KJZZ is a service of Rio Salado College,
and Maricopa Community Colleges

Copyright © 2024 KJZZ/Rio Salado College/MCCCD
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Arpaio Facing Contempt Of Court: 2015 Continuing Coverage

Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio built a national reputation on his hard-line approach to law enforcement, particularly when it comes to illegal immigration. But now the outspoken Arizona sheriff is facing mounting legal troubles for that stance.

In 2013, a federal judge ruled Arpaio’s zealous immigration enforcement tactics illegally discriminated against Latinos. The judge ordered sweeping changes to stop the sheriff’s office from racial profiling. But a year later, evidence surfaced revealing the sheriff’s office had disobeyed a number of court orders. MCSO had ignored a court injunction to stop enforcing federal immigration law, and withheld key video evidence in the trial.

In February 2015 one of the most-watched racial profiling cases in the country took a dramatic turn: the judge ordered a contempt of court hearing against Arpaio and four of his top officers. The six-term sheriff and his team could face hefty fines if found in civil contempt; the judge has also threatened the pursuit of federal criminal contempt charges.

The civil contempt case was peppered with startling twists. There were revelations of Arpaio’s secret investigations, including possible efforts to investigate the federal judge in an effort to discredit him. There were allegations the sheriff’s staff tried to obtain stolen CIA files. And the sheriff’s own former lawyer was forced to testify.

The contempt hearing began in April 2015 and was drawn out for seven months as more evidence surfaced. The judge could rule any day now.

This submission is a single audio file that includes several stories from the ongoing series that aired in 2015. To see our interactive timeline and full coverage, please follow the link below.

Jude Joffe-Block was a senior field correspondent at KJZZ from 2010 to 2017.