Former Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio plans to resume his bid to get a federal judge disqualified from a racial profiling case even though the lawman has been out of office for more than two months.
An Arpaio attorney said in court papers Friday that his client intends to keep pursuing his recusal request against U.S. District Judge Murray Snow, who ruled in 2013 that sheriff’s officers had profiled Latinos and last year recommended a criminal contempt-of-court charge against Arpaio for defying an order to stop his immigration patrols.
The contempt case is believed to have contributed to Arpaio’s crushing defeat in the November election against Paul Penzone after 24 years in office.
Arpaio made the recusal request the day after he was officially charged with misdemeanor contempt-of-court.
His attorneys argue the judge had improper private conversations with an official hired to monitor the sheriff’s office on behalf of the court, saying the encounters included discussions about whether the sheriff’s office had committed contempt of court. They said ethics rules for federal judges prohibit such conversations.
It’s the second time Arpaio has tried to get Snow to disqualify from the case.
The judge rejected the first attempt in July 2015 when the sheriff alleged that questions by the judge about secret investigations conducted by Arpaio created an appearance of judicial bias.
Earlier in the profiling case, Arpaio succeeded in getting another federal judge to recuse herself from the case after his lawyers questioned her impartiality.
Arpaio faces an April 25 trial on the contempt charge.
He has acknowledged prolonging his immigration patrols after Snow issued the order, but insisted his defiance wasn’t intentional.
He has pleaded not guilty to the charge. If convicted, the 84-year-old Arpaio could face up to six months in jail.