Former Arizona sheriff Joe Arpaio tries to keep Latinos from testifying
PHOENIX — Lawyers for former Sheriff Joe Arpaio went to court Friday to try to keep Latinos who had been detained in his immigration patrols from testifying at his trial next month.
Lawyers for Arpaio said in a court filing that letting that kind of testimony at the April 25 contempt-of-court trial would be irrelevant in determining whether he committed a crime.
The retired lawman, who ran the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office for 24 years, faces the misdemeanor charge for defying a 2011 federal court order to end his immigration patrols.
The racial-profiling case revealed that lower ranks in his office hadn’t been told about the court order so the patrols continued for nearly two more years.
Arpaio admitted in court in April 2015 that he continued the immigration patrols but he also said that he hadn’t understood the injunction so he ignored it.
If convicted, the 84-year-old could face up to six months in jail, but KTAR legal analyst Monica Lindstrom believed that was unlikely.
Arpaio was charged last October.
U.S. District Judge Murray Snow had recommended the criminal contempt charges after concluding in 2013 that Arpaio’s officers had racially profiled Latinos.
The trial was originally scheduled for April but was pushed back to because of the Final Four men’s basketball tournament.
Court documents filed in early December showed U.S. Department of Justice lawyers had filed a motion for a three-week continuance “based on the scarcity of hotel accommodations for witnesses, attorneys and staff and additional logistical challenges associated with the tournament.”
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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