After years of controversy, Arizona immigrants and advocates are singing “ding-dong, the sheriff is guilty” after U.S. District Judge Susan Bolton found ex-Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio guilty on Monday of knowingly ignoring a court order to his department to stop racial profiling.
USA v. Joseph M. Arpaio was 10 years in the making and it did not disappoint.
The stakes were high for Arpaio, who was charged with criminal contempt of court.
The charges stemmed from Arpaio ignoring a judge’s order to halt traffic stops targeting immigrants. Arpaio argued the order wasn’t clear, but the court claimed he blatantly ignored it.
A damning highlight included Arpaio’s lawyer’s testimony against him, telling the court he advised MCSO that it couldn’t arrest people based only on their immigration status on multiple occasions.
The six-term sheriff virtually begged the U.S. Supreme Court for a jury trial initially, filing a 47-page motion asserting that failure to grant the beacon of tough-on-crime sheriff a jury trial would be “undemocratic.”
Ironically enough, Arpaio said he wished he had better relationships with the Latino community and considers it a failure during his time as sheriff. Many Latinos, and now the legal system, would agree that Arpaio has failed to have a positive relationship with the Latino community.
The Department of Justice began scrutinizing Arpaio’s conduct in May 2012, when the DOJ sued Arpaio for discriminatory police conduct toward Latinos in Maricopa County. The DOJ had previously slammed Arpaio’s practices in a damning 2011 report, which said his office had engaged in the worst racial profiling pattern to date.
Last August, an…
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