It's what we all knew, and now it's official.
A federal judge ruled Friday that the office of America's self-proclaimed toughest sheriff systematically singled out Latinos in its trademark immigration patrols, marking the first finding by a court that the agency racially profiles people.The ruling came down in a class action suit, Melendres v Arpaio. In a one hundred and forty two page decision Federal District Judge G. Murray Snow found today, May 24th, 2013, for the plaintiffs, permanently enjoined the Maricopa County Sheriff's Office (MCSO) from continuing with certain actions that were found to be based on racial profiling, and ordered a hearing for Friday, June 14th, 2013 to discuss what remedies need to be applied to enforce the order.
As best as I can make out from the decision, ICE had previous delegated to MCSO the authority to enforce Federal immigration law. MCSO deputies were thereby instructed that they were allowed to consider race or "Mexican ancestry" as a factor during immigration enforcement activities. ICE later rescinded this authority, but MCSO continued to operate as if they had it, promulgating their own "immigration enforcement" policy known as "LEAR."
Oops. The Judge found that a) MSCO continued these now unauthorized policies unlawfully and b) ruled that continuing to use them violated the 4th and 14th Amendments, along with the Civil Rights Act.
the MCSO's LEAR policy that requires a deputy (1) to detain persons she or he believes only to be in the country without authorization, (2) to contact MCSO supervisors, and then (3) to await contact with ICE pending a determination how to proceed, results in an unreasonable seizure under the Fourth Amendment to the Constitution...The Judge ordered MCSO to ceast and desist:
... the MCSO continues to take into account a suspect's Latino identity as one factor in evaluating those persons whom it encounters. In Maricopa County, as the MCSO acknowledged and stipulated prior to trial, Latino ancestry is not a factor on which it can rely in arriving at reasonable suspicion or forming probable cause that a person is in the United States without authorization. Thus, to the extent it uses race as a factor in arriving at reasonable suspicion or forming probable cause to stop or investigate persons of Latino ancestry for being in the country without authorization, it violates the Fourth Amendment. In addition, it violates the Plaintiff class's right to equal protection under the Fourteenth Amendment to the Constitution and Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964...
the knowledge that a person is in the country without authorization does not, without more, provide sufficient reasonable suspicion that a person has violated Arizona criminal laws relating to immigration, such as the Arizona Human Smuggling Act, to justify a Terry stop for purposes of investigative detention.
the MCSO is enjoined from (1) enforcing its LEAR policy, (2) using Hispanic ancestry or race as any factor in making law enforcement decisions pertaining to whether a person is authorized to be in the country, and (3) unconstitutionally lengthening stops.And, in an interesting aside, Judge Snow noted that MCSO had violated the court's previous cease and desist order:
The evidence introduced at trial establishes that, in the past, the MCSO has aggressively protected its right to engage in immigration and immigration-related enforcement operations even when it had no accurate legal basis for doing so. Such policies have apparently resulted in the violation of this court's own preliminary injunction entered in this action in December 2011. The Court will therefore, upon further consideration and after consultation with the parties, order additional steps that may be necessary to effectuate the merited relief.As a first "additional step" I would like to see the Judge order Arpaio and all his deputies to wear pink underwear.
The sheriff, known for jailing inmates in tents and making prisoners wear pink underwear...The judge faces an unenviable task. As with Stop & Frisk, we know that cops can make up any excuse they please to stop someone. Creating rules to ensure that deputies only make "constitutional" stops is like squishing jello. Far better, imho, to eat the jello than try to mold it. While firing a good number of deputies is likely beyond the judge's powers it's probably the only way to send a strong enough signal that such continued actions will no longer be tolerated.
Let's see what happens on June 14th.
Here is the Judge's full order:
IT IS THEREFORE ORDERED that Plaintiffs are entitled to injunctive relief necessary to remedy the Fourth and Fourteenth Amendment violations caused by MCSO's past and continuing operations. The MCSO is thus permanently enjoined from:
1. Detaining, holding or arresting Latino occupants of vehicles in Maricopa County based on a reasonable belief, without more, that such persons are in the country without authorization.
2. Following or enforcing its LEAR policy against any Latino occupant of a vehicle in Maricopa County.
3. Using race or Latino ancestry as a factor in determining to stop any vehicl in Maricopa County with a Latino occupant.
4. Using race or Latino ancestry as a factor in making law enforcement decisions with respect to whether any Latino occupant of a vehicle in Maricopa County
may be in the country without authorization.
5. Detaining Latino occupants of vehicles stopped for traffic violations for a period longer than reasonably necessary to resolve the traffic violation in the absence of reasonable suspicion that any of them have committed or are committing a violation of federal or state criminal law.
6. Detaining, holding or arresting Latino occupants of a vehicle in Maricopa
County for violations of the Arizona Human Smuggling Act without a reasonable basis for believing that, under all the circumstances, the necessary elements of the crime are present.
7. Detaining, arresting or holding persons based on a reasonable suspicion that they are conspiring with their employer to violate the Arizona Employer Sanctions Act.
IT IS FURTHER ORDERED setting a hearing at which the above matters will be discussed for Friday, June 14, 2013 at 9:30 a.m. in Courtroom 602, Sandra Day O'Connor U.S. Federal Courthouse, 401 W. Washington St., Phoenix, Arizona 85003-2151.
10:12 PM PT: More from he decision:
When asked to explain his disparate arrest rate of Hispanic persons, Deputy Armendariz testified that the majority of Maricopa County’s population is Hispanic. That assertion is simply wrong. Approximately 30% of the population of Maricopa County is Hispanic.