Judge: Victims of racial profiling by Arpaio, MCSO entitled to monetary damagesPosted: Updated:
Not only did a judge on Friday recommend that Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio face criminal contempt charges, he also issued a ruling on compensation for victims stemming from the civil contempt proceeding that was decided earlier this year.
Those who believe they were victims of racial profiling at the hands of Sheriff Joe Arpaio and the Maricopa County Sheriff's Office could be entitled to monetary damages -- up to $10,000 -- from the county and its taxpayers.
Maricopa County has already spent nearly $55 million in connection with the profiling case, a number that is sure to increase because the county has to cover legal fees until the case judge releases Arpaio and his office from supervision.
That $55 million is connected only to the racial profiling case. According to The Associated Press, the county has spent nearly $80 million for legal costs associated with Arpaio's office since he was elected.
How will the program work?
A third-party neutral claims administration company called BrownGreer has been appointed to handle claims.
The Maricopa County Board of Supervisors will set up a fund to cover the claims. That fund will start with $500,000. Additional allocations will be made if needed. Any money not left over after all of the payouts will be returned to the county.
"Claimants who submit claims and are determined to be eligible to participate in the plan must waive and extinguish any right they might otherwise have to obtain relief for the same conduct through any other avenue," according to Judge Murray Snow's order. "Individuals who have submitted a claim regarding the same conduct in another forum and received a determination, or those who have a pending claim in another forum, are not eligible to participate in this program."
Translation: No double dipping.
Not just any detainment by a Maricopa County sheriff's deputy will qualify. There is a specific timeframe at issue.
"Compensation under this program will be available to those asserting that their constitutional rights were violated as a result of detention by MCSO in violation of the Court’s Preliminary Injunction from December 23, 2011 to May 24, 2013."
Part of BrownGreer's duties will be to find and notify potential victims of their options. To that end, the company will start developing notices -- both in English and Spanish -- and a website. It also will set up a toll-free phone number and public email address.
Once BrownGreer has everything in place, it will make all of that information public on multiple platforms -- on the air, online and in print. From there, people will have 365 days -- one year -- to file a claim, starting with an initiation form provided by BrownGreer.
"In all cases, it is claimant's burden to establish their entitlement to compensation by a preponderance of the evidence. BrownGreer will be responsible for evaluating the credibility and competency of evidence and witnesses, and determining the appropriate weight to be assigned to evidence adduced," according to the order.
Translation: You have to prove that you are entitled to damages. BrownGreer will decide if you have and the company's word is final.
Some people will be "prequalified." A list will be put together based on information gleaned from various sources, including HSU spreadsheets, MCSO incident reports, CAD data and Department of Homeland Security records.
Even if you're prequalified, you still have to submit a Claim Initiation Form.
Those who are prequalified and not requesting additional damages "for additional harms" will receive "a base amount of $500 for a detention lasting to up one hour" for those detained for at least 20 minutes. After an hour, the amount increases by $35 per 20 minutes up to $10,000.
APP USERS: Read the order (PDF file)
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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