Judge plans to appoint monitor for controversial Arizona sheriff

PHOENIX Fri Aug 30, 2013 9:21pm EDT

Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio announces newly launched program aimed at providing security around schools in Anthem, Arizona, January 9, 2013. REUTERS/Laura Segall

Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio announces newly launched program aimed at providing security around schools in Anthem, Arizona, January 9, 2013.

Credit: Reuters/Laura Segall

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PHOENIX (Reuters) - A federal judge plans to appoint a monitor to watch over the operations of hardline Arizona sheriff Joe Arpaio, whose office had been found by the judge to have racially profiled Latino drivers during the lawman's crackdown on illegal immigration.

U.S. District Judge Murray Snow said in a court hearing on Friday that the Maricopa County lawman, who styles himself as "America's toughest sheriff," needed an independent check on his actions to prevent such profiling from continuing in the future.

"I intend to approve a monitor," Snow said of his plans, despite stiff opposition from the six-term sheriff of Arizona's most populous county. A ruling outlining changes to be made at the sheriff's office could come as early as mid-September.

Arpaio, 81, has attracted national attention with his get-tough stance on illegal immigration in Arizona, which borders Mexico. He faces an investigation and lawsuit from the U.S. Justice Department, which accuses him of civil rights abuses.

The same judge handed down a decision in May ordering the sheriff to stop using race as a factor in law enforcement decisions, in response to a class-action lawsuit that tested whether police could target illegal immigrants without racially profiling U.S. citizens and legal residents of Hispanic origin.

The judge, who ruled Arpaio had violated the constitutional rights of Latino drivers, had ordered lawyers for the sides to try to agree to steps to correct the abuse, but their efforts were largely unsuccessful.

Arpaio attorney Tim Casey told the court on Friday that he was concerned about a court-appointed monitor usurping the sheriff's power.

"Who will resolve the disputes with him?" Casey asked the judge during a four-hour hearing. The judge responded, "I will resolve the disputes."

Casey said previously that Arpaio had already taken strong steps to correct past problems, including stopping controversial saturation sweeps that targeted and detained immigrants. Those operations stopped in October 2011.

Cecillia Wang, director of the American Civil Liberties Union Immigrants' Rights Project, which represents the plaintiffs in the case, said the sheriff's continued opposition to a monitor was troubling.

"There really needs to be a way to make sure he (Arpaio) is not violating the Constitution," Wang said.

Arizona has been at the heart of a bitter national debate over immigration since Republican Governor Jan Brewer signed a 2010 crackdown on illegal immigration that was subsequently challenged by the federal government.

The U.S. Supreme Court has allowed to stand a part of the law that permits police to question people they stop about their immigration status.

(Editing by Alex Dobuzinskis, Cynthia Johnston and Peter Cooney)

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Comments (6)
hairy2xs wrote:
how many illegal immigrants of Japanese ancestor y are there in that county, or Scottish, Irish, African, middle eastern.

shows how stupid the judges are in this country and how dumb political correctness is.

they are on the border with Mexico, so it stands to reason that the vast majority of illegal immigrants are going to Latino.
that’s not discrimination, that is allocating resources where they are needed. it is not profiling, its just plain and simple reality.

Aug 30, 2013 10:38pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
AZWarrior wrote:
Big deal. He can send anyone e wnts to follow the Sheriff, just make sure whoever they send is in good enough shape to keep up with him. He doesn’t wait aroud for fools and his workdays are long and cover most days of the week. Good luck with that hate thing judge.

Aug 30, 2013 10:44pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
AZWarrior wrote:
Big deal. He can send anyone e wnts to follow the Sheriff, just make sure whoever they send is in good enough shape to keep up with him. He doesn’t wait aroud for fools and his workdays are long and cover most days of the week. Good luck with that hate thing judge.

Aug 30, 2013 10:44pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
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