NH Quoted in Articles & Books


Nick Hentoff Quoted in Darius Rejali's Torture and Democracy:



Nick Hentoff quoted in:

Lowenthal, 
Gary T.,  "Mandatory Sentencing Laws: Undermining the Effectiveness of Determinate Sentencing Reform" California Law Review (Volume 81, Issue 1, Article 2) (January 31: 1993)

The recent prosecution of a Phoenix house painter illustrates the effectiveness of these provisions in coercing guilty pleas. The state charged the painter with selling small quantities of marijuana to an undercover agent on two occasions.86 The painter insisted that he was innocent, the victim of a misidentification.87 Absent mandatory sentencing laws, he probably would have gone to trial to contest his guilt. If convicted, he would not have been a likely candidate for a prison sentence because the charged offenses were not especially serious, he had no prior criminal record and he supported a pregnant wife and three children. However, under Arizona's sentencing framework, the prosecutor charged him as a repetitive offender. A conviction carried a mandatory prison sentence with a presumptive term of seven and a half years. The state later offered to dismiss the repetitive offender allegation if he would plead to a lesser offense with a short jail term and probation. 88 Although he continued to  assert his innocence, he accepted the offer.89


86. The painter's case is described in a newspaper article co-authored by his lawyer. See Nicholas Hentoff & Christopher Johns, Packing Them In, ARIZ. REPUBLIC, July 21, 1991, at Cl.

87. The defendant consistently averred his innocence after he was arrested for the two sales. Interview with Nicholas Hentoff, attorney for the painter, in Phoenix, Ariz. (Feb. 2, 1992) [hereinafter Hentoff Interview].

88. The proposed plea agreement also called for community service and a stiff fine. Hentoff & Johns, supra note 86, at C2.

89. Hentoff Interview, supra note 87. The defendant was required to serve three months in county jail as a condition of probation. Id.



Nick Hentoff Quoted in The Progressive "Shock Value U.S. stun devices  

"Phoenix criminal defense attorney Nick Hentoff has represented dozens of plaintiffs claiming stun-gun abuse by Maricopa County corrections officers. He says the weapons were used "as a matter of course" to punish "talking back to the guards." "There's no doubt in my mind the vast majority of the time the stun guns were used in the jails as punishment -- which is illegal -- and not for compliance," Hentoff says. "I have no reason to believe that that has changed." In 1997, Sheriff Joe Arpaio signed a settlement agreement with the Department of Justice pledging ". . . non-lethal weapons shall not be used solely to gain compliance, such as using an [Electronic Restraint Device] as a come-along tool" and acknowledged that "neither passive nor active resistance are sufficient to justify the use of non-lethal weapons." In 1998, the Department of Justice certified that Maricopa County jails were in compliance with their agreement. But three weeks ago, Sheriff's spokesman Sergeant Don Rosenberger acknowledged that stun guns are still used to force inmates to comply with orders from guards. And when asked point-blank if the 1997 agreement had changed the way stun guns are used by corrections officers, Rosenberger said: "Nope."


Nick Hentoff's article cited in:

Hogan, J. Michael, "The nuclear freeze campaign: rhetoric and foreign policy in the telepolitical age" at p. 96, fn 68 (Michigan State University Press: 1994)

Page 96



Nick Hentoff Featured in Local 2005 News Report on Local Medical Marijuan Reform








Shootings spur cry for oversight

by Tucson Citizen on Nov. 14, 2002, under City/State

The Associated Press

The Associated Press

MESA – Activists are calling for greater oversight of law enforcement agencies after a group of recent police shootings in the Phoenix area.

Police agencies conduct two investigations after deadly shootings, and their work is reviewed by the county attorney. Critics say law enforcement agencies cannot objectively investigate their own employees.

Critics note that until last week when an officer was charged with murder, the Maricopa County Attorney’s Office had ruled every police shooting in the past 15 years as justified.

Last week, Chandler police Officer Dan Lovelace was charged with second-degree murder in the death of 35-year-old Dawn Rae Nelson, who was killed while trying to fill an allegedly forged prescription.

“If she hadn’t been an attractive blond white woman, it probably wouldn’t have turned out this way,” said attorney Nick Hentoff. “If this had happened in the barrio or if this had happened in south Phoenix, it would have been an entirely different story.”

Hentoff and other advocates say more oversight of law enforcement agencies is needed.

Tempe, Scottsdale and Chandler have civilian boards to give the community a role in evaluating deadly shootings. Mesa, Gilbert and the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office do not.

For years, activist Manny Cortez has pushed Mesa police to form a civilian review board. He said an outside presence would alleviate many concerns.

“If they had a review board that included private citizens, even if they came up with the same conclusion, it would hold more water,” Cortez said.

This entry was posted on Thursday, November 14th, 2002 at 9:09 am



Nick Hentoff Quoted in 1997 Washington Post News Service Article `Meanest Sheriff'


Nick Hentoff  Quoted in a Joe Arpaio Top Ten list from www.Arpaio.com


Nick Hentoff  quoted in news coverage of challenge to Jury Selection Procedure


Nick Hentoff Quoted in local News Report of Phoenix Crime Lab DNA Contamination.


Nick  Hentoff  quoted in article based on deposition of Sherrif Joe Apro's Chief Deputy


Nick Hentoff Quoted in 1997 News Column on Lawsuit Filed by the U.S. Justice Departmartment


Nick Hentoff Quoted in  "The Prying Game", The Phoenix Nw Times.


The Sheriff vs. Playboy 

The Washington Post
July 18, 1998 | Nat Hentoff

Sheriff Joe Arpaio of Arizona's Maricopa County prides himself on running a no-frills jail. Inmates are housed in tents and fed green bologna. I heard him recently on a radio program claiming that his is the only jail in the world with women chain gangs. He had already instituted male chain gangs. "I believe in equal opportunity," the sheriff explains.

In an attempt to ensure security in his jail, the sheriff decreed that the prisoners could no longer be permitted "sexually explicit" materials. "Sexually explicit" is described as "personal photographs, drawings, magazines and pictorials that show frontal nudity."

In 1996 Jonathan Mauro, an inmate, was denied having Playboy -- to which he had subscribed -- delivered to his cell. He filed a First Amendment lawsuit, Mauro v. Arpaio. In the federal district court, the sheriff prevailed. The judge agreed with Arpaio that such material could lead to conflicts among prisoners as well as harassment of female guards, creating "a hostile work environment."

An appeal was taken to the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals. In the interest of full disclosure, I should state that Mauro's lawyer was my son, Nicholas. During oral arguments, he pointed out to the judges that a statue in that courtroom of the Goddess of Justice -- her breasts bared -- would be banished under the sheriff's ukase.

Nicholas also noted that forbidden to the inmates -- under Arpaio's rule -- would be the National Geographic, medical journals and artistic works by such painters as Michelangelo.

The three-judge panel voted unanimously against the sheriff. Judge Betty Binns Fletcher, speaking for the court, said that "prisoners do not lose their constitutional rights merely because they are incarcerated -- although such freedoms are limited necessarily by the context of their surroundings."

In this case, the court noted that "although prison officials' opinions regarding security threats are owed deference, we question whether all materials depicting nudity are `reasonably likely' to be the cause of violence or a tool of harassment -- absent proof or reasoned explanation that this will result."

And that was the crux of the case. The regulation covered all frontal nudity, and thereby covered too much. Said Judge Fletcher: "Maricopa's policy . . . is overbroad and as such is unconstitutional.

"The blanket prohibition unnecessarily precludes prisoners' access to materials fully protected by the First Amendment . . . indiscriminately eliminating large categories of materials without individualized consideration."

The court's opinion includes part of the cross examination of Deputy Chief Larry Wendt, who offered the only more or less specific claim that removing the ban could affect jail security.

Shown a photograph of a Michelangelo painting of a nude Christ, the deputy chief -- asked if it would affect prison security -- said that two inmates, a devout Christian and an atheist, could get into a fight if the atheist said, "Look at the size of the genitals of Jesus Christ."

Wendt was asked if "a picture of a clothed Christ could incite a fight between two inmates"

"It could," the deputy chief said without hesitation.

The court was not convinced.

Because the regulation is so all-encompassing, the court said, it had no choice but to "strike it as a whole." But Judge Fletcher said, "Were the County to define `sexually explicit' differently or more narrowly, we would have a different case."

Sheriff Arpaio pledges to fight all the way to keep frontal nudity out of his prisons, including the chain gangs. His lawyer is asking for a hearing at the 9th Circuit. That failing, he may petition the Supreme Court to review the decision.

If that recourse is also closed, the sheriff might accept the three-judge panel's recommendation that "sexually explicit" be redefined to exclude materials that are protected by the First Amendment.

In view of the current backlash in state legislatures and Congress -- as well as the courts -- against the very notion that prisoners have constitutional rights, Sheriff Arpaio may have done an involuntary service to prisoners beyond his own jail.

By spurring a federal circuit court of appeals to say clearly that prisoners, just by being prisoners, do not lose their constitutional rights, they might keep some of them.

What should be considered now are Sheriff Arpaio's violations -- in his female and male chain gangs -- of "cruel and unusual punishment" under the Eighth Amendment.

Copyright 2009 The Washington Post