Part of being a Girl Reporter is considering alternative theories for people’s behavior. With that in mind, I have to wonder if Sheriff Joe has some ulterior motive for Going Birfer. Could it have something to do with all those investigations against him, but not in the way everybody suspects??? Well, here I go. Rule 11 of the Arizona Rules of Criminal Procedure applies when a person is mentally incompetent to stand trial:
Rule 11.1. Definition and Effect of Incompetency
A person shall not be tried, convicted, sentenced or punished for a public offense, except for proceedings pursuant to A.R.S. § 36-3707(D), while, as a result of a mental illness, defect, or disability, the person is unable to understand the proceedings against him or her or to assist in his or her own defense. Mental illness, defect or disability means a psychiatric or neurological disorder that is evidenced by behavioral or emotional symptoms, including congenital mental conditions, conditions resulting from injury or disease and developmental disabilities as defined in A.R.S. § 36-551. The presence of a mental illness, defect or disability alone is not grounds for finding a defendant incompetent to stand trial.
As an Arizona lawyer explains it on his website;
A person may be incompetent for a number of reasons including mental illness, mental retardation, head injury, and substance abuse. A person is not legally competent if cannot understand the legal matters or is not able to assist in his own defense.
The different between an insanity defense and Rule 11 is that a Rule 11 evaluation does not have anything to do with the defendant’s mental state at the time of the offense. In other words, an insanity defense is a defense to the criminal charge itself, not that the defendant is not competent to stand trial. In truth, Arizona does not have a true insanity defense. Rather, it is a “guilty except insane” defense. That means if the jury or judge agrees the defendant is guilty except insane, the court will sentence the defendant to the presumptive term at the Arizona State Hospital. The court can find the defendant guilty except insane even if the defendant is competent to stand trial.
The above rule only applies to criminal prosecutions. At present there are several ongoing investigations into The Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office. Several of these appear to have possible criminal ramifications. From Wiki:
In June 2008, the United States Department of Justice (DOJ) began an investigation of the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office. In March 2009, the United States Department of Justice notified Arpaio that they were investigating the department for civil rights violations, in unfairly targeting Hispanics and Spanish-speaking people. The DOJ found “reasonable cause to believe that MCSO engages in a pattern or practice of violating the Constitution and laws of the United States” and that “MCSO is broken”.
In October 2009, it was reported that the FBI was investigating Arpaio for using his position to settle political vendettas.
In January 2010, it was reported that the Department of Justice has impaneled a grand jury to investigate allegations of abuse of power by Arpaio.
In March 2010, it was reported that an investigation into Arpaio is “serious and ongoing“, according to U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder.
And, from December 2011:
Richard Martinez is a civil rights attorney, he says, it appears the U.S. Justice Department did a thorough investigation.
“They have a very strong case against the Sheriff and unless he immediately agrees to comply and remedy all these problems, which I doubt he will, they’re going to take him into federal court,” he said.
Martinez says what’s documented could have Sheriff Arpaio facing criminal charges, even jail time.
“There appears to be substantial evidence that a lot of money has been misspent in that department,” said Martinez.” There seems to be a lot of other issues that are here. Certainly, this letter addresses behavior that could be prosecuted criminally.”
Perhaps Old Sheriff Joe has been crazy . . . like a fox. If found mentally incompetent, any civil proceedings would take place with a guardian of some sort being appointed. But civil financial damages would most likely come out of Maricopa County’s deep pockets. But, any criminal trial does not go forward at all. It would be postponed until such time as Arpaio was mentally able to proceed. Arpaio was born in 1932 so he will be turning 80 years old this year. The simple facts of life are, that he doesn’t have to delay any criminal action very long until he will be able to appeal directly to the Highest Court in the Universe.
Could Arpaio’s venture into Birtherism constitute evidence of legal mental incompetence – where a person is unable to understand the proceedings against him or her or to assist in his or her own defense??? From my experience with Birthers, they lack the ability to comprehend the simplest legal concept. Natural born citizenship knocks even the lawyers among them for a loop. Mention that word to them, and off they go to France, Switzerland, Ancient Rome, lion prides, and Indian tribes. Everywhere but to Wong Kim Ark and Ankeny v. Governor.
This legal incapacity extends even to simplest of sentences. Nearly every Birther I have encountered is not able to understand these six words: not necessary to resolve these doubts, from Minor v. Happersett. The Birthers get that one wrong every time. Can you imagine being their defense attorney and trying to explain why Brady v. Maryland does NOT mean that Obama’s birth certificate is exculpatory evidence???
As far as effectiveness, I submit the quickest and surest way to get the crazy tag in 2012 America is to Go Birfer. Further, and this is also from personal experience, Birthers are mentally unable to learn. They are simply not trainable. If Arpaio has Gone Birfer, then his cognitive functioning is dead and gone. His Guardians, if such should be appointed, should be thankful if he is able to go to the bathroom by himself. I can’t go deeper into this without writing a book, but from what I can tell, much of the psychological assessment deals with patient history and subjective descriptions. For anybody who is interested, here is a pdf from Massachusetts used to make forensic competency assessments:
It would appear to me that if Arpaio starts muttering about phony presidential birth certificates and conspiracies involving Hawaiian DOH officials, the entirety of the American Judiciary, and random Hawaiian newspapers from 50 years ago, that he will attract the shrink’s attention. If he follows up with accusations that an electronic image is a “forgery”, and that it is appropriate to conduct police investigations with investigators who have a pecuniary interest in the outcome, then he will begin hammering nails into the Coffin Of Competency. All Arpaio needs to seal the deal is to start muttering Minor v. Happersett in answer to the shrink’s questions. And maybe demand his Vattel Rights to Trial by Combat according to the Ancien Regime of France.
Now, at this point is important for me to state that I haven’t accused anyone out of the Maricopa County’s Sheriff’s Office, Sheriff Joe, I haven’t accused anyone of anything. I’m not accusing the Sheriff. Let’s wait and see how we can develop this information on mental incompetency. Which I think is very – very important right now. I want to get to the bottom of this.
Note 1. The Image. This is from the film, Cat Ballou (1965). That is Lee Marvin playing Kid Shelleen, a drunken stumblebum. I am not sure who plays the horse.
The memorable scene where Lee Marvin’s horse is seen leaning against the wall, looking drunk with his legs crossed, almost didn’t make it into the movie. Because horses don’t “naturally” cross their legs, the animal’s trainer told director Silverstein that scene couldn’t be filmed. Afterward he thought that, with a few days’ work, it might be possible. When Silverstein reminded the man that time was of the essence and offered him one hour to do it, the trainer went to work and produced one of filmdom’s greatest visuals. The scene was finally realized when the horse was fed cubes of sugar while his legs were gently plied into just the right position.
When Marvin accepted his Best Actor Oscar for his performance, he started by saying, “Half of this probably belongs to a horse out in the Valley somewhere.”