Joe Arpaio B-Day Bomb: Judge Wants Monitor in Melendres
Dennis Gilman Arpaio's Chief Deputy Jerry Sheridan after Friday's Melendres hearing: Sheridan still claims no racial profiling has occurred, despite the judge's order
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."
Retraining of MCSO personnel "needs to take place," Snow added.
He insisted he would be the "final authority" on the actual instruction and training materials used. In fact, Snow said he might have to observe the retraining course himself to make certain it comports with his ruling.
He also stated that he would allow the MCSO to develop the training materials, though presumably with his oversight.
The MCSO will need much better record keeping, he stated, and be able to identify the persons its deputies stop as either Latino or non-Latino, without invading the driver or passenger's privacy. The judge wants these records available to the public.
Snow went on to correct a misinterpretation of part of his ruling by some in the public. He had not enjoined the MCSO from contacting U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, if needed.
However, if the MCSO encounters someone they suspect of violating civil immigration law, they may not hold those persons. Nor may deputies detain them, waiting for ICE to arrive and take custody.
The MCSO can only hold persons suspected of committing federal or state crimes, including the violation of criminal immigration laws, according to Snow.
"[The sheriff's office] in my view cannot enforce civil immigration law," he stated, emphatically.