Attorneys for Sheriff Arpaio square off against ACLU in racial profiling case

Hearing held in Arpaio racial profiling case

Attorneys for Sheriff Joe Arpaio were back in court Tuesday; he's being accused of possibly destroying and concealing evidence.

The Federal Judge overseeing the racial profiling case against MCSO criticized attorneys for not turning over evidence.

The American Civil Liberties Union has been trying to get its hands on certain evidence, and Judge Snow made it clear, that his patience is running thin.

He did not mince words when he called on MCSO to provide documents and ID's that could be related to the racial profiling case. He told one of the Sheriff's attorneys that MCSO's "track record" for producing documents is poor, and may have destroyed documents.

"When these items are discovered it makes all of us wonder what else is out there that we don't know exists," said Cecilia Wong with the ACLU.

The judge mentioned that close to 1,500 ID's seized by MCSO had not been turned over.

"We have got a problem now with ID's that may have been shredded by MCSO, documents that have been hidden away in a locker, and these are things that plaintiffs are entitled to know, because we have a big job ahead of us trying to locate people whose rights were violated by MCSO," said Lydia Guzman.

The Sheriff's attorneys agreed to work with the ACLU, but also mentioned they took issue with the court monitor appointed to watch over the Sheriff's office. They told the judge that the monitors duties appear to have changed from a fishing expedition to an inquisition.

"If they complied with the courts order and their discovery obligations in the first place, we may not be in this boat," said Wong.

Judge Snow is pushing to get as much evidence as possible turned over before the hearings resume in late September.

If it seems like this case has been going on for a while it is because it has. The lawsuit was first filed in 2007.

After the hearing in late September, it will give a better idea as to when and how the judge will punish the Sheriff's Office.


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