Judge moves closer to contempt case against Arpaio

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By Christina O'Haver By Christina O'Haver
By Christina O'Haver By Christina O'Haver
By Christina O'Haver By Christina O'Haver
By Christina O'Haver By Christina O'Haver
By Christina O'Haver By Christina O'Haver

PHOENIX (AP) -- A judge moved one step closer to launching a contempt-of-court case against metro Phoenix's sheriff for his office's repeated violations of orders issued in a racial profiling case.

U.S. District Judge Murray Snow didn't actually start the contempt case at a hearing Thursday attended by Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio.

But Snow sent strong signals that he intends to pursue contempt cases that could expose Arpaio to fines and perhaps jail time.

Eighteen months ago, Snow found the agency had systematically racially profiled Latinos in its patrols.

Snow has grown frustrated over what he said were inadequate investigations into wrongdoing by Arpaio's immigrant smuggling squad.

He says the agency violated a pretrial ruling that barred officers from detaining people based solely on the suspicion that they're in the country illegally.

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