Joe Arpaio, Jerry Sheridan Spanked by Judge G. Murray Snow Over Melendres Remarks
Sheriff Joe Arpaio and his Chief Deputy Jerry Sheridan appeared in federal court in Phoenix Monday morning to take a verbal woodshedding from U.S. District Court Judge G. Murray Snow.
Snow was ticked over remarks Sheridan and Arpaio had made to MCSO deputies on October 18, concerning Snow's findings and orders in the ACLU's big civil rights lawsuit Melendres v. Arpaio.
But the judge stopped short of finding Sheridan and Arpaio in contempt. Rather, he accepted assurances from Sheridan and MCSO attorney Tim Casey that mistakes made in that October briefing would not be repeated.
"Your order is the law," Casey assured the judge. "They will comply."
As a remedy, Snow asked the MCSO to come up with "a corrective letter" for his approval, one that would address the inaccuracies in Sheridan's remarks and state that deputies must use their best efforts to comply with his order.
Snow stated the letter should "be signable by both Arpaio and Sheridan," for eventual dissemination to all deputies.
"I intend to have my orders respected," Snow said at one point in the hearing, later accusing Sheridan and Arpaio of sending "mixed messages" and of having a "wink-and-nod mentality that this is a lot of 'crap.'"
The judge's use of that mild invective was a reference to Sheridan's comments to his deputies on October 18, prior to a crime suppression sweep of the West Valley, when the chief deputy derided the judge's final order in Melendres as "ludicrous," "absurd," and "crap."
At the same meeting, which was videotaped, Sheridan told deputies that "every lawyer that I've talked to [says] that it is Judge Snow that violated the United States Constitution," and that Snow "does not have the authority to do what he did."
Additionally, Sheridan suggested reasons why MCSO beige-shirts might not be able to comply with one part of Snow's order, which instructs deputies to do their best to determine the ethnicities of the occupants of any cars stopped by the MCSO.
At the time, Arpaio essentially ratified what Sheridan told deputies, maintaining that the MCSO had done nothing wrong.
"We don't racially profile," Arpaio said at the meeting. "I don't care what everybody says. We're just doing our job. We had the authority to arrest illegal aliens under the federal programs."