A federal judge has referred Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio, among others, for criminal contempt charges in connection with a racial profiling case.
Earlier this year Judge Murray Snow held Arpaio in civil contempt for disobeying court orders regarding a lawsuit over racially profiling Latinos during traffic stops.
FULL COVERAGE: Racial profiling lawsuit against Sheriff Joe Arpaio
Friday, Snow referred Arpaio, along with Chief Deputy Gerard Sheridan, Capt. Steven Bailey and Attorney Michelle Iafrate, to another judge for a determination of whether their actions constituted criminal contempt.
In his civil contempt ruling, Snow said Arpaio "engaged in multiple acts of misconduct, dishonesty, and bad faith" regarding those who sued him for illegal traffic stops.
If found in criminal contempt, Arpaio, Sheridan, Bailey and Iafrate could face fines and jail time. The full ruling is included at the bottom of this story.
As a result of the civil decision, Snow removed several of Arpaio's powers, including his ability to oversee internal affairs investigations.
A separate ruling handed down the same day ordered the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors to set aside $500,000 for victims of the racial profiling case. Previously, the lawyers who won the profiling case said Arpaio should be required to pull $300,000 out of his own pocket to help compensate Latinos who were illegally detained. A spokesperson for the American Civil Liberties Union says each victim is entitled to a maximum of $10,000 in compensation.
The sheriff has not had to foot the legal bills directly tied to his official duties in any of the lawsuits filed against him during his 23-year tenure. Last year, the total cost to county taxpayers for defending just the racial profiling case to that point was estimated at $45 million.
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