New Maricopa County Sheriff Penzone Will Inherit Civil Lawsuits Vs. Arpaio

By Jude Joffe-Block
Published: Thursday, November 10, 2016 - 6:39pm
Updated: Friday, November 11, 2016 - 9:50am
(Photo via penzone2016.com)
Paul Penzone

When Paul Penzone replaces Joe Arpaio as Maricopa County sheriff, he will inherit the many civil lawsuits against the sheriff. That includes the ongoing case that determined the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office racially profiled Latinos.

As a result of that suit, the Sheriff’s Office must reach compliance with a long list of court orders to prevent biased policing.

But Arpaio’s office has moved slowly and isn’t there yet. In fact, Arpaio is facing a criminal contempt of court charge for ignoring one of the judge’s earlier court orders.

Reaching full compliance will be up to Penzone when he takes office, and even then, the Sheriff’s Office has to stay under court supervision for three years.

American Civil Liberties Union lawyer Andre Segura represents Latino plaintiffs in the racial-profiling case, and says he is hopeful about the change in leadership.

“We are hoping the new sheriff comes in enthusiastic wanting to work with us, work with the monitor and not just do the bare minimum required by this order,” Segura said.

Segura said he hoped Penzone would want to come up with creative solutions for problems in policing.

“How to improve community trust, how to improve police legitimacy,” Segura said. “These are real questions that are being faced around the country by police agencies. We are hopeful this new sheriff is going to want to come in and solve those problems, hopefully in collaboration with us.

Under Arpaio’s leadership, his attorneys have appealed court orders and are asking U.S. District Court Judge Murray Snow in the case to recuse himself. The judge has not yet ruled in the matter.

Arpaio's election loss does not impact the federal criminal contempt of court case against him, since that case is against Arpaio personally.

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