Sheriff Joe Arpaio wants jury to decide his contempt case

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Arpaio will leave office next week after 24 years as metro Phoenix's top law enforcer. (Source: AP) Arpaio will leave office next week after 24 years as metro Phoenix's top law enforcer. (Source: AP)
PHOENIX (AP) -

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

His attorney filed court papers saying that an elected official's actions should be decided by an impartial jury of his peers, not a judge.

Prosecutors had previously sought a bench trial for the misdemeanor case.

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

[READ: Arpaio officially charged with criminal contempt]

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.

Arpaio lost his bid for a seventh term and leaves office next week after 24 years as metro Phoenix's top law enforcer.

[READ: 'America's toughest sheriff' says 'I did it my way']

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