Judge Schedules Oral Argument on Zullo’s Motion for Protective Order

FOR FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 6

by Sharon Rondeau

(Nov. 3, 2015) — According to the newest entries appearing on the federal courts website, pacer.gov, in the case of Melendres, et al v. Arpaio, et al, Mike Zullo’s response to the plaintiffs’ objections to his Motion for a Protective Order filed last week must be submitted to the court by noon local time on Friday, November 6.

In a motion filed last Wednesday in the case, Zullo requested 30 days to retain an attorney after learning that lawyers for defendant Joseph M. Arpaio do not represent him.

Oral argument on the motion is scheduled for November 6 at 3:30 p.m.

As sheriff of Maricopa County, in December 2007, Arpaio was sued in his personal and professional capacity for allegedly allowing profiling of Latinos during immigration patrols conducted by his deputies.  Also named as defendants are Maricopa County and various members of Arpaio’s staff.  In its nearly eight-year history, the case contains over 1,500 separate document filings by the parties and intervenors.

Zullo became embroiled in the case inadvertently last spring after the presiding judge, G. Murray Snow, demanded to see the work product of Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office confidential informant Dennis Montgomery after reading an article in the Phoenix New Times which claimed that the informant, at Arpaio’s direction, was investigating Snow and/or his family members.  Arpaio and his chief deputy, Gerard Sheridan, denied that claim.

According to media reports, in late 2013, Arpaio assigned Zullo, who has been active in in the Cold Case Posse affiliated with the Sheriff’s office, to assist in the oversight of Montgomery’s progress in producing the evidence he claimed to have showing that tens of thousands of Maricopa County residents’ bank accounts were breached as well as the email accounts and phone lines of a number of public servants by a division of the federal government.

Snow’s name reportedly appeared among federal judges whose email accounts were reportedly breached, according to Montgomery, who also alleged that email accounts and phone lines belonging to Arpaio and some of his attorneys were wiretapped.

Beginning in late April, Snow required all parties possessing documentation from Montgomery’s “Seattle operation” to turn it over to the court, an order with which Zullo and Arpaio complied, according to court documents. However, after releasing more than 3,500 pages of documentation, including emails exchanged with Montgomery, Zullo withheld some materials, invoking his right to “due process.”

While believing that Arpaio’s attorneys represented him as a result of his having worked under the authority of the sheriff, Zullo handed over his documentation to them, after which they declared during a hearing that Zullo was not their client.

Zullo was deposed on October 23 about the “Seattle operation” but answered only one question for plaintiffs’ attorney Stanley Young of Covington & Burling.  Despite Young’s persistence in attempting to elicit responses from Zullo, he remained firm in insisting on representation in order for questioning to proceed.

Plaintiffs’ attorneys had vehemently opposed Zullo’s invocation of his Fourth, Fifth and Sixth Amendment rights in requesting an extension of time to retain representation.

On Monday, Zullo filed a “MOTION to Stay Court Orders Requiring Testimony and NOTICE of Intent to Appeal to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals” in which he wrote that “the court’s orders not only show an implicit bias against Zullo, given his association with Defendant Sheriff Joe Arpaio in particular, who the court, as reported in the media, revealed by his wife to destroy, and still an outstanding issue which he himself has yet to confirm or even deny…”

Zullo was referring to comments made by Snow’s wife in 2011 to a restaurant patron indicating that her husband had political disagreements with Arpaio and wished to see him replaced as sheriff in the next election the following year.  In hearings during the third week of April, Arpaio stated under oath that while Snow himself had never been under investigation by Montgomery or the MCS oh, one of Arpaio’s attorneys had hired a private investigator to determine the credibility of the restaurant patrons reports to Arpaio of the comments alleged to have been made by Snow’s wife.

Arpaio reported that the comments were found to be credible and were supported by the patrons spouse and adult son, who were with her when the comments were made.

Following that revelation, Arpaio’s attorneys filed a motion for Judge Snow’s recusal, but Snow insisted that he was not compromised and remained on the case.

On Tuesday, a “telephonic conference” in Melendres was conducted by Snow, with plaintiffs’ and defendants’ attorneys in attendance as well as Zullo, who remains self-represented. The docket shows no new filings as of Tuesday.

A second telephonic conference is scheduled for Thursday at 10:00 to discuss “disputed redactions to admitted exhibits.”  However, in his instructions, Snow wrote that “Counsel are to advise the Court if no dispute exists and the hearing will be vacated.”

Zullo has asked Maricopa County to cover the cost of his counsel, reasoning that others within the Sheriff’s office received counsel at the county’s expense.

On Monday, The Post & Email received a response from Maricopa County Public Information Officer Fields Moseley to our question posed over the weekend as to whether or not the county would offer to pay for Zullo’s representation.  On Saturday we asked:

Hello, Mr. Moseley, is there a final determination on whether or not Maricopa County will pay for representation in the Melendres case for Mike Zullo?

and Moseley responded:

Not as of Friday when we had other questions about this.  I am going to loop in Jerry Cobb of the County Attorney’s Office on this email so we can keep you updated.

We have not heard anything further as of press time.