Arpaio Wants More Time To Respond To Contempt Ruling

By Jude Joffe-Block
Published: Thursday, May 19, 2016 - 7:12am
Updated: Thursday, May 19, 2016 - 10:39am

Lawyers for Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio are asking the federal judge who found the sheriff in civil contempt of court for more time to respond to the findings.

U.S. District Court Judge Murray Snow gave the parties two weeks to respond to his 162-page ruling released on May 13. Now lawyers for the sheriff are requesting 90 days to respond.

In a motion filed Wednesday, attorney Justin Ackerman argued the sheriff’s defense team needed more time to respond to an order of this length.

“As this Court must be painfully aware, the Court’s Order is 162 pages, containing over 900 individual paragraphs,” Ackerman wrote. “This proceeding also involved over 20 days of trial testimony amounting to approximately 5,000 pages of trial transcripts and over 300 admitted exhibits.”
Ackerman said this week the sheriff’s legal team is busy meeting with the U.S. Department of Justice. As part of a settlement reached last summer in a separate racial profiling case brought by the federal agency against the sheriff’s office, Justice Department officials are inspecting MCSO jails.

Snow had ordered all the parties to meet on May 31 to discuss remedies and turn in responses to his findings by May 27, but that timing could change if he decides to grant an extension.

Arpaio and three aides were found in civil contempt of court last week for repeatedly violating court orders in longstanding racial profiling case, including a 2011order to stop detaining suspected unauthorized immigrants who could not be charged with state crimes. 

The sheriff’s office never implemented the order, leading to unlawful immigration detentions for 17 months after the order was issued.

Snow found the defendants intentionally violated the orders, and that Arpaio and Chief Deputy Jerry Sheridan made "multiple intentional misstatements of fact while under oath.” The finding that the violations were deliberate could lead the judge to refer the matter to a prosecutor to pursue criminal contempt charges.