Robbins & Curtin has had direct involvement with many high profile cases that have been covered in the press:
Cotton, Robert (Civil Rights, Wrongful Death)
What happens when there’s only one guard serving a couple hundred inmates–and he’s got a laundry list of chores keeping him busy? A violent inmate commits a brutal murder behind bars and goes virtually unnoticed.
Phoenix New Times blogs referencing Robert Cotton
Family faults jail procedures in inmate’s slaying
Dupris and Reed (Civil Rights)
Jesse Dupris and Jeremy Reed were both wrongfully arrested by the White Mountain Apache Police, as suspects in a serial rape case. Their identities were released to the media, portraying them as serial rapists, though the police lacked any evidence against them. Their reputations and lives have been damaged due to the police’s failure to investigate promising leads and instead focusing their investigation on two innocent men. Further, failure to conduct a thorough investigation has allowed the actual serial rapist to remain at large.
Serial-rape case exposes Apache police troubles
Whiteriver serial rapist investigation failed, files show
Flanders, Jeremy (Civil Rights)
In May of 1996, Sheriff Arpaio visited the Tent City with a newspaper reporter and a television reporter. Sheriff Arpaio wrote in his book, America’s Toughest Sheriff, that an inmate laughed demonically and told Arpaio that he would pull up the rebar where it held up the tent and hit the Sheriff in the head with it. Sheriff Arpaio didn’t need to worry. Riflemen were located on the roofs near the tents to assure that if any inmates actually chose pull up a piece of rebar and attack the Sheriff that they would not succeed.
Sheriff Arpaio left the next day and took his riflemen with him. However, he left the tent stakes unsecured. The tents could not be secured. Inmates could lift up a tent flap and run between tents with the tent stakes or other weapons.
The tents were hotbeds of crime. Drugs were smuggled in, high profit and small volume make drugs a significant problem in jails and prisons across the country. Cigarettes were smuggled into the Tents. The cigarette butts were so plentiful that inmates would collect them as a punishment. Disturbingly, inmates would even smuggle fast food into the tent city because the discipline was that lax.
At the tent city, there were two detention officers assigned to guard more than 800 inmates and, when it was hot, they would stay inside the air conditioned building next door. This lack of security, in addition to the unsecure facility, and the loose rebar added up to a deadly combination.
One year after Sheriff Arpaio’s visit, the tent stakes remained unsecured, there were too few detention officers, and the Tents were hotbeds of crime when Jeremy Flanders was attacked with a piece of rebar which held up the tents. He was left with permanent brain damage.
The following articles about the Flanders’ case are available for review/purchase in the Arizona Republic Archives:
Arpaio faulted by jurors: Lax security at Tent City jail led to assault, Arizona Republic, 2/5/00, Section: Front, Page: A.1, by Senta Scarborough “Conditions at the Tent City jail were a cornerstone of Flander’s case. His lawyer, Joel Robbins, argued that taking away cigarettes, coffee and air-conditioning, coupled with lax security,created a ‘pressure cooker’.”
Giving Sheriff Joe a ballot box loss, Arizona Republic, 5/12/03, Section: Local, Page: B.3, by Richard Ruelas “Most of the abuse lawsuits brought against Arpaio’s office end with a confidential settlement, one in which the Sheriff’s Office accepts no blame. Flanders’ case not only went to a jury but was also unanimously affirmed by the Arizona Court of Appeals.”
Johnson, Eric (Civil Rights)
Eric Johnson was beaten and his arm was broken for using foul language. He had done so out of frustration for not being fed. His arrest was for failure to appear at a court hearing after he was cited for creating a wake in a no wake zone. For small crimes, jail is punishment enough without being injured and maimed.
Joe Assumes Deposition
Phillippi, Joseph (Civil Rights, Wrongful Death)
On April 6, 2009, Joseph Phillippi was admitted to the Maricopa County jail. He had a history of seizures and of taking anti-seizure medication. Mr. Phillippi was at a high risk for seizures without his medication. Even though the jailers knew that he needed it, Mr. Phillippi was not given his medicine. While in one of the unmonitored release cells, Mr. Phillippi suffered a seizure and was at the mercy of other inmates for help. He fell and struck his head against the hard surface in the cell. Emergency aid for Mr. Phillippi was delayed. Rather than send him immediately to the hospital as was indicated by his condition, the jail instead tried to kick him out and avoid responsibility for his care. Mr. Phillippi, a veteran, proud father and grandfather, had a massive subdural hematoma. He died before his daughters could see him. Like others before him, Mr. Phillippi died because jail administrators have refused to bring the jail up to standards.
Maricopa county jail medical care
Daughters Blame Sheriff Arpaio for Dad’s Death
Lawsuit says famous sheriff denied seizure meds to man who died
Post, Richard (Civil Rights)
Richard Post was a fiercely independent wheel-chair bound man who was arrested by “disturbing the peace” at an Irish bar on St. Patrick’s Day. Regardless of how much you like green beer, it is hard to imagine how a person could go to jail for this. What happened later was shocking.
Richard went to the Maricopa County jail and asked on numerous occasions for a catheter which was never provided. Eventually, he overflowed the toilet and was put in the “restraint chair,” a device used for isolating prisoners, but in Mr. Post’s case, it became a method of torture. Mr. Post, who was already wheel-chair bound, could have been handcuffed to achieve the same result. He was not a danger physically to any of the officers, but was being punished for overflowing the toilet. The officers who put him in the restraint chair pulled his arms down to the point they stretched the nerves in his neck and caused him to become a quadriplegic. The tenuous independence that he had once held was lost because of the actions of the Maricopa County Detention officers and can never be regained.
Lies and Videotape
The $8 Million Victim
A Hoss-Style Witness
Prostrollo, Jason (Wrongful Death)
Saban, Dan (Civil Rights)
Who dares stand up to Sheriff Arpaio?
Although many men ran against Arpaio for sheriff over the years, no one came as close to a win as Dan Saban. Dan Saban’s polls were showing that people liked him. He gained the endorsement of precincts against an incumbent Republican sheriff. Apparently, Arpaio couldn’t stand the heat. Arpaio and Hendershott launched the smear campaign to end all smear campaigns and dragged the name of a good man through the mud.
Below the belt
Court of Appeals Rejects Former Candidates Claims
Saban denied new trial in suit vs. Arpaio
Opponent taking Arpaio to court
Saban Drops News Station Suit: Former Sheriff Candidate Limits Action to County
Judge denies new trial in defamation lawsuit vs. Arpaio
Saville, James (Civil Rights)
For as much as you hear about Sheriff Joseph Arpaio being threatened by one group or another, many of these threats turned out to be nothing more than rumors (a “conspiracy” between the Mexican Mafia and the Arizona Minutemen which cost taxpayers over $500,000 dollars to investigate comes to mind). But in the James Saville case, the MCSO actually helped a convicted felon (fraudulent schemer) to bribe/threaten an 18 year old inmate into talking about bombs, and bribed and threatened the young man into beginning to make a bomb. The MCSO and the fraud schemer cajoled and even threatened the youth with promises of wealth and fame on the one hand and threats of death on the other. Once the arrest was made, the MCSO bragged about the arrest at a news conference. Jimmy Saville was found not guilty in the criminal case which was handled by attorney Ulises Ferragut. For the civil case, Joel Robbins handled the case.
A Phony Murder Plot Against Joe Arpaio Winds Up Costing Taxpayers $1.1 Million
Spencer, Ambrett (Civil Rights, Medical Malpractice, Wrongful Death)
A stay in jail shouldn’t be a death sentence for your baby, but that’s exactly what happened to Ambrett Spencer. An inmate in labor wasn’t important enough for detention officers to break routine and get her immediate medical care. Instead, though she complained of severe pain, a calloused sergeant decided she could wait until they completed the process of pulling inmates for court.
Arpaio’s jail staff cost Ambrett Spencer her baby and she’s not the only one
Tarr, Nick (Civil Rights)
Impersonating an officer, or retribution for opposing Arpaio? Decide for yourself. Nick Tarr, an actor hired to play the part of “Joe Arizona” for an upcoming ballot issue which Arpaio opposed, was arrested on Halloween day outside a downtown restaurant while wearing a DPS shirt with patches, a pair of Arpaio’s famous pink boxers, and a smokey the bear hat.
Sheriff Joe’s Nick Tarr-baby: Joe Arizona plots his revenge.
Enduring saga of Joe Arpaio vs. ‘Joe Arizona’
The following article about the Tarr case is available for review/purchase in the Arizona Republic Archives:
Attorney is Arpaio’s toughest opponent, Arizona Republic, 8/2/04, Section: Valley & State, Page: B.1, by Richard Ruelas “Arpaio is running for re-election this year, but his biggest opposition will come from Robbins, a 43-year-old attorney wih the expressive face of a slapstick comic. Robbins is suing Arpaio in federal court. That case gives him license to haul Arpaio’s top deputies into his office to testify about their activities, especially those that seem to dovetail with Arpaio’s politics.”
Vogel, Eric (Civil Rights, Wrongful Death)
Eric was an inmate who presented with obvious mental illness throughout the booking and holding process at the Madison Street Jail. During an acute schizophrenic episode, detention officers forcibly stripped Eric down and dressed him into Arpaio’s famous pink boxers. Eric screamed he was being raped, and he believed he was. This event was so traumatic for Eric, he died of a heart attack within two weeks.
Arpaio’s office wins lawsuit over jail uniforms
Shocking Pink: Arpaio’s Detention Officers Unnecessarily Terrorized a Psychotic Inmate
Court: No apparent justification for Ariz. sheriff’s office to dress inmates in pink underwear
Sheriff’s pink-underwear policy may be unconstitutional
Sheriff Arpaio’s Pink-Underwear Policy May Violate Rights of Unconvicted Inmates, 9th Circuit Says
New trial ordered in death of inmate forced to wear pink underwear
Pink underwear in jails draws censure
US Supreme Court declines to hear Arpaio’s pink underwear appeal
Sheriff Joe under fire for pink underwear and selling meals
Yanes, Delano (Civil Rights)
Two detention officers direct their own guilty verdict to an un-sentenced inmate in the form of a beat down–completely justified by the high profile nature of the charges that brought him in. Although Delano Yanes was acquitted of the crime he was arrested for, this grieving father was forced to defend himself in court against fictitious charges brought by detention officers with chips on their shoulders.
Man Acquitted In Son’s Murder Gets Big Payout
Sheriff’s officers at jail liable for beating
Detention officers hit with $855K judgement in abuse lawsuit
These articles cover various subjects in which Robbins & Curtin has had involvement:
John Curtin on Medical Malpractice-watch an ABC News video
AZ attorney general seeks solid protection against defamation suits
City council votes to spend more taxpayer money
Arpaio’s point man undeterred by critics
Lawyers, lawmaker say Arpaio is dangerous
Arpaio fires 2 top aides, including Hendershott, after probe
With released MCSO records, case-delay questions emerge
Deborah Braillard jail death lawsuit: Case goes back to trial after tied vote over $3.25M settlement