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Arizona Sheriff Arpaio charged with criminal contempt

[JURIST] A federal judge on Tuesday ordered [order, PDF] Arizona Sheriff Joe Arpaio to be tried on a charge of criminal contempt. Judge Susan Bolton of the US District Court for the District of Arizona [official website] made the order after determining that Arpaio disobeyed a court order in a racial profiling case. This comes after Judge G Murray Snow requested [JURIST report] that the US Attorney's Office file criminal contempt charges against Arpaio. The criminal contempt charges are a result of a 2007 lawsuit claiming that Arpaio discriminated against Latinos in his enforcement of his immigration patrols. Bolton found [CNN report] that Snow had prohibited Arpaio from enforcing his immigration patrols where they detained persons without state charges, but Arpaio continued to detain such persons and deliver them to US Immigration and Customs Enforcement [official website] when there were no charges to bring against the detainees. Bolton ordered Arpaio's trial for December 6 in Phoenix. The charges against Arpaio could result in fines or jail time if he is convicted.

In May Arpaio was found in contempt [JURIST report] for disobeying orders to stop his immigration patrols. Last July the DOJ and county officials in Phoenix agreed to settle [JURIST report] parts of a discrimination lawsuit filed against the Maricopa County Sheriff's Office 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 US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit ruled in April of last year 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 reports] a pre-trial order accepting the other court's finding of racial profiling. In October 2014 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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