Sheriff Joe Arpaio wants jury to decide his contempt case

PHOENIX - Sheriff Joe Arpaio wants a jury to decide whether he should be convicted of a criminal contempt-of-court charge for disobeying a court order in a racial profiling case.

His attorney filed court papers saying that an elected official's actions should be decided by an impartial jury of his peers, not a judge.

Prosecutors had previously sought a bench trial for the misdemeanor case.

Arpaio faces the charge for prolonging his immigration patrols for 17 months after a judge ordered them stopped.

He has pleaded not guilty to the charge.

He acknowledged the contempt violation but has said it wasn't intentional.

His trial is set for April 4.

Arpaio lost his bid for a seventh term and leaves office next week after 24 years as metro Phoenix's top law enforcer.

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