Once again, Maricopa County, Az., Sheriff Joe Arpaio is at the center of political and legal controversies. Once again, it appears he will survive, reports NPR. Last week, a federal judge ruled that Arpaio had violated the civil rights of Latinos by engaging in racial profiling. Arpaio, the self-proclaimed “toughest sheriff in America,” denies the charge and intends to appeal. The Associated Press says organizers of a petition to recall Arpaio, who was elected to a fifth term last November, fell short of yesterday’s deadline to collect 335,000 signatures.
His opponents made a mistake in targeting Arpaio right after the election, says Michael O’Neil, a pollster based in Tempe. “This court finding would have been perfect — they could have said, ‘This is documentation of what we’ve been saying all along,’ ” O’Neil says. “But because they jumped the gun going after him prematurely, I don’t see anything that dislodges him as a force.” Arpaio is best known for enforcing immigration laws strictly — or overzealously, depending on your point of view. “All of the efforts to take him out of office have failed for one basic reason,” says Robert Blendu, a former Republican state senator. “He stands up and says my job is to enforce the law. If you don’t like the law, change it.”