for, but pops said "those brittish cars electrical is garbage!" so we went with the German spagetti system instead! lol.
    When Liz was in High School that MG was the indeed the Miata of its time. Cheap, faux- sports car. The Karmann Ghia was leaps and bounds cooler.

    I have doubts of Fishy's well paid policeman past if he thinks an MG is a luxury vehicle. Maybe he drove a Pinto back then and is still bitter?

    O Fish!

    I can see how Fish here has no problem with male CEO's who make more in a day than Warren does in a year to sit around on their asses and get them kissed by subordinates all day, but where was this anger when Scott Brown was making a mockery of the office by selling his seat to specious companies for board seats and drunkenly Tweeting at night?

    I bet he's a fan of the real Diehl too!

    I dunno

    By on

    Hiring a law professor to be your lawyer is kinda like hiring an electrical engineering professor to wire your house - he's simultaneously over-qualified and under-qualified. Just because one is the smartest legal mind in the room doesn't mean one is a good litigator. I'd prefer a practicing trial lawyer who knows the judges, local rules, etc.

    (I don't know anything about Prof. Crespo, just generalizing here.)


    ...the reason (if you're rich, see OJ) lawyers travel in teams. Each has a specialty.

    Thank you!

    By on

    Thank you!

    Please post more examples of good argumentation...

    love it

    By on

    I'm sure even Arpaio's lawyer knew what a waste of time it was to draft that letter without a leg to stand on. Still, Crespo's 'FU letter" is amusing to read.

    May be interesting from a legal standpoint.

    I'm guessing the court ruled that the Sheriff could not arrest anyone without probable cause that a crime was committed. Crespo stated that a judge ruled that the Sheriff couldn't arrest Latinos without PC for arrest. By saying that Crespo is essentially calling the Sheriff a racist (according to the Sheriff).

    Indeed, even if a statement—unlike mine in the Globe—is not literally true, a libel action will fail as a matter of law if the statement was “at least substantially true,” given that “substantial truth is all that is required.”

    Crespo admits that his statement is not "literally" true, so I'm assuming the lawsuit would be based on this simple fact. Of course Crespo cites other case law backing his right to publish a statement since the statement is based in truth.

    I wouldn't say the lawsuit isn't going to be heard by a judge though, I've seen worse ones than this get to a federal judge without having the plaintiff compensate the defendant.


    Crespo admits no such thing on the linked blog. Do you have a different source where he does that?

    I read it wrong..

    EDIT, I read it wrong, he said (unlike mine), but why would he argue about why libel suits do not have to be literal? I guess I would have to see the judges original ruling to see what he said.

    Couple of things

    By on

    My bet is on simple legal snarking: Crespo knows full well what the standard is for proving libel against a public figure (that something needs to be not just false, but maliciously so) and he's betting the other guy does, too, so he's just slapping the other lawyer across the face with the fact that, hey, this has been settled case law since the 1960s, dude, do you maybe need a refresher course at your local community college?

    But lawyers also like to make their case seem as insurmountable as possible, so just in case, he's also throwing out that fact, to make the other lawyer realize just how difficult his case would be.


    There should be some sort of award for people who are able to admit they were wrong on UHub. Pete would probably win by default for 2017.

    And why Crespo would say this? Call it "and-another-thing-ism." It communicates that the standard for a win is so many categories away as to be laughable.

    It also allows another twist of the knife as Crespo can reiterate that, yes, he believes it to be absolutely true that Arpaio is racist to the point of criminality.

    I don't remember being wrong often...

    And this was about misreading something, but I still haven't read the original decision by the judge. Are saying that if the judge didn't use the word "Latinos" in his decision, that literally Crespo was correct in saying the judge told Arapio did not arrest Latinos?

    You might want a rewrite

    What you said does not make sense as is. Perhaps you meant " not arrest...?" Even then, it's an unnecessary hypothetical.

    As for what the judges said, there's no need to wonder about it. It's public record.
    In the words of Judge Snow:

    IT IS THEREFORE ORDERED that Plaintiffs are entitled to injunctive relief necessary to remedy the Fourth and Fourteenth Amendment violations caused by MCSO’s past and continuing operations. The MCSO is thus permanently enjoined from:
    1. Detaining, holding or arresting Latino occupants of vehicles in Maricopa County based on a reasonable belief, without more, that such persons are in the country without authorization.
    2. Following or enforcing its LEAR policy against any Latino occupant of a vehicle in Maricopa County.
    3. Using race or Latino ancestry as a factor in determining to stop any vehicle in Maricopa County with a Latino occupant.
    4. Using race or Latino ancestry as a factor in making law enforcement decisions with respect to whether any Latino occupant of a vehicle in Maricopa County may be in the country without authorization.
    5. Detaining Latino occupants of vehicles stopped for traffic violations for a period longer than reasonably necessary to resolve the traffic violation in the absence of reasonable suspicion that any of them have committed or are committing a violation of federal or state criminal law.
    6. Detaining, holding or arresting Latino occupants of a vehicle in Maricopa County for violations of the Arizona Human Smuggling Act without a reasonable basis for believing that, under all the circumstances, the necessary elements of the crime are present.
    7. Detaining, arresting or holding persons based on a reasonable suspicion that they are conspiring with their employer to violate the Arizona Employer Sanctions Act.

    Out of seven points, six include the word "Latino." Conclusive?

    And those are the things Arpaio kept doing afterwards, in violation of this order. Arpaio's illegal behavior cost his state around 5 million dollars in plaintiff's legal fees just for the first case.

    Definition of a "wanker"

    1. Someone excessively and annoyingly pretentious, detestable and annoying.

    2. Someone with a faintly sociopathic lack of regard for other people; see also asshole.

    3. Someone who is useless, inefficient or time-wasting.

    4. Someone who masturbates or substitutes masturbating by posting inane comments that he read or heard someplace else but pretends he thought of it.

    Example of a wanker: O-Fish-L