Judge To Hear Closing Arguments In Sheriff Arpaio's Contempt Case

By Jude Joffe-Block
Published: Thursday, November 19, 2015 - 6:02pm
Updated: Friday, November 20, 2015 - 12:30pm

The federal judge overseeing the civil contempt of court case against Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio and four others will hear closing arguments Friday.

Since April, there have been 20 days of testimony about how the sheriff's office violated court orders in a racial-profiling suit.

This week, U.S. District Court Judge Murray Snow gave the parties a 10-page memo with questions he wanted them to address in Friday’s arguments.

Snow asked the parties about the number of immigrants who were wrongly detained by sheriff’s deputies in violation of court orders. He also requested more information on internal affairs investigations, including whether the sheriff’s office ever investigated certain issues. One issue was about a detention officer who confessed to transferring MCSO evidence to a deputy’s garage.

Snow did not seek any clarifications regarding the sheriff’s Seattle investigation that used a confidential informant named Dennis Montgomery. The sheriff has testified that Montgomery claimed he could use data he took from the CIA to prove the federal government was illegally harvesting Maricopa County residents’ sensitive information, but plaintiffs presented evidence suggesting Montgomery was also trying to dig up information that would discredit Snow and link him in a false conspiracy.

Arpaio and Chief Deputy Jerry Sheridan already admitted they committed contempt of court in March, so Snow will decide what remedies are appropriate. That could involve fines, changes to the department and more authority for the court-appointed monitor.

The judge will also determine whether Lt. Joseph Sousa, Deputy Chief Jack MacIntyre and retired Executive Chief Brian Sands are in contempt of court.

It’s unclear how long it will take Snow to issue his ruling. The judge has indicated from the bench that it will take some time to go through all the evidence. Later, he will decide whether to refer the case to the U.S. Attorney's office to pursue criminal contempt charges.