Arpaio federal contempt of court case stalled
By Katie Bieri, Cronkite News | Thursday, Sept. 29, 2016
Phoenix – Maricopa Sheriff Joe Arpaio’s campaign raised $725,000 this past month during the same period a U.S. District Judge referred the Sheriff’s legal case to federal prosecutors for possible criminal contempt of court charges.
The U.S. Department of Justice is deciding whether to pursue the case against Sheriff Arpaio who is running for a 7th term. The latest campaign finance report released Wednesday shows the Sheriff’s re-election campaign collected a total of $12 million in contributions.
The Maricopa County Board of Supervisors recently approved paying an additional $4.4 million for Sheriff Arpaio’s legal bills which now total $48.2 million.
U.S. District Judge Murray Snow referred the Arpaio case to federal prosecutors in August for possible criminal contempt of court charges for ignoring court orders in connection with the racial profiling case including an order to stop making immigration arrests that targeted Latinos.
Daniel Magos, 71, is part of the federal class-action civil rights lawsuit that alleges Latino drivers and passengers were targets of racial profiling.
Mago’s said he felt “humiliated, defenseless,worthless after he was pulled over by a Sheriff’s Deputy in 2009. He’s became a naturalized U.S. citizen in 1967 and flies an American flag outside his home. “The flag stands for all my beliefs about this nation,” said Magos. “Respect for individuals,” he said choking up as he recalled why he became a plaintiff.
Magos, who worked in construction, said he was driving northbound on 27th Avenue with his wife when a sheriff’s deputy pulled the couple over and demanded to see both of their driver’s licenses. “We were puzzled, and you know, we were afraid, because I had never had a brush with the law in that way,” Magos said. The deputy never provided a reason for his actions according to Magos. He said objected to when the deputy began to frisk him. “He proceeded to pat me down,” Magos said. “My legs and up. And in the groin area – and that was the most humiliating.”
The Department of Justice Public Integrity Section is now reviewing the case after U.S. District Attorney John Leonardo, recused himself from the case due to an unspecified conflict of interest.
“It’s more than unusual – it’s almost unprecedented,” said Mel McDonald, Arpaio’s attorney. “I have been scratching my head since the referral was made. We’re cutting new turf.” Arpaio, who easily won his primary and is running for a seventh term in office, vows to continue his legal fight. “He will never resign,” said McDonald. “We don’t believe that there will ever be sufficient evidence for the true effect to find that he was guilty of criminal content.”