Feathered Bastard

Joe Arpaio B-Day Bomb: Judge Wants Monitor in Melendres

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This is a key point, as the MCSO has been using race as one factor in detaining people on civil immigration violations. Snow's ruling enjoins them from persisting in that practice.

This leaves open the door for the worksite raids to begin again, as the pretext for the MCSO's Hispanic-hunting raids on businesses has been state ID theft and forgery statutes, not civil immigration law or the state employer sanctions law, which the MCSO is also enjoined from enforcing against Latinos suspected of "conspiring with their employer to violate."

Stanley Young, lead attorney for the plaintiffs in Melendres, told Snow that both sides have been talking with each other, noting that the U.S. Department of Justice had filed a "statement of interest" with the court, asking to participate in the creation of a consent decree, as the DOJ's broader lawsuit against Arpaio covers some of the same ground.

Young asked the judge to give the plaintiffs and the defense till mid-August to craft a proposed consent decree. His opinion was that it was "possible to come to an agreement."

Arpaio's lawyer Tim Casey said his side was also "trying to work for a consent decree."

Casey then went through several recent actions by the MCSO to comply with Snow's order, such as terminating the MCSO's so-called LEAR policy, which allowed deputies to hold people till ICE picked them up, without suspicion of a state or federal crime being committed

(Note: LEAR, which stands for Law Enforcement Agency Response Unit, is an ICE program, where a law enforcement agency may contact ICE and have them pick up an alien in the LEOs custody.)

Casey mentioned the end of Arpaio's immigration hotline and the removal of the ads on MCSO vehicles promoting that hotline. The Human Smuggling Unit had been "restricted" and was in "a new unit," he informed Snow.

And the sweeps?

"Those have not occurred since October of 2011 and they will not occur," said Casey with finality.

"The MCSO is out of the federal immigration enforcement business," he assured Snow at one point.

Casey claimed that the MCSO has adopted a definition of racial profiling set forth by the Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies. Moreover, the sheriff's office would be creating a new staff position dedicated to complying with the judge's order.

"We oppose a monitor," stated Casey, adding, "We believe that this court should be the arbiter of what is appropriate or not appropriate."

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