Sheriff Arpaio admits to contempt of court

PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) - Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio has admitted to contempt of court. There was no big announcement Wednesday, just a quiet court filing intended to keep the sheriff from having to testify in open court next month.

Arpaio's attorneys maintain there's no need to go forward with the content trial, however civil rights activists are demanding otherwise.

"Sheriff, this won't fly. Nobody will accept it. You will go to court ... and you will have to stand trial for what you've done," said former county supervisor Mary Rose Wilcox.

Wilcox and a team of immigrant rights activists gathered to express their anger and insult Wednesday after the latest headlines surrounding the sheriff.

"We need Arpaio to go through a criminal trial and basically pay for his crimes against our community," said community activist Salvador Reza.

Reza sat next to a chair fitted with a T-shirt that read "unsentenced," a reference to unfair treatment the residents of Maricopa County say they have repeatedly faced even though they were never convicted of crimes. 

Arpaio admitted he violated federal court orders that stem from a racial profiling case filed last year. Lawyers for the sheriff want to call off upcoming hearings to examine the violations, but activists strongly disagree.

"Sheriff Joe Arpaio needs to feel some of that humility that our families felt, in front of the court, in front of his jury," said Petra Falcon, executive director of Promise Arizona.

The sheriff's deputy county attorney, Tom Liddy, released a statement that read, "The sheriff's motion is currently pending before the court. Out of deference to the court, the sheriff will not comment on the motion until the court has had time to read and rule on the motion."

The hearing is scheduled for April 21.

Activists say they are working closely with the ACLU and will continue to monitor developments. There is still the possibility that a judge could launch a separate criminal case against Arpaio.

Copyright 2015 KPHO/KTVK (KPHO Broadcasting Corporation). All rights reserved.

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