Sheriff Arpaio Racial-Profiling Lawsuit Court Records Summarize Case; Read New "Findings of Fact" & Other Documents
Manuel Nieto Jr. and Velia Meraz are among the plaintiffs in the Melendres vs. Arpaio racial profiling lawsuit.
Image: Ray Stern
A truckload of paperwork was filed today in the racial profiling lawsuit against Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio and his office, including succinct accounts of the allegations and responses by both sides.
The case involves several plaintiffs, including immigrant Jose Ortega Melendres, but was expanded in a ruling by federal judge G. Murray Snow to possibly include any Hispanic stopped by the Sheriff's Office who alleges discrimination.
Snow's ruling and criticism of the Arpaio's office came about a week after the U.S. Department of Justice announced that MCSO had committed the worst racial profiling by a law enforcement agency in U.S. history.
With all the interest in the case, we thought we'd provide a little weekend reading for you. The filings comprise hundreds of pages of facts, motions and exhibits, and we figured we'd save you a few bucks by providing it all here at no charge.
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Start with the first two Scribd-linked documents here. The first is the "findings of fact" by the plaintiffs and their lawyers, who describe both specific and general racial profiling alleged to have been committed by Arpaio's deputies.
The second is the findings of fact by the sheriff's office. One part of this document we did manage to read all of is the sheriff's office account of the shady traffic stop in 2009 of two siblings, Manuel Nieto, Jr. and Velia Meraz.
When you read this MCSO account of hot-headed deputies drawing guns on two people, we couldn't help but wonder how Arpaio's office compiled the so-called facts.
After all, back in late 2008, when we were investigating the siblings' claims, Deputy Chief Paul Chagolla told us repeatedly that absolutely no written record of the stop existed.
Now, more than three years later, the deputies have concocted their alibi -- but the office's evolving story makes it tough to believe.
After the findings of fact, check out the 200-plus pages of proposed trial rules. There, you'll find all the statements about the evidence and witnesses expected to be presented.
Following that are a bunch of motions by both sides to exclude various portions of the evidence from the record to be reviewed by the jury.
For instance, Arpaio's lawyers want to exclude those letters sent to the office by bigoted citizens that seem to have spurred immigration round-ups.
We'll also be perusing these documents at our leisure this weekend, and we'll update this post if we see anything mentionable. Feel free to make use of our comment section if something grabs your eye.
By the way... The next action in the case will be a pre-trial conference scheduled before Judge Snow on March 23.
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