Arpaio called to deposition in contempt-of-court case

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PHOENIX (AP) -- Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio and his top aide are being called to testify at depositions later this month in a civil contempt-of-court proceeding against the sheriff and top aides for violating court orders in a racial profiling case.

The depositions have been set on March 25 for the sheriff and on March 20 for Arpaio aide Jerry Sheridan.

Former Arpaio lawyer Tim Casey also has been subpoenaed to testify at an April 3 deposition.

U.S. District Judge Murray Snow has scheduled hearings in late April to examine violations of a December 2011 pretrial injunction that barred Arpaio's officers from detaining people based solely on the suspicion that they're in the country illegally. Arpaio's managers never told rank-and-file members of his immigrant smuggling squad about the ruling, leaving officers to violate the order for 18 months, the judge has said.

The hearings also will examine a botched effort by the agency to recover videos of traffic stops that were withheld in the profiling case.

An attorney now representing Arpaio has acknowledged the agency made errors, but said there's no basis to bring a criminal contempt case that could expose Arpaio to fines and even jail time.

Sheridan and other Arpaio aides have said they weren't responsible for failing to tell rank-and-file officers about the 2011 injunction.

In a May 2013 ruling, Snow found the sheriff's office had systematically singled out Latinos in its patrols. Snow is requiring Arpaio's officers to video-record traffic stops, collect data on stops and undergo training to ensure they are making constitutional traffic stops. Arpaio disputes the court's conclusions.

Casey cited legal ethics when bowing out as Arpaio's lawyer in the profiling case in November.

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