The former Maricopa County sheriff emerges as head of a conservative non-profit.
1 of 10
Arizona Republic columnist Ed Montini weighs in on Sherff Joe Arpaio’s re-election loss. Video by azcentral
2 of 10
With a federal judge’s signature on a proposed order initially submitted by prosecutors Oct. 17, the deal is sealed: Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio is criminally charged with federal contempt of court.
3 of 10
Viridiana Hernandez talks about the “Arrest Arpaio Not the People” anti-Sheriff Joe Arpaio protest, which was held outside Sandra Day O’Connor United States Courthouse in Phoenix. Nick Oza/azcentral.com
4 of 10
Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio’s attorney Mel Mcdonald addresses the media outside the federal courthouse in Phoenix. Nick Oza/azcentral.com
5 of 10
Protesters demonstrate against Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio outside federal court on Oct. 11, 2016. azcentral.com
6 of 10
Maricopa County Supervisors on Sept. 21 approved an extra $4.5 million in legal fees to cover costs with a long-running racial-profiling case involving the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office.
7 of 10
The Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office is eliminating pay raises for some of its jail detention staff to help foot the growing bill for a racial-profiling case, but they considered several other options, including closing the famous Tent City jail.
8 of 10
A federal judge issued sweeping reforms over the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office’s internal affairs division, stripping its leaders of autonomy over disciplinary actions related to the long-running racial-profiling case against the agency.
9 of 10
A federal judge has found Sheriff Joe Arpaio in civil contempt of federal court.
10 of 10
Arpaio back in action
Ed Montini weighs in on Arpaio’s loss
Arpaio officially charged with criminal contempt
Inside the Sheriff Joe Arpaio protest
Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio’s attorney speaks
Protesters demonstrate against Arpaio outside federal court
MCSO’s legal bills keep growing in racial-profiling case
MCSO considered closing Tent City
Arpaio stripped of internal affairs oversight
Arpaio in contempt of federal court
New Sheriff Paul Penzone has cut ties with a law firm that represented Arpaio in the civil case, saving about $1.5 million a year.
Taxpayers have forked over nearly $56 million since 2007 to pay Maricopa County’s costs in the ongoing racial-profiling lawsuit against former Sheriff Joe Arpaio, the latest county totals show.
Though Arpaio lost his re-election bid in November, the county continues to pay bills in the lawsuit because a federal judge has not yet determined that the Sheriff’s Office is in compliance with orders to implement reforms stemming from the Melendres lawsuit. Newly elected Sheriff Paul Penzone has said the office is making progress toward that goal.
On Monday, the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors approved roughly $400,000 to cover legal fees for attorneys at the American Civil Liberties Union, the Mexican American Legal Defense and Education Fund and Covington & Burling LLP, all representing plaintiffs who sued the Sheriff’s Office. The county was ordered to pay the legal fees of its opponents after losing an appeal.
Supervisors Chairman Denny Barney said county officials negotiated the amount down from nearly $600,000.
“Today’s action is one more step in the process of resolving this longstanding Melendres issue,” Barney said. “Fortunately, we were able to reduce that (cost) by a couple hundred thousands dollars. Unfortunately, it’s still $400,000 spent towards the resolution of this case.”
In addition, the county has paid nearly $25 million since the start of the case in 2007 to cover legal fees and expenses related to the federal court monitor overseeing the office’s reforms, a tally requested from the county shows.
Documents obtained through the Arizona Public Records Law show another roughly $30 million has come out of the Sheriff’s Office budget for case-related expenses dating from mid-2013, when the judge found the office had racially profiled, through mid-December 2016.
The Sheriff’s Office expects to save about $1.5 million per year moving forward, spokesman Mark Casey said, because Penzone recently cut ties with the outside law firm representing the office, the Phoenix-based Jones, Skelton, & Hochuli PLC. From now on, the Maricopa County Attorney’s Office will handle the case for the county, Casey said.
“The sheriff promised the Board of Supervisors and he promised the public that we would be better stewards of their money” when he campaigned in 2016, Casey said. “This is an example of being a better steward of their money.”
A federal judge last year held Arpaio in contempt of court and recommended criminal contempt charges against him for ignoring the court’s order to stop his office’s immigration patrols.
The case began in 2007 when Manuel de Jesus Ortega Melendres, a Mexican tourist legally in the U.S., was stopped outside a Cave Creek church where day laborers were known to gather. Melendres, a passenger in a car driven by a white driver, claimed that deputies detained him for nine hours and that the detention was unlawful.
Eventually, the case grew to include the complaints of two Hispanic siblings from Chicago who felt they were profiled by sheriff’s deputies, and an assistant to former Phoenix Mayor Phil Gordon, whose Hispanic husband claimed he was detained and cited while white motorists nearby were treated differently.
Read or Share this story: http://azc.cc/2oeLd5X