Federal judge rules Sheriff Arpaio's immigration sweeps

Breaking news

Federal judge rules Sheriff Arpaio's immigration sweeps unconstitutional

Posted: Updated:

PHOENIX (AP) -- 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 142-page decision by U.S. District Judge Murray Snow in Phoenix backs up allegations that Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio's critics have made for years that his officers rely on race in their immigration enforcement.

Snow also ruled Arpaio's deputies unreasonably prolonged the detentions of people who were pulled over.

A small group of Latinos alleged in a lawsuit that Arpaio's deputies pulled over some vehicles only to make immigration status checks.

The group also accused the sheriff of ordering some immigration patrols not based on reports of crime but rather on letters and emails from Arizonans who complained about people with dark skin congregating in an area or speaking Spanish. The group's attorneys pointed out that Arpaio sent thank-you notes to some people who wrote the complaints.

The sheriff has repeatedly denied the allegations, saying his deputies only stop people when they think a crime has been committed and that he wasn't the person who picked the location of the patrols. His lawyers also said there was nothing wrong with the thank-you notes.

Cecillia D. Wang, director of the ACLU Immigrants' Right Project, called the ruling a "great day for all the people of Maricopa County."

Arpaio's lead attorney Tim Casey was reading Snow's decision Friday afternoon before commenting on it.

The sheriff, known for jailing inmates in tents and making prisoners wear pink underwear, started doing immigration enforcement six years as Arizona voters grew frustrated with the state's role as the nation's busiest illegal entryway.

The ruling represents a victory for those who pushed the lawsuit. They weren't seeking money damages but a rather declaration that Arpaio's office racially profiles and an order that requires it to make policy changes. The sheriff won't face jail time or fines as a result of the ruling.

  • Email Alert Sign Up

    Sign up here to receive breaking news stories from KSWT.com and morning updates to your email inbox.

    * denotes required fields


    Thank you for signing up! You will receive a confirmation email shortly.
Go to KSWT-TV's Facebook page
  • Most Popular StoriesMost Popular StoriesMore>>

  • Miley Cyrus' date turns self in, posts bail

    Miley Cyrus' date turns self in, posts bail

    Friday, August 29 2014 1:41 AM EDT2014-08-29 05:41:26 GMT
    The young homeless man who accompanied Miley Cyrus to the MTV Video Music Awards and who had been sought on an Oregon arrest warrant has turned himself in and posted bail.More >>
    The young homeless man who accompanied Miley Cyrus to the MTV Video Music Awards and who had been sought on an Oregon arrest warrant has turned himself in and posted bail, an Oregon official said Thursday night.More >>
  • Police seeking help to catch robbery suspect

    Police seeking help to catch robbery suspect

    On Monday morning just after 1:30 am; a man was caught on camera walking into a convenient store wearing a ski mask and a hooded sweater and brandishing a handgun. The suspect them confronted a female clerk pointed a gun at her and demanded money. The clerk did as she was instructed and the gunman left the store and fled on foot. Police are considering this suspect to be armed and dangerous and are seeking the publics help in apprehending him before he hurts someone. If you have information l...More >>
    On Monday morning just after 1:30 am; a man was caught on camera walking into a convenient store wearing a ski mask and a hooded sweater and brandishing a handgun. The suspect them confronted a female clerk pointed a gun at her and demanded money. The clerk did as she was instructed and the gunman left the store and fled on foot. Police are considering this suspect to be armed and dangerous and are seeking the publics help in apprehending him before he hurts someone. If you have information l...More >>
  • Diva by Rachel Pappo announces a Labor Day Weekend Sale on Fashion Swimwear: Get two fashion swimsuits for the price of one

    Diva by Rachel Pappo announces a Labor Day Weekend Sale on Fashion Swimwear: Get two fashion swimsuits for the price of one

    Fresh off the launch and success of its new and improved website, Diva by Rachel Pappo will be offering an exclusive discount during the upcoming holiday weekend Tel Aviv, Israel / ACCESSWIRE / August 28, 2014...More >>
    Fresh off the launch and success of its new and improved website, Diva by Rachel Pappo will be offering an exclusive discount during the upcoming holiday weekend Tel Aviv, Israel / ACCESSWIRE / August 28, 2014...More >>
  • Woman seriously injured in fall at Scottsdale mall

    Woman seriously injured in fall at Scottsdale mall

    Authorities say a woman is in serious condition after a third-floor fall at an upscale Scottsdale shopping mall.More >>
    Authorities say a woman is in serious condition after a third-floor fall at an upscale Scottsdale shopping mall.More >>
  • Miley Cyrus' date turns self in, posts bail

    Miley Cyrus' date turns self in, posts bail

    The young homeless man who accompanied Miley Cyrus to the MTV Video Music Awards and who had been sought on an Oregon arrest warrant has turned himself in and posted bail.More >>
    The young homeless man who accompanied Miley Cyrus to the MTV Video Music Awards and who had been sought on an Oregon arrest warrant has turned himself in and posted bail.More >>
  • Former Yuma band teacher sentenced to 15 years in prison

    Former Yuma band teacher sentenced to 15 years in prison

    Teacher who had sex with student will get to see her kids while in prison.More >>
  • Crime Watch

    Police investigating dead body found in parked car

    Police investigating dead body found in parked car

    YUMA, Ariz. (13 On Your Side) - Yuma police say a dead woman was found in a car parked at Food City on 8th Street on Tuesday night, at around 6:20 p.m. Police are investigating her cause of death andMore >>
    Yuma police are investigating the death of a woman who was found in a parked car Tuesday night.More >>
  • Possible drowning

    Possible drowning

    On Sunday the Blythe Police Department received a call regarding a missing 10 year old boy in the vicinity of the Colorado river and the Interstate 10 bridge. The call came out shortly after two in the afternoon when his parents lost sight of him as he swam in the river. The Blythe Boat Patrol searched the river and even called inn CHP and Care Flight Helicopters for aerial support. The search went on until night fall and it was the called off. The child was not found; and is believed that he...More >>
    On Sunday the Blythe Police Department received a call regarding a missing 10 year old boy in the vicinity of the Colorado river and the Interstate 10 bridge. The call came out shortly after two in the afternoon when his parents lost sight of him as he swam in the river. The Blythe Boat Patrol searched the river and even called inn CHP and Care Flight Helicopters for aerial support. The search went on until night fall and it was the called off. The child was not found; and is believed that he...More >>