May 13, 2016

PHOENIX — A federal court has found Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio and his top deputies in contempt for repeatedly violating court orders to stop racially profiling Latinos as part of unlawful enforcement operations targeting immigrants.

The ruling stems from an American Civil Liberties Union lawsuit, Ortega Melendres v. Arpaio, in which a federal court ruled that Arpaio's office profiled and illegally detained Latinos, violating their constitutional rights, and ordered a significant overhaul of the agency’s policing practices. The civil contempt of court hearings arose after Arpaio and his top deputies repeatedly flouted the court’s orders.

U.S. District Judge G. Murray Snow today wrote that "the Court finds that the Defendants have engaged in multiple acts of misconduct, dishonesty, and bad faith with respect to the Plaintiff class and the protection of its rights. They have demonstrated a persistent disregard for the orders of the Court, as well as an intention to violate and manipulate the laws and policies regulating their conduct…”

Cecillia Wang, director of the ACLU's Immigrants' Rights Project, said:

"The court has found that Sheriff Arpaio intentionally and repeatedly violated federal court orders. His recalcitrance ends here. Strong remedies are needed to protect the community’s rights, starting with internal investigations that root out and punish misconduct. Willing or not, the sheriff will be made to comply with the law."

Counsel in this case are the ACLU Immigrants’ Rights Project, ACLU of Arizona, Covington & Burling LLP, Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund, and Law Offices of Jim Chanin.

The ruling is at: https://www.aclu.org/legal-document/ortega-melendres-et-al-v-arpaio-et-al-2016-order

More information is at: https://www.aclu.org/cases/ortega-melendres-et-al-v-arpaio-et-al

Stay Informed