Sheriff Arpaio civil rights case goes to the judge

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By Catherine Holland By Catherine Holland

PHOENIX (AP) -- Testimony has ended at a trial aimed at settling allegations over whether Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio's office racially profiles Latinos in its immigration patrols.
U.S. District Judge Murray Snow will decide the case and didn't say when he would issue his verdict, but it won't come until after an Aug. 16 deadline for attorneys to hand in their last round of written closing arguments.
The civil rights trial dates back five years, to the start of Arpaio's crime suppression operations in 2007.  A group of Latinos who brought the civil case against the sheriff's office says Arpaio's deputies pulled over some vehicles only to make immigration status checks.

"I think it screams for federal oversight, for someone to come in and straighten out the MCSO," said Maricopa County Supervisor and longtime Arpaio critic Mary Rose Wilcox.

The plaintiffs and ACLU are asking the judge to put new guidelines and reforms in place at the sheriff's office, along with a monitor to prevent profiling.

"We believe we've proven from top to bottom an intentional policy and practice of discrimination against Hispanics," said plaintiff attorney Stanley Young.

Young's team paraded a series of witnesses before the judge.  All were Hispanic US citizens who claim they were pulled over because of their ethnicity.
Arpaio denies the racial profiling allegations and says deputies only stop people when they think a crime has been committed.

"It's been an honor to represent the fine deputies who work hard protecting us," said Arpaio's attorney, Tom Liddy, after court Thursday.

"In three weeks, we haven't seen any evidence - only allegations - no evidence that a single deputy made a single traffic stop based on race," Liddy told reporters.