Sheriff Joe Arpaio Repeats Request To Cancel Upcoming Contempt Hearing

By Jude Joffe-Block
Published: Monday, April 13, 2015 - 9:05am
Updated: Monday, April 13, 2015 - 9:07am
(Photo courtesy of Maricopa County Sheriff's Office Facebook)
Sheriff Joe Arpaio

Lawyers for Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio are asking a federal judge for a second time to cancel a four-day civil contempt of court hearing against the sheriff and four other officers.

United States District Court Judge Murray Snow set the hearing for April 21-24 once evidence came to light that Arpaio and others had seemingly violated court orders in a racial profiling lawsuit on at least three occasions.

Arpaio and his chief deputy, Jerry Sheridan, already tried to put a halt to this hearing once.

They admitted in a court filing on March 17 that they had committed civil contempt of court by not following Snow’s orders.

Arpaio and Sheridan suggested a series of punishments they’d agree to, including donating $100,000 to a Latino civil rights group and establishing a county fund to repay immigrants wrongfully detained by deputies in violation of a 2011 court order.  

The two argued because of their admission, the four-day hearing to determine if they should be held in contempt of court would not be necessary.

The judge said he'd only cancel the hearing if plaintiffs agreed to the proposed settlement, which they have not.

On Friday though, Arpaio and Sheridan filed another motion asking the judge to cancel the hearing.

This time, Arpaio and Sheridan clarified that they would agree to pay the proposed $100,000 donation strictly out of personal funds and would not use a legal-defense fund.

In a previous court hearing, Snow said his expectation of a fair punishment was that the sheriff would personally pay out of pocket and would not rely on his supporters’ financial help.

Snow has repeatedly warned that he may refer the case to a prosecutor to pursue criminal contempt of court charges once the civil contempt proceeding is finished.

The penalty for criminal contempt could include more fines or even incarceration.