Friday, December 10, 2010

More On Sheriff's Effort To Keep Video Of Depositions From Public; Unbelievable Waste Of Court Time and Taxpayers Dollars

OK.  After passing on the Associated Press' short blurb about the judge's ruling denying Maricopa County's motion for a protective order surrounding the video depositions of Sheriff Joe Arpaio (and others), I needed to check out what the judge and attorneys had to say about this.  It was worth it.

First, I reviewed the order by Judge G. Murray Snow, handed down yesterday.  He wasted no time on this order:
The Motion sets forth no justification for the entry of a protective order....  Further, '[t]he Motion does not include a certification that the movant has in good faith conferred or attempted to confer with other affected parties in an effort to resolve the dispute without court action.' To the extent that arguments are cursorily raised for the first time in the reply, the Court does not consider arguments raised for the first time in a reply. (emphasis added)
Snow does say that the County can re-file a motion with the arguments in the reply if they comply with the conferring provisions of the rule. Then, the one sentence denial.

Well, the arguments raised in the reply may be good; so, what did the original motion claim?  Just this:
Defendants hereby request that this Court order the videos of the reopened depositions of (Arpaio, Hendershott, Sands, MacIntyre, others) be protected from disclosure to the media until after the trial of this action.  It is has (sic) come to undersigned counsels' attention that the video of the original deposition of Sheriff Arpaio was broadcast shortly after the deposition  was held. The trier of fact is the federal judge in this lawsuit and not the media.
And, I mean, JUST this.  That was the entire motion for a protective order.  Unbelievable, in that it did not even pretend to comply with the requirements for a motion for a protective order.  Unbelievable in that in that only sentence of argument (the last sentence), attorney Thomas Liddy is really acknowledging why a protective order is NOT necessary: the judge is the trier of fact - not a jury - and Snow is not going to be influenced by some clips on the 10pm news.

After plaintiff's response, Liddy gets around to trying a better argument (while still not acknowledging the failure to "confer" to resolve).  He states that the media - and "political actors" - can cherry-pick out of context clips, including some dealing with "improper queries" that the Court has not yet ruled on.  He also states that the deponents' personal information will be improperly disclosed without redactions and that private citizens' correspondence may also be disseminated.

Before you see the video of Arpaio on TV or on the New Times' website, though, you can expect some new efforts by the County to resolve the matter with the plaintiff.  If they do not agree on guidelines quickly, Liddy will probably file a new motion for a protective order.  Though, based upon the initial lackluster effort, he may not really believe in it enough.

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