Justice Department faces off in court against Joe Arpaio

Tuesday, September 7th, 2010 By

Photo of Joe Arpaio

Joe Arpaio is not facing his own criminal charges. CC by Jerry Nadler/Flickr

Controversy has been brewing in Arizona for quite some time. The issue over SB1070, which allows officers to check the immigration status of anyone they suspect might be illegal, is still unsettled, as the Obama administration has challenged the constitutional grounds of the law. The feud between the Grand Canyon State and the federal government has intensified, as the Justice Department is suing the controversial Sheriff of Maricopa County, Joe Arpaio. An investigation was being conducted on civil rights abuse. The Justice Department says Joe Arpaio didn’t cooperate in this.

Joe Arpaio discriminating

The investigation began into tactics Sheriff Joe Arpaio supposedly used. Apparently he wanted to “sweep” illegal immigrants by only targeting Hispanics, whether or not they were legal. The Los Angeles Times reports that Hispanic areas were targeted by the Maricopa County Sheriff deputies that stopped everyone for anything. When there with the people, deputies had one job to complete. They were expected to check immigration status. Doing this was expected of everyone. It was even expected before the Arizona immigration law was in place. The Justice Department requested documentation on these sweeps from Sheriff Arpaio, which he was loathe to comply with. Federal investigators weren’t given the material requested. There weren’t even allowed into the building.

No stranger to lawsuits

The Maricopa Sheriff has had lawsuits before. His jail is called Tent City and is made up of tents in the desert and high fences, and many have sued him for family dying in this jail. There is also an ongoing investigation into the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office including Sheriff Arpaio by the grand jury. This is happening, reports ABC, because of corruption. The Office got the request for materials and paperwork more than a year ago. The request came from the Justice Department., and a federal judge found the Sheriff’s Office had destroyed the documents requested.

Additional reading

ABC News

LA Times

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This post has 4 comments

  1. dprosenthal says:

    Not only is this latest suit a terrible waste of time and money for a govt agency that has more important things to do, it is an insult to the Constitution and an embarrassment to the entire country. Mr.Obama should try to get over his compulsive need to always win and realize that running this country is not a game.

    • PeterStone2112 says:

      Suits of this exact nature are supposed to be one of the functions of the Justice Department – when a state agency fails to live up to its obligations or to conduct its affairs legally is exactly when the Federal Government is supposed to act, and especially in civil rights cases.

      Recall the events surrounding the admittance of James Meredith to Ole Miss – the Kennedy Administration sent the National Guard to Mississippi to force the school to admit him, and people moaned, whined, and waxed stentorian about "State's Rights" – which at times is valid, but many times is a convenient excuse for bigotry, racism, and essentially everything wrong with…well, a lot of human beings.

      If it is the case that Sheriff Arpaio is obstructing justice, and illegally operating as a law enforcement official, there is supposed to be a higher appeal, which is the federal government. Unfortunately, so many people think that police should be excused from following the law simply because they are the police, which is disturbing. If the Sheriff is guilty of violating civil rights, there is a Constitutional obligation to ensure he does not keep doing so – such as the 14th Amendment among others.

      • Kevin Myers says:

        New evidence undermines feds' case against Arizona

        "Despite the splash of attention from the newest lawsuit, the Justice Department's investigation of Arpaio could end badly for Holder. When the Department first informed Arpaio that a probe was under way, back in March 2009, it sent a letter saying the investigation would focus on "alleged patterns or practices of discriminatory police practices and unconstitutional searches and seizures." But now we learn that just six months before that, in September 2008, the Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency, known as ICE, did its own investigation of Arpaio's office — and gave it a clean bill of health. Arpaio's lawyers recently got a copy of the ICE report through the Freedom of Information Act."

        Read the whole story – http://www.washingtonexaminer.com/politics/New-ev…

    • Martin says:

      Why dont you read up on arpaio and his crimes, not only against immigrants but US Citizens as well, the man is corrupt, thinks he is above the law, and doesnt have a problem charging people or I should say political opponents with bogus charges to get head. Maricopa County, his county has 40000 outstanding felony warrant that this idiot is ignoring just so he can get some TV time, he is quick to ask for papers but when asked for his own papers it takes 18 months and 2 lawsuits to get him to turn over PUBLIC documents, documents that belong to the people of the state of Arizona, NOT joe arpaio. get a clue, and think for yourself, stop listening to headless bodies in the desert.

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