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Lawyers to recommend punishment in Joe Arpaio civil contempt case

Lawyers for both sides in Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio’s civil contempt of court case will be back in court Friday to talk with a federal judge about what the punishment should be.

Last month, Judge Murray Snow found Arpaio and three of his aides violated a court order that the Sheriff’s Office stop racial profiling.  He then asked the two sides to make recommendations to him on what the punishment should be.

“When a judge does that, it shows that the judge is going out of their way to make sure that everything is done in fairness, and is giving both sides the opportunity to have their say,” said KTAR Legal Analyst Monica Lindstrom.

Lindstrom reviewed documents that the two sides have filed for the hearing, and said they seem to agree on the punishment for Arpaio’s Chief Deputy Jerry Sheridan.

“MCSO and defendant Sheridan have agreed for Sheridan to accept the discipline that was previously imposed, which was a suspension of 40 hours,” Lindstrom said.  “However, the parties did not agree on what should happen to Sheriff Joe himself.”

Lindstrom did not say whether the two sides agreed on punishment for the other two defendants, who are retired Chief Brian Sands and Lt. Joe Sousa.  Snow found three counts of contempt against Arpaio, two against Sheridan and one each against Sands and Sousa.

Lindstrom says we could learn what Judge Snow thinks on Thursday.

“There’s a possibility that Judge Snow will say that he doesn’t want to order up criminal charges for Sheriff Joe,” said Lindstrom.  “However, based on comments that he made regarding other defendants in day one, I think it’s likely.”

Lindstrom says Thursday is day two of the penalty phase of the case.  The first day was last month, when Snow asked the two sides to make their recommendations.

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