U.S. District Judge G. Murray Snow just handed the ACLU, the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund, the law firm Covington & Burling, all Latinos, and everyone who has strived for justice in Maricopa County a reason to celebrate over the long holiday weekend by ruling against Sheriff Joe Arpaio in the big Melendres v. Arpaio racial-profiling lawsuit.
See also: -Joe Arpaio's Racial Profiling Trial Begins, and, Yes, He's Guilty as Sin -Joe Arpaio's (ahem) Legal Scholar Brett "Shut Up" Palmer and Flunky Brian Sands Under Oath -Joe Arpaio's Taliban, Nativist Steve Camarota, and More Problems for the MCSO -Joe Arpaio's Racial Profiling Trial Ends, and Yes, Joe's Still Guilty as Sin
Essentially, Snow found that the MCSO does engage in racial profiling and discrimination, and he has ordered it to stop.
The decision reads, in part:
[I]n determining whom it will detain and/or investigate, both with respect to its LEAR policy, and in its enforcement of immigration-related state law, the MCSO continues to take into account a suspect's Latino identity as one factor in evaluating those persons whom it encounters. In Maricopa County, as the MCSO acknowledged and stipulated prior to trial, Latino ancestry is not a factor on which it can rely in arriving at reasonable suspicion or forming probable cause that a person is in the United States without authorization.
Thus, to the extent it uses race as a factor in arriving at reasonable suspicion or forming probable cause to stop or investigate persons of Latino ancestry for being in the country without authorization, it violates the Fourth Amendment. In addition, it violates the Plaintiff class's right to equal protection under the Fourteenth Amendment to the Constitution and Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.
As a result, Snow is laying down the law:
"For the reasons set forth above," he writes, "Plaintiffs are entitled to injunctive relief to protect them from usurpation of rights guaranteed under the United States Constitution.
"Therefore, in the absence of further facts that would give rise to reasonable suspicion or probable cause that a violation of either federal criminal law or applicable state law is occurring, the MCSO is enjoined from (1) enforcing its LEAR policy, (2) using Hispanic ancestry or race as any factor in making law enforcement decisions pertaining to whether a person is authorized to be in the country, and (3) unconstitutionally lengthening stops."
"The evidence introduced at trial establishes that, in the past, the MCSO has aggressively protected its right to engage in immigration and immigration-related enforcement operations even when it had no accurate legal basis for doing so.
"Such policies have apparently resulted in the violation of this court's own preliminary injunction entered in this action in December 2011. The Court will therefore, upon further consideration and after consultation with the parties, order additional steps that may be necessary to effectuate the merited relief."
In this case, I love saying that I told you so.
Both before and after the civil trial in Melendres last summer, I noted that Arpaio was "guilty as sin."
And so he is. Whether or not there is an appeal.
The only thing better than this ruling would be the folks at Respect Arizona scoring the signatures needed by this May 30 to recall our racial-profilin' sheriff from office.
Who knows, this may be the last-minute miracle they need.
In case Snow wasn't clear enough for you slavish, nativist, redneck supporters of Joe, and for his deputies, below are the details of Snow's order.
Worthy of note, the prohibition that the MCSO is barred from, "Detaining, arresting or holding persons based on a reasonable suspicion that they are conspiring with their employer to violate the Arizona Employer Sanctions Act."
Whether or not Arpaio tries to get around that and continue his Hispanic-hunting raids on local businesses remains to be seen.
IT IS THEREFORE ORDERED that Plaintiffs are entitled to injunctive relief necessary to remedy the Fourth and Fourteenth Amendment violations caused by MCSO's past and continuing operations. The MCSO is thus permanently enjoined from: 1. Detaining, holding or arresting Latino occupants of vehicles in Maricopa County based on a reasonable belief, without more, that such persons are in the country without authorization. 2. Following or enforcing its LEAR policy against any Latino occupant of a vehicle in Maricopa County. 3. Using race or Latino ancestry as a factor in determining to stop any vehicle in Maricopa County with a Latino occupant. 4. Using race or Latino ancestry as a factor in making law enforcement decisions with respect to whether any Latino occupant of a vehicle in Maricopa County may be in the country without authorization. 5. Detaining Latino occupants of vehicles stopped for traffic violations for a period longer than reasonably necessary to resolve the traffic violation in the absence of reasonable suspicion that any of them have committed or are committing a violation of federal or state criminal law. 6. Detaining, holding or arresting Latino occupants of a vehicle in Maricopa County for violations of the Arizona Human Smuggling Act without a reasonable basis for believing that, under all the circumstances, the necessary elements of the crime are present. 7. Detaining, arresting or holding persons based on a reasonable suspicion that they are conspiring with their employer to violate the Arizona Employer Sanctions Act.
IT IS FURTHER ORDERED setting a hearing at which the above matters will be discussed for Friday, June 14, 2013 at 9:30 a.m. in Courtroom 602, Sandra Day O'Connor U.S. Federal Courthouse, 401 W. Washington St., Phoenix, Arizona 85003- 2151.
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