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Sheriff Joe Arpaio continues to pay a steep price for cracking down on illegal immigration in Maricopa County, Arizona in defiance of the Obama administration.
The latest salvo in a long drawn out battle took place on Friday when a federal judge found “America’s Toughest Sheriff” in contempt of court for disobeying his orders in a racial profiling case, according to Fox News.
Then again, what are the odds these days that a federal judge would side with Arpaio, who has not only been a fierce critic of President Barack Obama, but an outspoken supporter of presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump.
U.S. District Judge G. Murray Snow wrote in the 162-page ruling that Arpaio “engaged in multiple acts of misconduct, dishonesty and bad faith” related to the plaintiffs in the case and “made multiple intentional misstatements of fact,” Fox News reported.
A little background from the network:
Snow ruled three years ago that Arpaio’s officers systematically racially profiled Latinos in regular traffic stops and immigration patrols. He ordered a sweeping overhaul of the agency, including making patrol officers wear body cameras and conducting more training to ensure officers aren’t making unconstitutional traffic stops.
Arpaio has acknowledged violating Snow’s orders, including letting deputies conduct his signature immigration patrols 18 months after the judge barred them.
Arpaio was found in civil contempt of federal court, but Snow set a May 31 court date to decide if he’ll refer the case for a criminal contempt trial.
The Arizona Republic said Friday’s ruling is largely a formality.
“Arpaio and [Chief Deputy Jerry] Sheridan admitted to violating the judge’s orders before the hearings’ start date but repeatedly insisted that it was due to miscommunication and confusion rather than willful defiance,” the newspaper reported.
The distinction may be a deciding factor in bringing criminal contempt charges.
Arpaio can continue to hold office under the civil contempt finding, but Fox News noted that “it’s unclear whether a criminal contempt finding would prevent him from serving as sheriff.”
Attorneys for the sheriff’s office said in a statement late Friday afternoon that the sheriff will continue “to comply with the court’s orders.”
“We have begun our reading and analysis of this lengthy document, and expect to file a responsive memorandum,” the statement said. “Despite disagreeing with some of the Court’s findings, the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office will continue to work with the court-appointed monitor, the ACLU and plaintiffs to comply with the court’s orders, as it has since January 2014.”
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