Feds want judge to decide whether Arpaio should be convicted

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Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio. (Source: KPHO/KTVK) Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio. (Source: KPHO/KTVK)
PHOENIX (AP) -

Prosecutors want a judge to decide whether Sheriff Joe Arpaio should be convicted of a criminal contempt-of-court charge for disobeying a court order in a racial profiling case.

The U.S. Justice Department asked U.S. District Judge Susan Bolton in a filing Thursday to hold a bench trial rather than let a jury decide Arpaio's misdemeanor case.

Arpaio's attorney said two months ago that his client would seek a jury trial and explained that he believes he should be judged by his peers.

[RELATED: Friends, family hold retirement party for Sheriff Joe Arpaio]

The sheriff faces the charge for prolonging his immigration patrols for 17 months after a judge ordered them stopped.

He has pleaded not guilty to the charge.

He acknowledged the contempt violation but has said it wasn't intentional.

His trial is set for April 4.

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