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Hearing Scheduled For Friday In Arpaio Contempt Case

Sheriff Joe Arpaio
Paul Atkinson/KJZZ
editorial | staff
Joe Arpaio

Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio is scheduled to be back in federal court in Phoenix this afternoon after a stop in Cleveland to address the Republican National Convention. Defense attorneys are expected to argue over whether to refer him for criminal contempt of court.

Lawyers for Arpaio and Chief Deputy Jerry Sheridan have filed memos arguing why neither man should face criminal prosecution for failing to implement Judge G. Murray Snow’s order to end racial profiling. Both said civil contempt penalties are enough to right constitutional violations, and neither man has willfully ignored Snow’s orders.

But Snow said in his May civil contempt ruling that their actions were deliberate. This week, he ordered new sweeping reforms at the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office.

MCSO’s court-appointed Monitor also revealed that the agency is 40 percent compliant with a 2013 order. But good-faith efforts within the sheriff’s office have yet to be felt in the community.

The American Civil Liberties Union has said MCSO's rate of compliance is unacceptable, and it will soon file court motions aimed at speeding up the process.

Matthew Casey has won Edward R. Murrow awards for hard news and sports reporting since he joined KJZZ as a senior field correspondent in 2015.