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MCSO Court Hearing Held Behind Closed Doors

Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio appeared in federal court on Wednesday for a hearing related to the racial profiling case against him. But what happened in the courtroom is a mystery.

Court records indicated there would be only one hearing in the racial profiling case against the Maricopa County Sheriff's Office on Wednesday — a meeting about county payments for the court-appointed monitor.

But when that meeting ended, Judge Murray Snow said there would be a second hearing.

That’s when Sheriff Joe Arpaio appeared with an entourage, including two men from his internal affairs staff.

Snow said because the hearing had to do with specific MCSO operations, he was granting the sheriff’s request to clear the room and hold the proceedings under seal.

That meant reporters had to leave the courtroom. The closed-door meeting ended some two hours later, but reporters couldn’t find out even the topic of the discussion from the sheriff’s attorney, Tom Liddy.

“No one is permitted to speak about it all,” Liddy said.

The only people who know what happened in that meeting are the judge, the court-appointed monitor, attorneys with the American Civil Liberties Union who are the plaintiffs in the case, the sheriff and his attorneys, and the respective staff members of those parties.

It’s not clear when or if details from the private hearing will be made public.

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