Joe Arpaio on Trial: The Background File

Categories: Down on Brown
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Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio
Today is opening day of the class-action racial profiling lawsuit against Sheriff Joe Arpaio -- Melendres v. Arpaio.

The lawsuit, supported by the American Civil Liberties Union, is four years old, so we'll provide some of the background before the coverage comes in.

The Feathered Bastard posted a recap and some of the latest goings-on in March, and you can find previous documentation from the case below:

  • The ACLU's profiles of the plaintiffs in the case can be found here. Each of the five plaintiffs was either a United States citizen or visiting the United States legally, but for some reason, the Latinos had various questionable run-ins with MCSO.

  • Tempe University professor Ralph Taylor, a criminal justice expert, is testifying as a witness based on his analysis on MCSO's traffic stops. The ACLU's quick facts on Taylor's findings can be found here.

  • Letters written to Arpaio, as well as internal MCSO emails -- which the Feathered Bastard wrote about more than a year ago -- will be among the exhibits introduced. Letters to Arpaio from the Sheriff's fans complaining about way too many people who looked like "illegals" in their neighborhoods were actually acted upon. The internal emails, several of which stereotype Mexican-Americans, probably won't help Arpaio's defense.

  • This lawsuit also has implications for Arpaio's Justice Department lawsuit. The Feathered Bastard reported that Stanley Young, the lead attorney for the plaintiffs, explained that the plaintiffs in Melendres and the DOJ have a "common interest agreement," allowing them to share information.

  • The bill for the county in this lawsuit so far is approaching a cool $1 million.

  • Put that all together, and you get about 100 pages of racial-profiling allegations against Arpaio and his office:


Melendres Findings of Fact

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