Sheriff Joe, ACLU to face off in court

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PHOENIX -- The man known as "America's toughest sheriff" is due in court Tuesday.

ACLU vs. Arpaio in court
azfamily.com

Sheriff Joe Arpaio will be in federal court for opening arguments in a class-action lawsuit.

The Maricopa County Sheriff's Office is accused of inhumane treatment of inmates.

While the sheriff's department says conditions at the county's five jails are adequate, the ACLU is telling a different story.

According to the ACLU's allegations, inmates are given contaminated food, denied health care and forced to sleep on the floor.

The ACLU has also accused the sheriff of trying to "evade federal oversight" after he filed a motion to terminate a consent decree that governs conditions in the jails.

Attorneys for the sheriff's department denies the ACLU's charges.

U.S. District Judge Neil Wake, who is presiding over the hearings, will hear from expert witnesses, jail officials and inmates.

The hearings are expected to last nearly a month.