Nick R. Martin

Nick Martin is an associate editor at TPM in New York City. He came to the site in 2011 as a reporter for TPMMuckraker. Previously, he worked in Arizona, first as a staff reporter for a local newspaper and later as a freelance journalist. He also ran the news blog Heat City. Contact him at nick@talkingpointsmemo.com

Articles by Nick

There are times when Sheriff Joe Arpaio has seemed untouchable. In his nearly 20 years in office, he has survived political challenges, court judgments and criminal investigations.

But a ruling filed last week by an arm of the Arizona Supreme Court could prove to be a road map to the Republican lawman's undoing.

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A video uncovered by PBS's Need To Know and set to air this week appears to show US border agents from California using a stun gun on a Mexican man before his death.

Anastacio Hernandez-Rojas died in 2010 following an altercation with agents from the Border Patrol and Customs and Border Protection near San Diego.

The full segment is set to air Friday, but Need To Know has posted a preview online. In the video, Hernandez-Rojas can be seen on the ground, surrounded by about a dozen agents. He did not appear to be resisting arrest when an agent deployed a stun gun.

Watch the preview here:

George Zimmerman's neighbors in Florida spotted him with bandages on his nose and the back of his head the day after he killed unarmed teenager Trayvon Martin, according to a report from Reuters.

The account from neighbor Jorge Rodriguez and his wife as well as a neighbor who requested anonymity would seem to back Zimmerman's claim that he was injured in the Feb. 26 confrontation with the teen. Zimmerman told police he shot and killed Martin in self defense.

Zimmerman was charged with second-degree murder last week. For his defense, he is expected to use the state's Stand Your Ground law, which makes it legal to shoot someone if the gunman believes his life is in jeopardy.

Justice Department officials have had some tough words for Sheriff Joe Arpaio in recent months. They've accused him of civil rights abuses, threatened him with a lawsuit and leaked angry letters saying that they've run out of patience with him.

But amid it all, some of the very people the Justice Department claims to speak for in their civil rights probe of the Arizona lawman have told TPM they have little faith the federal government will come through for them. Not even a massive lawsuit, they said, will ease their skepticism.

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Several news outlets filed a motion on Monday morning to get Florida court records unsealed in the second-degree murder case against George Zimmerman, the man accused of killing unarmed teenager Trayvon Martin.

Judge Jessica Recksiedler sealed the case on Thursday after Zimmerman's attorney asked for the records to be shielded from the intense public scrutiny that has taken place since the Feb. 26 killing in Sanford, Fla.

The Miami Herald reported that prosecutors agreed with the defense attorney's request so the judge went ahead with it.

The Herald, the Tampa Bay Times, the New York Times, NBC and CNN all joined in the motion to unseal the records.

If the fact that she brought a second-degree murder charge against George Zimmerman earlier this week didn't make it clear enough, a Florida special prosecutor released a document late Thursday that makes plain she doesn't buy his story about the killing of unarmed teenager Trayvon Martin.

An affidavit made public by special prosecutor Angela Corey said her investigators determined Zimmerman, a neighborhood watch volunteer in a gated community in Sanford, Fla., was the one who pursued and confronted Martin.

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A high-ranking civil rights official on Friday called for the US Commission on Civil Rights to launch an investigation into "Stand Your Ground" laws like the one at the center of the Trayvon Martin killing in Florida.

Commissioner Michael Yaki said he would ask the commission to vote for an investigation at a meeting in May.

"The Trayvon Martin case has raised serious and disturbing questions over whether these statutes allow an unacceptable component of racial bias into our justice system," Yaki said in a statement.

Martin, an unarmed black teenager, was returning to his father's girlfriend's home in Sanford, Fla., on Feb. 26 when he was shot and killed by George Zimmerman, a Hispanic man who was acting as a neighborhood watchman.

After the shooting, Zimmerman said he was acting in self defense and police declined to arrest him, citing Florida's Stand Your Ground law.

"Allegations that shooters like George Zimmerman may have 'profiled' their victims based on their race and that stand your ground laws improperly protect race-motivated killings needs review," the statement said.

The man accused of second-degree murder in the killing of unarmed Florida teenager Trayvon Martin may ask the judge overseeing his case to remove herself because of a possible conflict of interest.

George Zimmerman's attorney, Mark O'Mara, said during a court hearing on Friday that he was considering asking the judge, Jessica Recksiedler, to leave the case because one of her husband's law partners is a legal analyst for CNN. The analyist is Orlando attorney Mark NeJame.

Additionally, O'Mara said his client tried to hire a lawyer from the husband's law firm before his arrest, creating another possible conflict.

According to USA Today's Yamiche Alcindor, who was in the courtroom, O'Mara said he would make he decision about whether to formally request Recksiedler's removal on Monday.

A Rasmussen poll released Friday found that a large number of Americans surveyed are still undecided on whether George Zimmerman should be found guilty of murder in the killing of unarmed Florida teenager Trayvon Martin.

The survey said 46 percent those surveyed were still not sure. Meanwhile, 30 percent said he should be found guilty and another 24 percent said he acted in self defense.

The telephone survey of 1,000 US adults was conducted Wednesday and Thursday.

Prosecutors announced late Wednesday that Zimmerman was being charged in the Feb. 26 killing.

George Zimmerman plans to ask a judge to set him free on bail next week, his attorney told the Associated Press late Thursday.

Zimmerman, who has been charged with second-degree murder in the killing of unarmed Florida teenager Trayvon Martin, has been held without bail since Wednesday.

But his attorney, Mark O'Mara, told the AP he would be asking for bail, probably on April 20.