PHOENIX — Attorneys on both sides of the racial profiling case against
Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio’s office urged a judge Friday to accept their
differing proposals on how to address the court’s findings that the agency has
racially profiled Latinos.
One major point of disagreement is whether to have the judge appoint an
official to monitor the agency’s operations to make sure the sheriff’s office
isn’t making unconstitutional arrests.
U.S. District Judge Murray Snow has previously indicated that a court-appointed
monitor would likely be assigned to the case.
In May, Snow concluded that Arpaio’s office has singled out Latinos and
unreasonably prolonged detentions during its immigration patrols and regular
traffic patrols, marking the first finding by a court that the agency engages in
Arpaio’s office is appealing the decision.
The ruling won’t expose the sheriff to jail time or fines, but the judge is
expected to eventually decide on remedies to the constitutional violations he
Both sides had chimed in about possible remedies a week ago and provided more
detail on their proposals in court filings Friday.
The attorneys who pushed the case against the sheriff said a court-appointed
monitor is needed to ensure accountability.
Arpaio’s office opposes such an appointment and cited concerns about a monitor
stepping on the powers given to the sheriff by state law and the Arizona
Another area of disagreement was over a proposal by those pushing the case that
the police agency take steps to improve its relationship with the Latino
community by setting up a community advisory board and holding community
outreach meetings in certain areas of the county.
The sheriff’s office says the terms of the community outreach proposal were
beyond the scope of the case.
In their filing Friday, the plaintiffs said they expect it will take “at least
two years” before Arpaio’s office can fully implement many of the reforms and
proposed that “MCSO be required to maintain compliance with the court’s order
for at least three continuous years before the court terminates any provision.”
They said Arpaio and his office “have demonstrated a continuing reluctance to
admit to any wrongdoing and recalcitrance with respect to reforms.
“MCSO denies the need for a monitor to help the court prevent future
constitutional violations, opposes policy changes, training hours, critical data
collection terms, greater accountability through supervisory and disciplinary
procedures and other measures that are conventional in racial profiling cases,
and refuses even to try to repair the community relationships that its prior
violations have damaged,” lawyers for the plaintiffs wrote in their 30-page
Arpaio’s attorneys, in their 24-page filing, said “the appointment of an
`independent monitor’ in this case is redundant” and “will result in
unnecessary and undue expense” that could be at least $1 million per year.
They also said the plaintiffs are trying to “rewrite the entire operations of
the MCSO’s Internal Affairs division.”
An Aug. 30 status conference is scheduled to discuss possible remedies.