A judge on Monday rejected a bid to put on hold a racial profiling case against Arizona lawman Joe Arpaio, and scheduled hearings in September on civil contempt charges against him.
Judge Murray Snow said he could find no legal reason to delay the proceedings until a U.S. appeals court decides on a motion by the Maricopa County sheriff and his top lieutenant, who wants the judge to be removed from the case.
Snow ruled this month that he will not remove himself from the 2007 case, and he denied claims by the defendants’ lawyers that his decisions could be seen as biased.
The judge said on Monday in U.S. District Court in Phoenix that the motion filed by Arpaio and his chief deputy, Gerard Sheridan, was “legally insufficient and untimely.”
Speaking from the bench, Snow said “we need to move forward” on another round of contempt hearings, and scheduled them for Sept. 22 through Sept. 25, and Sept. 29 through Oct. 2. The case had been on hold for two months.
Arpaio, who attended the hearing, declined to comment on the ruling.
He and other past and current sheriff’s office officials face civil contempt hearings for repeatedly violating Snow’s court orders. Arpaio has admitted that such violations happened on his watch.
Possible punishments include fines, restitution and increased oversight of the sheriff’s office. They could also face criminal contempt proceedings.
Plaintiff’s attorney Stanley Young said he was pleased the judge denied any efforts to delay the case.
“This will make sure that the victims are compensated and the remedies that need to be put in place are done as soon as possible,” he said.
Snow ruled in 2013 that Arpaio and his deputies racially profiled Latino drivers during traffic stops and wrongfully detained them. Arpaio has denied that his office was guilty of such behavior.
The judge also ordered that the sheriff’s office undergo reforms, and he appointed a monitor to oversee its operations and prevent any repeats.
A separate civil rights lawsuit filed by the U.S. Justice Department continues against Arpaio and his deputies. An agreement to settle most of the issues was filed last week with another federal judge.
This story appeared on the Reuters news wire