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Court critical of pink underwear for Ariz. inmates

Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio. (Photo by Evan Wyloge/Arizona Capitol Times)

An appeals court has criticized the pink underwear worn by inmates in Arizona’s largest county, as federal judges consider the case of a mentally ill man who mistakenly viewed officers’ efforts to forcibly clothe him as an attempt at rape.

The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals issued a ruling Wednesday that questions the legal justification in one particular case for Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio’s policy of dressing an inmate in pink undergarments.

The court says that dressing inmate Eric Vogel in the underwear appears to be punishment without legal justification.

Early on in his nearly 20-year tenure as sheriff, Arpaio won points with voters for making inmates wear pink underwear, housing them in canvas tents during Phoenix’s triple-digit summer heat, and banning cigarettes

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