Feathered Bastard

Arpaio Needs "Skin in the Game," Says Judge, Before Any Civil Contempt Settlement

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Arpaio, Sheridan and other officials face allegations that they did not follow Snow's December 2011 injunction regarding the enforcement of civil immigration law, and his orders regarding the confiscation of video evidence.

Additionally, there are allegations that they did not comply with court-ordered discovery.

As part of the sheriff's suggested settlement plan, Arpaio would make a public apology for his misdeeds, ask the county to set up a $350,000 fund for those detained unlawfully since Snow issued the 2011 injunction against the MCSO's enforcing civil immigration law, and make a $100,000 grant to a local Hispanic civil rights organization to be paid for by the "defendants."

See also: -Joe Arpaio Admits Guilt in Civil Contempt Case, Seeks to Avoid April Hearing -Joe Arpaio Tries Diverting Media from Guilt Admission, ACLU Still Wants April Hearing

As in a previous hearing, Snow stated that he would not consider a remedy for the civil contempt by Arpaio that did not address possibility of criminal liability, which hinges on whether or not the contempt was done "willfully."

Referring to a legal defense fund Arpaio and his allies have been pimping online and in e-mails, Snow wanted to know how he could be sure Arpaio was being personally punished as part of any settlement.

"I want it to come out of his pocket," Snow told Arpaio's criminal attorney Mel McDonald, "not the Joe Arpaio legal defense fund."

McDonald, a former U.S. Attorney, complained that the amount being considered would equal "a year of [Arpaio's] gross income."

But Snow was having none of it, pointing out that he was aware that Arpaio "had significant sources of other income," such as from books the sheriff had co-authored.

"$100,000 is [just] a number," said Snow. "But more than a number, I want to send a message to the sheriff, that comes from having a little skin in the game."

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Stephen is a former staff writer and columnist at Phoenix New Times.
Contact: Stephen Lemons