PHOENIX — Lawyers in the racial profiling case against the Maricopa County
Sheriff’s Office were unable to agree on a recommended candidate to monitor the
agency’s operations to ensure it isn’t making unconstitutional arrests.
Instead, attorneys on both sides each recommended three candidates. U.S.
District Judge Murray Snow will use the list of recommended prospects to select
a monitor for Sheriff Joe Arpaio’s office to ensure it’s complying with
constitutional requirements and oversee the re-training of deputies.
Six months ago, Snow ruled Arpaio’s office systematically singled out Latinos
in its trademark immigration patrols, marking the first finding by a court that
the agency has racially profiled people. The judge also ruled Arpaio’s deputies
unreasonably prolonged the detentions of people who were pulled over.
Attorneys who pressed the case against the sheriff’s office recommended Robert
S. Warshaw, former associate director of the Office of National Drug Control
Policy, former U.S. Department of Justice official Joseph E. Brann and Tim
Nelson, who served as general counsel for then-Arizona Gov. Janet Napolitano.
The sheriff’s office recommended former New York City Police Commissioner
Howard Safir, retired Los Angeles police Command Officer Ronald C. Sanchez and
retired FBI Agent Joseph R. Wolfinger.
It’s not known when Snow will make his decision
Arpaio’s office isn’t barred from enforcing the state’s immigration laws, but
the judge has imposed a long list of restrictions on his immigration patrols,
such as a prohibition on using race as a factor in deciding whether to stop a
vehicle with a Latino occupant.
Snow later ordered the appointment of a monitor and a community advisory board
aimed at helping restore the public’s confidence in the agency.
Arpaio had opposed the appointment of a monitor, arguing it would mean every
one of his policy decisions would have to be cleared through the observer and
would nullify his authority. His office has appealed the racial profiling
finding and the subsequent ruling that ordered the appointment of a monitor.
The U.S. Justice Department filed a similar lawsuit last year that also alleges
racial profiling by Arpaio’s office. Its suit, however, claims broader civil
rights violations, such as allegations that Arpaio’s agency retaliates against
its critics and punishes Latino jail inmates with limited English skills for
speaking Spanish. Arpaio denies the claims.