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Updated Jan 17, 2013 - 4:12 pm

Arpaio’s lawyers seek more latitude in DOJ suit

PHOENIX — Attorneys for Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio are asking a
judge for more latitude in gathering information and deposing witnesses in a
U.S. Justice Department lawsuit that alleges the police agency has racially
profiled Latinos.

The sheriff’s lawyers said in a court filing Wednesday that the Justice
Department has proposed a pre-trial plan that doesn’t let Arpaio’s office pose
more than 25 key factual questions in the case’s information-gathering phase and
limits the number of witnesses that they can depose to 30.

Arpaio’s lawyers said the Justice Department’s stance would put the sheriff at
a severe disadvantage in defending his office.

The Justice Department’s pre-trial plan noted that Arpaio’s lawyers want to
pose more written questions than normally allowed under federal rules, but noted
that both sides haven’t agreed on the number of additional questions.

The Justice Department said an increase in the number of questions allowed may
not be necessary.

The federal agency didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment
Thursday.

The sheriff’s office has denied the lawsuit’s allegations that Arpaio’s
deputies racially profiled Latinos in its regular traffic and special
immigration patrols and that his office retaliates against its critics and
punishes Latino jail inmates with limited English skills for speaking Spanish.

A similar lawsuit filed by a small number of Latinos who alleged racial
profiling in Arpaio’s immigration patrols was tried this summer by a federal
judge. That judge hasn’t yet issued a ruling.

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