Opponents of immigration reform like to treat Arizona’s Sheriff Joe Arpaio as some kind of tough-guy hero — Fox News today cut coverage of President Obama’s Nevada speech to switch to an interview with Arpaio. And today, Arpaio became one of the first to announce that he will be filing a lawsuit against Obama over the President’s executive action announcement.
But what Arpaio thinks is outside the bounds of the law is frankly hilarious, because the sheriff himself is in danger of being in contempt of court.
Last year, a federal ruling found Arpaio and his department guilty of racially profiling Latinos, and ordered mandatory reforms to prevent similar discriminatory behavior in the future. Federal Judge Murray Snow directed the department to implement in-vehicle recording devices and bias-free training for officers, and ordered a court-appointed monitor to oversee the agency’s compliance for three years.
However, Arpaio and his officers were hauled back into court in March, when a video surfaced of the department deriding the judge’s orders. In calling the hearing, Judge Snow wrote of his concerns that Arpaio and his department may have chosen to present “a paper appearance of compliance” while fostering “an attitude of contempt and subversion” toward prescribed corrective actions.
Since then, Arpaio and his deputies have not shaped up. New evidence — purses, cellphones, license plates, keys, IDs — have been found that was never cataloged into the federal case against Arpaio, and Judge Snow has reached his limit.
As Snow told Arpaio’s lawyers according to the Arizona Republic, “In opportunity after opportunity after opportunity, your client has violated the law, violated my express orders or subverted the investigation I ordered.”
Snow said he had the right, and maybe the inclination, to cite MCSO with civil or criminal contempt of court.
Maybe Arpaio should worry less about the legality of what Obama is doing, and more about his own legal problems at home.