County settles other Arpaio lawsuit–mostly

The Department of Justice’s civil rights lawsuit against Sheriff Joe Arpaio, alleging a pattern of behavior including retaliation against the Sheriff’s political enemies, was settled on most counts by Maricopa County this past July 16. A bench trial had been scheduled in United States of America v. Maricopa County of et al (2:2012-cv-00981) to begin in August and to last 15 days. (Joe Arpaio is part of the et al).

Basically, the settlement agreement states that Defendants will put policies and procedures in place so that these abuses won’t happen again and promises to stop doing bad things. Some of the issues had been addressed previously by changes in the Sheriff’s Department, the Melendres lawsuit, and prior lawsuits involving the retaliation issue.

Some have expressed concern over the settlement because it does not bring the retaliation issue to trial. The private lawsuits over this matter were settled and the County paid out millions (about 12 and half); however, there was no admission of guilt and no trier of fact has determined that Sheriff Joe actually used his law enforcement position to retaliate against political opponents.

The original May 2012 complaint contained 6 specific claims for relief:

  1. Defendants’ law enforcement policies and practices violate 42 U.S.C. §14141 and the Fourteenth Amendment
  2. Defendants’ searches, arrests, and detentions violate 42 U.S.C. 14141 and the Fourth Amendment
  3. Defendants’ treatment of Latinos violates Title VI
  4. Defendants’ treatment of Latino LEP (limited English proficient) prisoners violates Title VI
  5. Defendants’ treatment of Latinos violates the Title VI assurances
  6. Defendants’ retaliation against their critics violates 42 U.S.C. § 14141 and the First Amendment

The settlement agreement resolves items 2 and 6, and references a separate agreement on item 4. Judge Silver has ordered parties to provide clarification of the nature of their settlement agreement, whether it is indeed a settlement agreement or a consent decree or consent judgment.

In a subsequent brief (ECF 401), Maricopa County states: “In its Motion for Stay, Plaintiff represents that, if permitted to intervene in the Melendres case, it will pursue no additional remedies in this case.” So there is a motion to stay the proceedings before Judge Silver in the DOJ case until such time as Judge Snow rules on the motion to intervene by the DOJ. Joe Arpaio agrees (ECF 402) to the stay.


The motion to intervene in the Melendres case was granted.

Read more:

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11 Responses to County settles other Arpaio lawsuit–mostly

  1. Sudoku says:

    I would like to see some big, fat admissions from the Sheriff. Not that it would change anything…

  2. Notorial Dissent says:

    What I don’t see, or understand, is how the county is going to comply, since they legally have next to no control of the MCSO, as has been proven time and time again. According to the state constitution, he is pretty much independent of them other than them having to pay his bills and for his screw ups, and they can’t refuse to to do that it would seem either. So how is this going to be enforced, when the MCSO can pretty well do what it pleases??

  3. bgansel9 says:

    Our County Board of Supervisors seems to give Joe a pass at every turn.

  4. Sheriff Arpaio is also a party to the lawsuit and the settlement.

    Notorial Dissent:
    What I don’t see, or understand, is how the county is going to comply, since they legally have next to no control of the MCSO,

  5. Notorial Dissent says:

    And he’s done such a good and thorough job of complying with all of them before?????

    Dr. Conspiracy:
    Sheriff Arpaio is also a party to the lawsuit and the settlement.

  6. Jim says:

    We’ll see how it goes at Friday’s status update…my guess
    1) DOJ allowed to intervene
    2) More bad news from the monitor
    3) Judge Snow tries to find out who was in the meeting about not turning over the evidence and which attorney advised it
    4) Sheridan should get at least a day in jail, after the nonsense about not following the judge’s orders (which was brought up in earlier hearings) and now this. It’s time for the judge to start making it hurt when these folks disobey court orders.

  7. The important distinction between a settlement agreement and a consent decree is that the Court has to sign off on the latter.

  8. The links to the settlement agreements in the article have been updated to the PDF versions on the County web site. They were password-protected yesterday, but not today.

  9. One of the most disappointing terms in this settlement is that for harassing and arresting his enemies Arpaio got off with a promise not to do it again. WTF is our Justice Department smoking?

  10. RanTalbott says:

    Reality Check: WTF is our Justice Department smoking?

    Pretty much the same stuff they’ve been smoking for decades. It’s routine in civil actions. Which are often chosen over criminal ones because of their lower standard of proof. If they’d tried to prosecute, they’d have to prove intent beyond a reasonable doubt, giving Arpaio the possibility of claiming “My people told me there was a real case there, and I believed them” (Sound familiar?) and being found “not guilty”.

    I believe I’ve seen it explicitly said that the feds decided the private civil suits had already taken care of the “penalty”, so they weren’t imposing a fine. While I don’t like that, the lawyers may know that there was some legal or tactical reason for it (e.g., maybe it would be imposed on the taxpayers, instead of Arpaio, personally, so it wouldn’t do much good).

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