Maricopa county Sheriff Joe Arpaio faces criminal action after the arrests of Jim Larkin and Michael Lacey, the founders of Arizona’s Frontera Fund. A judge found that he did, in fact, commit a crime when he went against an order set forth by the court to cease the detainment of immigrants who don’t have the proper documentation. This is a man who was a popular figure in the community. However, those people who enjoyed him as one of the leaders in the county voted to have him removed from his office.
At the age of 85, Mr. Arpaio was found guilty by Judge Susan R. Bolton for charges of contempt of court. This crime is considered a misdemeanor, but the form sheriff could serve up to six months in jail. Attorneys representing Mr. Arpaio had declared that they will appeal the ruling in order to try to get a fair result.
There are sheriffs across the country, especially in Texas, Arizona, and Nevada, who are being asked to do as much as they can to get on board with the immigration wall that President Donald Trump has ordered built along the border of Mexico and the United States. Local governments that do not participate might not receive federal funding for prisons, jails, and other programs. There is also the possibility of not receiving funding if inmates are not held before they are deported. There are many advocates for immigrants who are trying to claim that this is a violation of the rights of these inmates.
When Mr. Arpaio was sheriff, he was questioned about the conditions of the jails in the county. He served as sheriff for 24 years, and the conditions didn’t seem to improve at all, especially for immigrants. He is also known for a campaign that he started against immigrants who are in the country without the proper documentation. There was a lawsuit that was filed roughly 10 years ago that charged Mr. Arpaio with violating the rights of Latinos and other immigrant groups. Other aspects of the lawsuit include detaining people because of their race and detaining someone just because there is a suspicion that the person is in the country illegally before they are turned over to officials who work with immigration.
Murray Snow told the sheriff in 2011 to stop detaining persons because of these suspicions. Since there is no evidence that the person does or doesn’t have proper status, there is no need to hold that person at the moment. This ruling was upheld along with a few others relating to immigrants. However, the sheriff went in front of the public to ensure that the officers in the country were obeying all laws and that the conditions of the jails were satisfactory at the time. After the ruling was put into place, Mr. Arpaio stated that he would continue his practices, which has led to his current state of being criminally charged and facing time in jail. One of the reasons as to why the sheriff disobeyed the order given was because he didn’t think that it was clear in the directions and that his rights had been violated. Sentencing for the charges is supposed to take place on October 5, 2017.
In 2007, Michael Lacey and Jim Larkin were arrested by the Selective Enforcement Unit. The two men were working for the Village Voice Media at the time they were taken into custody. They were put into unmarked vehicles that had Mexican plates on them and booked into jails that Mr. Arpaio controlled. Larkin and Lacey had exposed the sheriff for what he was doing to the immigrants, and Mr. Arpaio wanted justice. Most of the newspapers in the area didn’t offer a second glance at what the sheriff was doing, but Larkin and Lacey wanted to make sure the Phoenix New Times alerted readers about the conditions of the jails operated in the county and how Mr. Arpaio treated the inmates.
The two men were also arrested for writing a story for the paper that revealed details about the Maricopa County Attorney’s Office issued subpoena’s for Larkin and Lacey. The men didn’t abide by these subpoenas and decided to make the information that they had public. People across the United States found out about what happened. The men were released from jail in less than 24 days. It was discovered that the subpoenas that were issued weren’t valid and never should have been delivered in the first place. When Larkin and Lacey went to court, they received a settlement for $3.7 million. They used the money to start the Frontera Fund. This is a fund used to help Hispanics stand up to the discrimination and legal abuse that they face in the country, especially in the state of Arizona. Money from the settlement is also given to community organizations that support offering a better life to Hispanics.