For Sheriff Joe Arpaio's 81st birthday, he's not getting 81 whacks on the fanny from federal Judge G. Murray Snow.
Rather, in a hearing today at the Sandra Day O'Connor U.S. Courthouse in downtown Phoenix, Snow signaled that he's inclined to give the aged autocrat something even less welcome, for the sheriff at least: a court-appointed independent monitor to enforce Snow's 142-page ruling in the ACLU's big racial-profiling case Melendres v. Arpaio.
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That ruling, filed May 24, found Arpaio and his deputies guilty as charged with prejudiced policing toward Latinos. As a result, Snow enjoined the MCSO from the practices that caused such blatant discrimination.
Today's hearing was held to discuss how to make the MCSO come to heel. At the outset, Snow indicated what he'd like to see in any draft consent decree, if both sides can agree to one.
Maintaining that he respected the sheriff's authority, the judge reminded the attorneys present that "the Constitution of the United States is supreme," and that he had the authority and the responsibility, "to ensure the constitutional rights of all residents of this county."
To this end, Snow explained: "It is my predilection to appoint an independent monitor."