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Monday, August 17, 2009

O Arizona: "Wild West Style Standoff" Over Computer System Intensifies

Arizona sheriff prefers jail to handing over server password • The Register
A legal standoff has developed in Arizona between sheriff’s deputies and county officials over a management system overhaul.

Last week officers from Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office raided government buildings and took over computer systems shared between law enforcement and county officials.

Sysadmins were marshalled away under threat of arrest, while the deputies changed passwords on servers and secured rooms. County officials called in the judges for help, with superior court judge Joseph Heilman ordering control of the system to be handed over by next Wednesday.

However, Chief Deputy David Hendershott is holding firm, refusing to hand over the passwords even under threat of going to jail for contempt of court.

Heilman has held hearings on a dispute between the sheriff and the Board of Supervisors over the running of an integrated criminal justice system since April.

Kerry Martin, a lawyer acting for the sheriff’s office, said deputies had taken over the system to stop county managers applying a management system they disagreed with. Martin, repeatedly quizzed by judge Heilman on why it didn’t bring this aspect of the dispute back to court before acting, claimed that the deputies had the authority to take control.

The Wild-West–style standoff between sheriffs and county threatens local access to the National Criminal Information Center and the Arizona Criminal Justice Information system.
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