Sherrif Joe Arpaio, the self-styled “toughest” sheriff in the country, is going on trial. He had been warned not to detain immigrants just because they lacked legal status. The order came from U.S. District Judge Murray Snow after the deputies had detained several Mexican-American citizens and Mexicans here on lawful visas. Sheriff Joe, the toughest sheriff in the country, disregarded the order for some 18 months. His deputies continued to detain immigrants. The judge said the Sheriff’s office was engaging in racial profiling. I wrote about that ruling here and here. Sheriff Arpaio hired a private investigator once to investigate Judge Snow’s wife. He famously claimed he would investigate Pres. Obama’s birth records. He has always courted the news whenever he could.
The current trial results from the Department of Justice charging the sheriff with criminal contempt. He could be punished with a fine or prison up to six months. See NPR news report. The toughest sheriff in the country lost his bid for re-election last November. This may be his last opportunity to garner further headlines.
The toughest sheriff lost his first motion to recuse Judge Snow in 2015. He appealed to the Ninth Circuit and lost. He later filed a second motion to recuse Judge Snow in 2016. But, the criminal contempt is proceeding under a different federal judge, Susan Bolton. See KJZZ news report.
Judge Snow was the second federal judge assigned to the racial profiling case. Sheriff Arpaio succeeded in getting removed a Mexican-American judge initially assigned to the case. But, more importantly, he uses these challenges with the federal judges as fodder for fund-rasinng. It was successful tactic to talk about his confrontations with the feds. Now, it seems that one fed will confront him.