Arpaio Racial Profiling

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A federal judge ruled that Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio’s office engaged in racial profiling. He also ordered the sheriff’s office to stop the practice. JJ Hensley has been covering the story for the Arizona Republic and will tell us more.

Ted Simons: Good evening and welcome to "Arizona Horizon." I'm Ted Simons. A Federal judge ruled Friday that Maricopa County sheriff Joe Arpaio's office engaged in racial profiling, that the practice must be stopped. Here to tell us more is J.J. Hensley that has been covering the story for the Arizona Republic, and you have been covering this. This is a job I've been doing, give us an overview of what did U.S. district judge Murray Snow rule?

JJ Hensley: The overview is key, it's a 142-page ruling, very detailed. But the take away were the seven particular items, that he prohibits the sheriff's office from doing now, as part of his injunction. And one of them is, they cannot call ice any more, when they have someone detained on the side of the road without an underlying state charge, so, if there is no speeding or, or jaywalking or drugs, then, then there is no, no call to ice. And that's probably the most significant immediate impact. The sheriff's office is trying to figure out what this means for their enforcement operation, and for any patrolling that they mid do on the highways.

Ted Simons: Want to get more of those factors in a second but this trial is, is, and wrapped up eight months ago or something like that? What took so long for this ruling?

JJ Hensley: That's a good question, and a lot of people who I talked to said I was surprised it took that long and when you say, what do you think about the ruling? They were like, man, it was detailed, and I think that that's the key, he took, took point by point, through what they said on the stand, and went to the reference material that the sheriff's office provided, and that the ACLU provided, and then drew on outside resources, and was able to kind of take each issue and, and distinctly discuss it and look at the legal arguments there. And it's thorough and detailed, and I think that that's why it took more than eight months to come down.

Ted Simons: And just to be clear the judge really was the only arbitrator, correct? No jury?

JJ Hensley: No jury. Just a judge and a bench trial. They were asking for injunctive police to prevent the sheriff's office from engaging in this discriminatory policing, and that's what Snow has done.

Ted Simons: What do we know about Murray Snow?

JJ Hensley: He was a Bush appointee. He went to law school and undergrad at BYU, so, I would say that, that his point of view on a lot of issues should mirror that of a lot of Arizonans.

Ted Simons: And you said a detailed and comprehensive, was it a clear ruling?

JJ Hensley: Yeah. I think that it was -- everyone I talked to, who has got a national perspective on this, thinks that it's very, very thorough, a thorough rebuke of this inherent authority philosophy that we have come to discuss in Arizona, particularly in the last six years when it comes to immigration enforcement. Our local law enforcement agencies, do they have the inherent authority to enforce Federal immigration law, Kris Kobach, the Secretary of State of Kansas, the one who trained on this immigration enforcement, he says yes. Judge Snow says no. He took it point by point to say why that's not the case.

Ted Simons: Who are the plaintiffs in this case?

JJ Hensley: Sure, there is a group of, of individuals that started with one person who was here on a tourist visa who got picked up outside of a church in cave creek in 2007 as a day labor work site it, expanded to include five other plaintiffs, and then the judge opened it up to a class of all Latino residents, who were stopped by the sheriff's office since 2007. But, there was no money involved here, they were not seeking any monetary relief, just injunctive relief.

Ted Simons: Exactly what they did, and an equal amendment kind of thing.

JJ Hensley: A 14th amendment, and then a fourth amendment issue on search and seizure.

Ted Simons: So what was the Maricopa County sheriff's office, what were their arguments in this, and how much did the arguments wind up in that court ruling?

JJ Hensley: I think one of their main arguments was this is the way we have been training, and it came directly from ice, that we can use ethnicity as one factor in helping us to develop reasonable suspicion someone's legal status in the country. Judge Snow said, that might have been the training you got but that training was wrong. And it's been the training that you have operated under for number of years. And so, it's going to take some, some corrective action to rectify that.

Ted Simons: And again, can't check on the status of those not charge and you cannot use ancestry or race for law enforcement decisions regarding status. That's kind of the bottom line, right?

JJ Hensley: Right, that's the theme of this, that you should not be making any decision on law enforcement maneuvers based on ethnicity or race. And this came back to issues in the trial where there are letters presented to the sheriff's office from concerned citizens in the southeast valley saying that there are a group of Hispanic men standing on the street corner come do a raid, and with two days there is a raid, and, and so Snow took exception to that. And I think that really came through in this ruling.

Ted Simons: How much it what sheriff's office Joe Arpaio, who has never been shy around cameras and microphones, says a lot and is quoted a lot, how much were those quotes at play in this whole thing?

JJ Hensley: It ended up playing a big role, and that's why we may be haven't heard from him. He has been conspicuously quiet for him. But throughout the ruling Snow would take the statements that Joe Arpaio made in 2007, 2008, 2009 and contrast them with what his deputies or he, himself, was trying to say on the stand, and basically, said that these can't both be true. Is, your contemporaneous statements that this is a pure immigration enforcement effort that is the only one that really targets illegal immigration in the United States when he launched this. That's really what snow kind of hung his hat on and it came back to bite the sheriff.

Ted Simons: So this comprehensive ruling, this detail and clarity, are we like to see an appeal?

JJ Hensley: They promised to appeal. And the legal experts, I guess, who reviewed this say that there is not a lot of room for appeal here, that it's factually based, not on snow's point of view or his judicial philosophy, and so it's going to be tough, but they vowed to appeal, and you know, when you listen to Joe Arpaio's attorney, it sounds like he wants to take it all the way to the supreme court.

Ted Simons: Last question, speaking of the department of Justice case, that's still out here, how does this impact that case?

JJ Hensley: I think that in one, one immediate potential significant way, immediately. There is a hearing coming up on June 14th where they are going to talk about remedies, you know, where the ACLU will come in with its proposed remedies, MCSO will say we can't stand for that, and the judge will determine who is right there. Among those things, he could appoint monitor there to oversee this, and that's an issue that's been the subject of the main dispute between the Justice Department and MCSO on their civil rights' lawsuit. So, let's say Snow appoints a, a monitor and, and suddenly, that issue is resolved with DOJ so, it could be an issue where, where some of the remedies that are ordered here, resolve some of the issues that, that are in dispute in that case.

Ted Simons: So instead of piling on evidence, it, basically, kind of runs the back door here and, and takes care of some of the remedies?

JJ Hensley: Yeah. But, I mean, we have got another what, we waited eight months for this, so, we'll wait another three weeks.

Ted Simons: But we have got to keep busy. Thanks so much, great stuff and good to have you here.

JJ Hensley: My pleasure.

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