ACLU Comment on Reports Justice Department Will Charge Arizona Sheriff Joe Arpaio With Criminal Contempt

Affiliate: ACLU of Arizona
October 11, 2016 4:15 pm

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WASHINGTON — The U.S. Justice Department is poised to charge Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio with criminal contempt for repeatedly violating a court order to stop detaining people based on their suspected immigration status.

The order stemmed from a civil 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. 

Cecillia Wang, director of the ACLU’s Immigrants’ Rights Project and one of the attorneys in the Ortega Melendres case, had this reaction to today’s reports that the Justice Department will charge Arpaio:

“Sheriff Arpaio’s conduct violating court orders was willful and deliberate, and therefore criminal in nature. Justice is well pursued through the criminal prosecution in this case.”

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