Lawyers in Ariz. profiling case differ on remedies

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By Mike Gertzman By Mike Gertzman

PHOENIX (AP) -- Attorneys on both sides of the racial profiling case against Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio's office urged a judge Friday to accept their differing proposals on how to address the court's findings that the agency has racially profiled Latinos.

One major point of disagreement is whether to have the judge appoint an official to monitor the agency's operations to make sure the sheriff's office isn't making unconstitutional arrests.

U.S. District Judge Murray Snow has previously indicated that a court-appointed monitor would likely be assigned to the case.

In May, Snow concluded that Arpaio's office has singled out Latinos and unreasonably prolonged detentions during its immigration patrols and regular traffic patrols, marking the first finding by a court that the agency engages in racial profiling.

Arpaio's office is appealing the decision.

The ruling won't expose the sheriff to jail time or fines, but the judge is expected to eventually decide on remedies to the constitutional violations he identified.

Both sides had chimed in about possible remedies a week ago and provided more detail on their proposals in court filings Friday.

The attorneys who pushed the case against the sheriff said a court-appointed monitor is needed to ensure accountability.

Arpaio's office opposes such an appointment and cited concerns about a monitor stepping on the powers given to the sheriff by state law and the Arizona Constitution.

Another area of disagreement was over a proposal by those pushing the case that the police agency take steps to improve its relationship with the Latino community by setting up a community advisory board and holding community outreach meetings in certain areas of the county.

The sheriff's office says the terms of the community outreach proposal were beyond the scope of the case.

In their filing Friday, the plaintiffs said they expect it will take "at least two years" before Arpaio's office can fully implement many of the reforms and proposed that "MCSO be required to maintain compliance with the court's order for at least three continuous years before the court terminates any provision."

They said Arpaio and his office "have demonstrated a continuing reluctance to admit to any wrongdoing and recalcitrance with respect to reforms.

"MCSO denies the need for a monitor to help the court prevent future constitutional violations, opposes policy changes, training hours, critical data collection terms, greater accountability through supervisory and disciplinary procedures and other measures that are conventional in racial profiling cases, and refuses even to try to repair the community relationships that its prior violations have damaged," lawyers for the plaintiffs wrote in their 30-page filing.

Arpaio's attorneys, in their 24-page filing, said "the appointment of an `independent monitor' in this case is redundant" and "will result in unnecessary and undue expense" that could be at least $1 million per year.

They also said the plaintiffs are trying to "rewrite the entire operations of the MCSO's Internal Affairs division."

An Aug. 30 status conference is scheduled to discuss possible remedies.