Home / immigration / Judge: Arpaio’s deputies illegally stopped two Hispanics during raid

Judge: Arpaio’s deputies illegally stopped two Hispanics during raid

Maricopa, Ariz.  Sheriff Joe Arpaio prepares to speak to a crowd in the East Room on the grounds of the Nixon Presidential Library & Museum in Yorba Linda, Calif. on Tuesday, Feb. 8, 2011.  (AP Photo/The Orange County Register , Kevin Sullivan)

Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio (AP Photo/The Orange County Register, Kevin Sullivan)

A federal judge ruled Monday that deputies violated the rights of two men who were detained during one of the workplace raids the Phoenix area’s controversial sheriff uses to enforce immigration laws.

Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio’s deputies stopped Julian and Julio Mora’s pickup truck Feb. 11, 2009, near a landscaping company that was being raided in an identity theft investigation. U.S. District Judge David Campbell ruled that deputies had no reasonable suspicion that the Hispanic men had committed a crime or traffic violation that would have allowed them to be stopped.

The American Civil Liberties Union of Arizona and the ACLU Immigrants’ Rights Project filed a federal lawsuit on behalf of the Moras, who claimed deputies singled them out along a busy street based on the color of their skin.

Tim Casey, an attorney representing the sheriff’s office, told The Arizona Republic that the sheriff’s defense was hampered because officials couldn’t identify which of the more than 100 deputies at the raid had stopped the Moras.

“Without that, there was no testimony on why they were stopped,” Casey said. “It was lack of evidence. They won because there’s no evidence on that.”

The ACLU said Monday’s ruling could force significant changes to how Arpaio carries out his immigration enforcement operations, which have included frequent workplace raids and crime sweeps in heavily Latino neighborhoods. A separate federal lawsuit alleges Arpaio’s deputies racially profiled Hispanics in immigration patrols.

“For far too long, Sheriff Joe Arpaio and his deputies have carried out these worksite raids in total disregard for people’s constitutional rights,” ACLU Staff Attorney Annie Lai said in a written statement. “Today’s decision should provide some comfort to citizens of Maricopa County that MCSO is not above the law.”

According to Campbell’s ruling granting partial summary judgment, the deputies detained the Moras solely because Julian Mora told them he worked at the landscaping company deputies were searching, Handyman Maintenance Inc. They were handcuffed with zip-ties, brought to the business and forced to wait for three hours until deputies determined they had committed no offense and were legally in the United States.

“The overwhelming evidence in this case shows that Sheriff Joe Arpaio’s deputies had absolutely no reason to stop these two men and drag them off to the scene of an immigration raid.” said Cecilia Wang, managing attorney of the Immigrants’ Rights Project.

The judge found that Maricopa County is liable for the constitutional violations. A trial is expected to be held later this year to decide other issues including whether the Moras’ arrest was racially motivated, whether Arpaio and any deputies are individually liable, and the amount of damages the Moras will receive.

Copyright 2018 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.


  1. This is unreal.. Sheriff Joe deserves KUDO’s for doing his job.. They were let go so whats the big deal.. Moras should be proud of Sheriff Joe for doing his job. and understand that they were just doing their job. Did Moras have ID on him? I know if I was working at a warehouse and there was reasonable suspension that the employees, Black, White, Hispanic etc.. were involved in a Drug run or some other crime.. I would have no problem being detained for questioning. Birds of a feather flock together.. That is what any other American would do! They wouldnt SUE for having a police force or sheriff posse do their job.

  2. Somehow I think the ignorant Lisa Nicholson would be singing a different tune if she or a member of her family had been detained in handcuffs for three hours. FYI Lisa…it’s suspicion, not suspension and there was no “drug run or some other crime” involved in this incident. “Birds of a feather flock together” fits you to a tee, the “birds” being blindly ignorant fascists like you and Sheriff Joke.

  3. Criminals with a badge! WOW

  4. @Lisa, The big problem was that the deputies rendered judgment that the Moras wer GUILTY, GUILTY, GUILTY of being illegal immigrants based upon their heritage! In America, as citizens we deserve to be considered INNOCENT, I repeat: INNOCENT!!! until proven otherwise. Sheriff Joe and his deputies THINK that their doing their jobs, but they clearly stepped over the line. Welcome to Communist Arizona, comrade!

  5. Hey lisa since when was racism and racial profileing part of being a sheriff? Think befor you talk ******

  6. I am not sure why they were detained. If they had ID on them, this would not have been an issue at all. Most folks carry ID on them–if you carpool/bus/transportation, or in their car. Just curious, that is all.

  7. I was born in California and raised in Arizona. I have a very west coast accent and I love dressing up (even just to go to the grocery store). I usually carry my ID with me (except for when I misplace my wallet or leave my purse at home… Which does happens occasionally!). I remember an incident a couple of years ago when I was walking home to my off-campus apartment in the Tempe-ASU area when an officer asked me for my identification. He said that I matched a description for a woman that he was investigating. I asked if I was required to give him my ID and he said no. So I of course refused. (I got the feeling that I was being asked for my ID because of the way that I look)

    My family is South American and I have brown skin, black hair, and almond-shaped eyes. I’ve often been told that I look like I should have a more exotic name than Natalie and that I don’t look the way that I speak (I sound very American and I look very “un-American” I guess). At the same time, I’ve also been told that I have a slight accent (despite the fact that I was born and raised in the US and that I was not raised in one of Phoenix’s many cultural enclaves).

    As an hispanic woman raised in Arizona, I grew up experiencing many of the stories and hearing of the tragedies that are now barely making news. When I read this story, I was not surprised in the slightest. In fact, it pales in comparison to other stories from people that I know! I hope that one day Latinos, African-Americans, and Native Americans in Arizona will not be treated as second-class citizens because of our racial heritage. I hope that Latin American immigrants will not all be treated as “illegals” because of their accents or foreign traditions. I hope that their children (people like me) could be accepted fully as Americans without being racially stigmatized. I hope that our American society realizes that waves of immigration to the US (both legal and illegal) correlate with foreign policy and treaties (think NAFTA and what it did to the many corn farmers in Mexico). In conclusion, the short-sightedness from people like “Lisa Nicholson” will stunt Arizona’s cosmopolitan growth, civil liberties for all, and eventually our humanity too.

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