Racial Profiling Continued After Court Order, Former Arpaio Attorney Says

30 Sep 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

Former Attorney’s Testimony May Be Damaging In Sheriff Joe Arpaio’s Contempt Case.

And if it was anyone else – any other sheriff – and he had not resigned, we’d be saying there’s a good chance he’ll be prosecuted and go to jail. Tim Casey, who was once the head of a legal team tasked with defending Arpaio against racial profiling charges, said today that he dropped Arpaio as a client because the Maricopa County Sheriff couldn’t handle “being told what to do.” Arpaio is presently facing civil contempt-of-court charges in Arizona. He’s in federal court now (the civil-contempt hearing continues today), where Judge Murray Snow will decide if he believes Arpaio violated that order on purpose and decides to refer him for criminal charges. Plaintiffs’ attorneys allege that his deputies continued controversial immigration-enforcement practices even after a federal judge deemed those practices illegal and ordered Arpaio to stop.

Some of attorney Tim Casey’s statements seemed to contradict some of the sheriff’s own testimony and could be used to undermine Arpaio’s claim that he only unintentionally violated court orders in a racial profiling case. Will they want to prosecute a man in his 80s with a very high political profile and a penchant for convincing his supporters – and many others – that bringing him to justice is simply the Obama administration’s attempt to persecute a political enemy, a law enforcement official who is not soft on illegal immigration? Sheriff Arpaio, whose territory covers metropolitan Phoenix, faces a contempt-of-court hearing after he allowed his deputies to continue immigration patrols 18 months after Judge Snow had ordered them to stop. Casey testified on Tuesday that he had no less than three conversations explaining the judge’s order to Arpaio. “We’ve got to make sure HSU [human-smuggling unit] understands this right away,” Casey remembers saying.

The sheriff defied the order for 18 months, which is a key part of the contempt hearings, and could leave him facing fines or even being called into criminal court. Snow questioned Sheridan about the 1,500 IDs deputies confiscated during racial profiling traffic stops, further probing if the Sheriff’s department was investigating each incident. The sheriff is accused of privately investigating Snow to get him disqualified from the case and deliberately withholding traffic-stop recordings from the original profiling trial in 2013. For the second time since April, Judge Snow directly questioned MCSO Chief Deputy Jerry Sheridan about his knowledge of a confidential informant’s efforts to link the judge in a conspiracy with the U.S. It’s already been shown that Arpaio has used his office to retaliate against public officials (and perhaps even Judge Snow), and that his office has conducted improper raids and traffic stops in which Latinos were targeted.

He was compelled to testify when Judge Snow ruled the sheriff and others had waived attorney-client privilege on certain topics in the contempt of court case. Snow seemed interested in what Sheridan knew and when about informant Dennis Montgomery’s investigation, and whether the chief deputy’s testimony on the subject in April was accurate.

Arpaio, who calls himself “America’s Toughest Sheriff,” has already admitted to committing civil contempt by violating court orders, but he insists it was not deliberate. “I want to apologize to the judge that I should have known more of his court orders,” Arpiao testified in April. “It slipped through the cracks.” Arpaio’s chief deputy, Gerard Sheridan, and three other aides appeared in court again last week before Snow in the second round of contempt hearings. After the Sheriff’s office issued a press release stating he expected ICE would start refusing to take the immigrants he had detained, he implemented a “back up” plan where he took them straight to the border. He said he explained to the sheriff’s staff that under the order, they could only either arrest immigrants on state criminal charges, or release them if there were no state criminal violations. Casey testified he explained that meant the sheriff’s office had to abandon a third option of detaining immigrants and transporting them to federal agents for deportation.

A short time later, in the fall leading up to the sheriff’s re-election race in November 2012, sheriff’s deputies began turning over unauthorized immigrants they couldn’t charge with crimes over to Border Patrol, which violated the court’s 2011 order. Sheridan said when he saw that document he “probably said a bad word.” He testified that he said at the time, “I have never seen this document before, this is not good.” “That afternoon I asked you about Montgomery you didn’t mention seeing this document did you?” Snow asked. “You did testify that you hadn’t seen anything that would suggest I was…involved,” Snow said.

Casey said the sheriff seemed to believe he had the authority to continue using the tactic and argued that other law enforcement agencies were doing the same. Plaintiffs’ lawyer Cecillia Wang of the American Civil Liberties Union said the lawyer’s account undermines the sheriff’s defense that the violations were accidental.

He said two MCSO employees in Seattle joined the meeting via conference call and said Montmery was offering to investigate collusion against the sheriff by Snow, the Department of Justice and the plaintiffs’ law firm, Covington & Burling. “One or both of the fellows on the phone were reporting that there was this collusion that had an adverse effect on Arpaio, and it could be proven if MCSO would go forward with this guy’s services,” Casey testified.

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