The hearing for Joe Arpaio opened earlier this week, as the court has been working to determine if he is guilty of contempt. On his mission to fight against illegal immigration, Arpaio allegedly had cops search for and detained illegal immigrants. According to the courts, an order was sent out in 2011, to the Sheriff, to end his illegal immigration sweeps but he did not do so, until 18 months after the papers were served. Last week began a four-day civil hearing that would try Arpaio under the suspicion that he was guilty of contempt, stating that he did not follow the orders and rather told those under him to continue to do the sweeps in order to obtain their goals on illegal immigration.
Arpaio has admitted that he has done some things wrong, but does not admit that he is guilty of contempt. Though the sheriff’s attorney, Michele Lafrate stated that what Arpaio did, he did not do on purpose. The attorney stated that the sheriff had just been negligent in certain areas but that he was willing to fix things and move forward. In February the defense attorney sought out a settlement for her client, hoping that he could just pay a fine and put the mess behind him. If found guilty, the sheriff will definitely pay a fine and may even be criminally charged. Those who testified, such as Sgt. Brett Palmer, against Arpaio stated that he was determined to fight illegal immigration, and that the sheriff stated the purpose of the cops was to make him look good to the media and public. The source stated that Arpaio had cops set up road blocks and traps to catch immigrants who were illegal.
The Latin community worked hard to end Arpaio’s raid against them. They protested his methods and even asked for an apology after Arpaio was set to appear in court. Many have defended Arpaio stating that it was not his fault that the battle against illegal immigration was not stronger. A journalist at AZ Central stated that Arpaio would be regarded as a hero if the immigration laws were followed as they were originally written. With all of the debate over illegal immigration, however, the sheriff must face the court system, after continuing to detain illegal immigrants once being told to stop.
Now the road to the end seems anything but easy for the sheriff, with the new evidence that has surfaced against him. Though his so called “racial profiling” could have actually turned into a civil suit, Arpaio was initially charged for his refusal to follow a court order in 2011. But soon after, it was found out that he had actually hired a private investigator to look after federal Judge G. Murray Snow’s wife, a move which he may have used county funds for. The judge alleged that Arpaio may have also hired private investigators to spy on other public officials.
Though Sheriff Arpaio does not believe that he is guilty of contempt, his case has now been pushed back to June after all of the charges that were added to the case against him. Being in contempt of court, spying on public officials by using county funds, and even allegedly ignoring the orders on purpose could end up seeing Arpaio with a hefty find and possibly even time for criminal charges. Though the case was suppose to go quickly and smoothly, it turns out now that it will be a long and difficult process. After 55 years as sheriff, according to sources, Arpaio may not keep that title for long.
By Crystal Boulware