Joe Arpaio, Jerry Sheridan Spanked by Judge G. Murray Snow Over Melendres Remarks
During Monday's hearing, Snow warned that he was willing to use the power of the court to force compliance if need be.
"I hope today will prove a valuable correction that allows me to enforce this order," Snow stated.
But he advised Arpaio, Sheridan and Casey that today's hearing had a specific purpose beyond taking them to task.
"It is to create a record," he said, "that you've been advised what is acceptable and what is unacceptable."
Both sides seemed to accept Snow's concept of a corrective letter. But Casey told the judge that he could not "at first blush" agree to Sheridan and Arpaio signing it until he had discussed the idea further with them.
Other issues addressed Monday involved the ACLU's problems with Arpaio's choice for the court-instituted position of "community liaison," with the locations and timings of community meetings and with the community advisory board he had ordered to be created.
Snow asked Casey if the sheriff, who is appealing Snow's decision in the case, was still opposed to participating in this outreach to the Latino community.
Casey indicated that the sheriff remained opposed to the MCSO's involvement in the effort.
The judge then suggested amending his October order to allow Warshaw to take over the duties of the community liaison, which are, in part, to organize and be present at the community meetings.
Similarly, the community advisory board, when chosen, could report to the monitor.
Snow said he would submit a revised order to both parties, allowing them to object.
Arpaio sat frowning throughout the hearing, and never addressed the judge.
Outside the Sandra Day O'Connor U.S. Courthouse, Arpaio said little to the press, just that the matter was under appeal. He then disappeared back into the courthouse, leaving Tom Liddy of the Maricopa County Attorney's Office to field questions.
Liddy was asked if he felt that Snow's order in Melendres was out of line and if Arpaio would comply.
"Yes, we feel that the order is out of line, therefore we have appealed," Liddy said. "If by out of line, [you mean] we think it could be better. Two, we will comply, the sheriff will comply, as the order is written, until such time as the Court of Appeals and the Supreme Court says otherwise."
Liddy conceded that many of the statements made by Sheridan to deputies were factually incorrect and would be corrected.
He also acknowledged the "tone and tenor" of Sheridan's remarks did not make it clear that every member of the MCSO "has to respect and comply with the letter and the spirit of this court order."
Had any disciplinary action been taken against Sheridan because of his remarks? Liddy said no.
Cecillia Wang of the ACLU's immigrants Rights Project expressed satisfaction what what had just transpired.
"We are pleased with what we saw in court today," Wang told reporters. "I think it's clear that the MCSO is not going to step out of line again. If they do, the court is going to use the powers of the federal court to make sure that the law is complied with."
Concerning what the judge could do if the MCSO continues to play games, Wang said that would be up to the judge, but that the court has the power to "hold MCSO and officials in MCSO in contempt," if they do not adhere to the orders of the court.
Overall, watching Sheridan squirm a bit was worth showing up for, but it was Sheridan who was squirming, not Arpaio.
As Snow himself pointed out during the hearing, this is not the first time the MCSO has failed to comply with his orders. Nor, I dare say, will it be the last.
We are talking about Joe Arpaio here. And he doesn't take kindly to being told what to do, even by a federal judge.
Got a tip for The Bastard? Send it to: Stephen Lemons.