By Steve Neavling
One of America’s most controversial law enforcement officials, Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio, may face criminal contempt-of-court charges following allegations he defied federal orders to top racially profiling Latinos.
The years-long legal saga is expected to come to a head as the Justice Department decides whether Arpaio should be charged for intentionally defying federal orders, the Washington Post reports.
Arpaio, dubbed as “America’s Toughest Sheriff,” has long been an adversary of immigration activists for his tough, defiant stance on Latinos.
The Washington Post wrote:
The decision followed several other blows for the Arizona sheriff in the protracted case. In May, U.S. District Court Judge G. Murray Snow ruled that Arpaio and his aides – Chief Deputy Jerry Sheridan, Capt. Steve Bailey and his former attorney, Michele Iafrate – had intentionally ignored federal orders to stop racially profiling Latinos at traffic stops and in “saturation patrols” of predominantly Latino neighborhoods.
On Aug. 19, Snow referred the sheriff and three of his associates to be prosecuted for criminal contempt of court.
The decision was almost without precedent, so unusual that even the Justice Department initially seemed unsure of what, exactly, would happen next.
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