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Arizona sheriff opposes appointment of monitor

Joe Arpaio

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

Outspoken Arizona Sheriff Joe Arpaio is opposing the appointment of an independent monitor and other moves to address a judge’s finding that his agency racially profiled Latinos, according to a court filing on Friday.

The move could result in a judge ordering the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office to comply with constitutional requirements that ban the practice.

In May, U.S. District Judge Murray Snow found that Arpaio’s office singled out Latinos, and that deputies unreasonably prolonged detentions, marking the first finding by a court that the agency engages in racial profiling.

Arpaio’s office is appealing.

Snow delayed issuing orders in the case in June after both parties indicated they wanted time to work toward an agreement.

The joint filing on Friday indicated the judge would have to provide more guidance during an Aug. 30 status conference given the lack of agreement on a proposed consent decree.

In the filing, the parties indicated they have “engaged in good faith discussions” and were able to reach agreement on some terms but remained at odds over several major points, including having a court-appointed monitor oversee the department’s compliance with the court’s ruling.

Snow’s May ruling came after a small group of Latinos sued the Sheriff’s Office for violating their constitutional rights.

The sheriff rejected a similar proposal last year when the U.S. Justice Department leveled racial profiling allegations against the agency.

Arpaio says allowing a monitor means every policy decision would have to be cleared through an observer and would nullify his authority.

“If the court were to appoint a monitor, the role and authority of such monitor must be reconciled so that the monitor’s role does not supplant the elected sheriff’s authority under the Arizona Constitution and Arizona statute,” lawyers wrote in the latest filing.

However, during the June hearing, Judge Snow made it clear that he planned to assign a federal monitor who would have significant authority to oversee retraining of deputies, among other changes at the office.

Arpaio’s office also opposes the plaintiffs’ proposal to create an advisory board aimed at improving the department’s relationship with the Latino community, as well as an effort it said would force deputies to “subjectively guess as to the race of a driver or passenger.”

Maricopa County Supervisor Mary Rose Wilcox said she wasn’t surprised by the sheriff’s reluctance to agree to key terms but added, “the remedies are coming, like it or not.”

“Without a monitor, who can trust the agreements are being met?” she asked.

Judge Snow’s ruling doesn’t altogether bar Arpaio, 81, from enforcing the state’s immigration laws, but it does impose a long list of restrictions on the patrols. They include prohibitions on using race as a factor in deciding whether to stop a vehicle with a Latino occupant and on detaining Latino passengers only on the suspicion that they’re in the country illegally.

The case that led to Snow’s ruling focused on Latinos who were stopped during both routine traffic patrols and special immigration patrols known as sweeps.

During the sweeps, deputies flood an area of a city — in some cases, heavily Latino areas — over several days to seek out traffic violators and arrest other offenders. Immigrants who were in the country illegally accounted for 57 percent of the 1,500 people arrested in the 20 sweeps conducted by Arpaio’s office since January 2008.

The federal Justice Department filed a lawsuit last year that also alleges racial profiling in Arpaio’s immigration patrols. The federal government’s suit, however, claims broader civil rights violations, such as allegations that Arpaio’s office retaliates against its critics and punishes Latino jail inmates with limited English skills for speaking Spanish. Arpaio has denied the claims.

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

5 comments

  1. The racial profiling practices in the MCSO, under the leadership of Sheriff Arpaio, are being dealt with whether Arpaio wants it to or not. He earned the monitoring. The greater crime is against innocent children. The Sheriff was and could still be neglectful in investigating child sex crimes. We, today, do not know what improvements in the investigative process have been made and whether or not any of the child predators were convicted of their crimes. Leads one to wonder whether crimes are investigated and whether convictions are successful. We probably need this area more closely monitored too!

  2. I live in Maricopa county and have been here since before Joe was elected. I think that its important to remember that this is not Joe’s first brush with the law. He failed to implement any changes after the first incident and about the only thing that happened is that the sheriff was seen on a number of occasions saying that the department does not racially profile. It was clear, however, if you read the findings of the latest brush with the law that nothing had changed and that many in the department were indeed racially profiling. The use of a monitor is not something that was recommended as a remedy to a first infraction but has come after problems were clearly pointed out and after nothing was done even to attempt to understand or define the nature of the problems that were reported. I support the use of a monitor as it is clear that without accountability that nothing has happened and I don’t sense that without accountability that anything will change to bring some good out of this situation. If Joe disagrees with the monitor he should have recourse to go to the courts like anyone else who has a brush with the law. I do believe that in addition to showing a remarkable ability to communicate the legal questions that are involved that the judge has shown something that sometimes is lacking in other proceedings, that is wisdom. Thank you U.S. District Judge Murray Snow; I have no doubt that you are doing and will do the right thing.

  3. Shameful and unconscionable, letting over 430 violent predators running lose, while joined at the hip with MCAO.

    Sheriff Arpaio’s over 430 un-investigated child sex crimes cases, a murder and more. Read the book.

    “IF THERE WERE ANY VICTIMS..?” by Bill Louis, retired police chief, author

    http://www.iftherewereanyvictims.com/

  4. The sheriff NEEDS a monitor! This reign of injustice and terror must end!

    The taxpayers cannot sustain the wasted hundreds of millions of dollars in unnecessary lawsuits because of their abuse of power. Taxpayers will be paying for these damages for decades.

    MCBOS, Legislators, It is time for TERM LIMITS FOR COUNTY SHERIFFS AND COUNTY ATTORNEYS, who have had entrenched power for too many years / decades!

  5. This sounds like the marching orders for the surveillance of a County Sheriff came from the misinformed office of POTUS Obama. In the USA County Sheriffs have privileges that usually give them protection against the POLITICOS. The Office of Sheriff in any Jurisdiction generally provide them ancient Common Law privileges and protections not granted to other Law Enforcement Entities.

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