Tags: joe arpaio | spanish | jail | department of justice | order

Feds Order Sheriff Joe to Speak Spanish in Jails

Feds Order Sheriff Joe to Speak Spanish in Jails
Sheriff Joe Arpaio

By    |   Saturday, 18 July 2015 10:06 AM

Spanish interpreters are in place in the Maricopa County, Arizona, jails as part of a settlement reached in a two-year-old discrimination complaint filed by federal officials against "America's Sheriff" Joe Arpaio.

“The Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office changed many of their practices after the commencement of our litigation, and these agreements ensure that progress continues and the constitutional rights of the people of Maricopa County will be protected for the long term,” Deputy Assistant Attorney General Mark Kappelhoff said, according to The Washington Times.

The settlement, reached this week, means that federal authorities will also be able to demand information on any workplace raids deputies perform, according to the Justice Department, and a ruling is still pending on charges that Arpaio's deputies discriminated against Hispanics by targeting them during traffic enforcement procedures.

The terms of the 26-page settlement call for Arpaio to provide bilingual services for jail inmates and members of the public, including providing classes in Spanish and other languages for inmates, The Washington Times reports.

The settlement came following a unanimous vote on Wednesday by the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors, reports the Los Angeles Times.

The agreement settles three of the four charges made against Arpaio, who calls himself "America's toughest sheriff." The Justice Department had charged him with punishing jail inmates for speaking Spanish, retaliating against public officials, and conducting workplace raids targeting Latinos.

The claim that Arpaio's department is targeting Hispanic drivers will be heard in a federal court trial set to open on Aug. 10, and County Supervisor Steve Gallardo told The LA TImes that there are many in Phoenix, the county seat of Maricopa County, who will be happy Arpaio will be tried.

“People want their day in court,” he said. “Most of these issues [in Wednesday’s] settlement are already moot. People have been pulled over, profiled, and they want to talk about these cases.”

The department had already resolved many of the issues brought against it by the Justice Department, including assigning Spanish-language interpreters to the county jails in January. Further, Arpaio's office has disbanded its workplace raid division.

The retaliation claims date back a three-year period from 2007 to 2010, when newspaper executives, protesters and a state judge were jailed on charges ranging from publication of a subpoena to bribery. Maricopa County has already paid out more than $8 million in those cases, The LA Times reports.

In April, U.S. District Judge G. Murray Snow said during a hearing that his wife had also been the subject of two secret investigations by Arpaio's office, after ruling in 2013 that deputies had racially profiled Latinos.

Arpaio apologized, but he and his deputies denied intentionally violating Snow's order on profiling, and Snow is deciding whether to once again find Arpaio in contempt.

This month, Snow refused to disqualify himself from the racial profiling case against Arpaio, whose attorneys say questions posed by the judge at the April hearing created an appearance of judicial bias.

Snow, in a 40-page ruling, said the May 22 motion was "legally insufficient and untimely."

Arpaio's lawyers argued Snow put his credibility at issue when he asked questions during an April 23 hearing about two secret investigations involving the judge that were done on Arpaio's behalf.

The sheriff's attorneys said Snow shouldn't have posed questions about matters that involved him or his wife. Opposing lawyers say the disqualification request was a delay tactic.

Steve Chucri, who chairs the Maricopa Board of Supervisors, told The The Times that the county has "always intended to settle this case" and will "continue to work with the Justice Department and Sheriff's Office."

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Spanish interpreters are in place in the Maricopa County, Arizona, jails as part of a settlement reached in a two-year-old discrimination complaint filed by federal officials against America's Sheriff Joe Arpaio.
joe arpaio, spanish, jail, department of justice, order
Saturday, 18 July 2015 10:06 AM
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