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Former Arizona sheriff found guilty of criminal contempt

[JURIST] A judge for the US District Court for the District of Arizona [official website] found former Arizona Sheriff Joe Arpaio guilty [order, PDF] of criminal contempt on Monday. The court found Arpaio did not comply with a court order to stop detaining Latinos based solely on their immigration status. The matter was presented before Judge Susan Bolton, a senior federal judge with the District Court for the District of Arizona. Bolton found that Arpaio, "willfully violated the order by failing to do anything to ensure his subordinates' compliance and by directing them to continue to detain persons for whom no criminal charges could be filed." Counsel for Arpaio said that they believe a jury would have found in Arpaio's favor and said they intend to appeal the matter.

This is the second time Arpaio was found in contempt [JURIST report] for his and his officers' treatment of Latinos. In July 2015 the US Department of Justice (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 2015 that Arpaio engaged in practices of racial profiling when conducting traffic stops, and in June 2015 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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