U.S. Cases Grind on|Against Sheriff Arpaio

     PHOENIX (CN) – A federal judge Thursday allowed the Department of Justice to intervene in a civil rights lawsuit in which he ruled that Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio and his officers racially profiled Latinos.
     The 2007 class action accused “America’s Toughest Sheriff” and his office of racially profiling and arresting Latino drivers during traffic stops and in what Arpaio called crime-suppression sweeps.
     U.S. District Judge G. Murray Snow found that Arpaio’s deputies violated the Fourth Amendment, and ordered the department to take a number of steps to prevent racial profiling.
     “(T)he interests in ensuring the effective enforcement of civil rights laws, conserving the resources of the judiciary and defendants, and mitigating the risk of duplicative or inconsistent injunctive decrees all favor permitting intervention in this case,” Snow wrote in his Aug. 13 order allowing the Justice Department to intervene.
     The Justice Department and Arpaio settled a different racial-profiling case in July. That case stemmed from a 2012 lawsuit in which the United States said Arpaio and his deputies targeted Latinos for traffic stops, discriminated against Spanish-speaking inmates in jails and retaliated against critics.
     The judge assigned to that case, U.S. District Judge Roslyn Silver, found Snow’s judgment should largely stand for the Justice Department’s racial-profiling claims. Silver issued a stay in those proceedings while the Justice Department sought to intervene in the class action.
     “As a party in the Melendres case, the Department of Justice can now work together with the court, the plaintiffs and the independent monitor to ensure that the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office meaningfully implements the court-ordered reforms so that the constitutional rights of all people of Maricopa County are protected,” U.S. Deputy Assistant Attorney General Mark Kappelhoff said in a statement. “The Constitution guarantees that all people receive the equal protection of the law, and the department is now positioned to ensure that this important right is upheld.”
     Arpaio did not oppose the Justice Department’s request to intervene – somewhat grudgingly.
     “Although defendant Arpaio does not object to the intervention sought by the United States as set forth above, he does object and expressly denies the unnecessary and inflammatory language and other unsupported allegations set forth in the United States’ memorandum including, but not limited to, unsupported assertions as to ‘defendant Arpaio’s hostility to the remedial order in this case’ and completely speculative and unfounded allegations that the ‘consequences of his defiance of the order will be closely followed by not only the general public, but by law enforcement agencies through the country,'” Arpaio said in his response.
     Arpaio and four of his current and former aides also face civil contempt charges in the case, of failing to comply with Snow’s order. Contempt hearings resume in September.

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