Sheriff loses bid to cancel contempt-of-court hearings

AP News
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Posted: Apr 14, 2015 6:19 PM

PHOENIX (AP) — A judge on Tuesday rejected an Arizona sheriff's bid to cancel contempt-of-court hearings that will focus on the lawman's acknowledged violations of court orders in a racial profiling case.

The decision by U.S. District Murray Snow marks his second rejection of Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio's request to call off hearings that will examine how his office ran immigration patrols for about 18 months after a 2011 injunction ordered them to stop.

Arpaio and his second-in-command, Jerry Sheridan, have acknowledged the violations and offered to make a $100,000 donation from their own pockets to a civil rights group in a bid to call off the hearings. The sheriff's proposal marked a rare public expression of contrition for the normally unapologetic and defiant lawman.

Three other Arpaio aides are accused of violating the 2011 order, but they deny wrongdoing.

Civil rights lawyers say the evidence will show the violations were intentional. They also say they will show what steps will be required to avoid repeat occurrences.

The sheriff's attorneys argued the hearings would unnecessarily waste hundreds of thousands of dollars of county taxpayer money.

The hearings also will examine contempt violations stemming from a failure by the sheriff's office to turn over traffic-stop recordings in the profiling case and for bungling a plan to gather the recordings from officers once they came to light.

The hearings are scheduled to begin April 21.