Lawyer For Sheriff Joe Arpaio Asks To Withdraw
One of the lawyers representing Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio in his contempt of court case is asking the judge to allow her to withdraw from the sheriff's defense team.
Attorney Michele Iafrate's request comes after U.S. District Court Judge G. Murray Snow found she violated a court order by not disclosing certain information to the court's independent monitor. At a May 31 hearing, Snow warned he is considering including Iafrate in the list of names he may refer to the U.S. Attorney’s office for criminal contempt charges. The others in that list are Arpaio, Chief Deputy Jerry Sheridan and Captain Steve Bailey.
Snow also acknowledged in the hearing Iafrate has not had a chance to tell her side of the story yet, and said he could alternatively refer her to the State Bar of Arizona. The bar investigates alleged violations of the rules of professional conduct and disciplines attorneys.
The judge had previously ordered the sheriff’s office turn over all IDs sheriff’s deputies confiscated from Latino drivers. Last July, Iafrate and members of the sheriff’s office did not inform the judge’s monitor when one sergeant’s collection of 1459 IDs was discovered.
In the contempt hearing last fall, Captain Steve Bailey testified that after the IDs came to light in July, Iafrate said she was going to research whether they had to be disclosed to the monitor. Sheridan suspended internal investigations into the ID's.
Bailey, Iafrate and other sheriff’s personnel met with the court’s monitoring team soon after. The court’s monitoring team asked Bailey if there were any new investigations into IDs. Bailey testified that Iafrate looked at him and said no.
At the hearing on May 31 Snow said Iafrate should retain counsel and she said she had already done so. The judge also suggested she may not be able to continue representing Bailey.
Iafrate joined the case in November 2014 to replace Tim Casey who withdrew from the case. Maricopa deputy county attorney Tom Liddy also withdrew from the case in April 2015. Lawyers from the law firm of Jones Skelton & Hochuli have been on the case since June 2015. In her filing Iafrate said Jones Skelton & Hochuli will continue to represent Arpaio and the sheriff’s office.