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DOJ settles discrimination case against Arizona sheriff

[JURIST] The US Department of Justice [official website] and county officials in Phoenix on Wednesday agreed to settle [press release] parts of a discrimination lawsuit [complaint, PDF] filed against the Maricopa County Sheriff's Office [official website] in 2012. The DOJ filed charges against the Sheriff's Office for discriminatory practices in traffic stops, work and home raids, and in county jails, as well as claims of retaliation. The settlement [PDF] reached with the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors [official website] did not address the allegation that Sheriff Joe Arpaio's agency racially profiled Latinos when making traffic stops in their effort to prevent illegal immigration. Supervisor Steve Gallardo [official bio] said the settlement is in the best interest of saving tax-payer's money by avoiding an expensive trial. The remaining issue will proceed to a scheduled August 10 trial in the US District Court for the District of Arizona [official website].

The US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit [official website] ruled [JURIST report] in April that Arpaio engaged in practices of racial profiling when conducting traffic stops and in June a judge for the US District Court for the District of Arizona issued [JURIST report] a pre-trial order accepting the other court's finding of racial profiling. In January, a federal court ruled [JURIST report] Maricopa County officials may not enforce two Arizona identity-theft laws used to convict hundreds of undocumented immigrant workers. In October of last year a federal judge ordered [JURIST report] Arpaio to undergo the same training as his deputies to assist in the prevention of racial profiling and unlawful detention in the Sheriff's Office as part of the ongoing case against Arpaio for racial profiling. In 2013 a federal judge ruled [JURIST report] that Arpaio and his department engaged in unconstitutional racial profiling during the execution of immigration patrols.

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