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Controversial Sheriff Joe Arpaio admits to contempt of court, accepts civil sanctions

Arpaio and his chief deputy hope an evidentiary court hearing in April is canceled.

By Andrew V. Pestano
Controversial Sheriff Joe Arpaio admits to contempt of court, accepts civil sanctions
Maricopa County (Arizona) Sheriff Joe Arpaio makes remarks at a rally for Republican 2012 presidential candidate and Texas Gov. Rick Perry (R) at Main Street Cafe, during a meet-and-greet of supporters, in Council Bluffs, Iowa, December 27, 2011, in advance of Iowa's first-in-the-nation caucuses, January 3,2012. File Photo by UPI/Mike Theiler. | License Photo

PHOENIX, March 18 (UPI) -- Controversial Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio and his chief deputy Gerald Sheridan accepted civil sanctions for contempt of court on Tuesday.

U.S. District Court Judge Murray Snow ordered a federal court hearing for April in connection to issues including Arpaio's failure to comply with court orders to stop immigration enforcement operations, according to KJZZ.

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Penalties for civil contempt of court are usually fines or payments to victims. The scheduled hearing is an evidentiary hearing where officers would have to testify.

Arpaio needed to comply with changes to his agency set by Judge Snow after losing a 2007 class action racial profiling lawsuit. Evidence shows that Arpaio failed to comply with the orders in recent months, leading Snow to call next month's four-day hearing starting April 21.

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Arpaio and Deputy Sheridan admitted to violating Snow's orders three times, including ignoring a 2011 court order telling Maricopa police to stop detaining immigrants solely on racial profiling.

"There is nothing Defendants can do to change what has already been done," a joint motion by Arpaio and Sheridan states. "But through the entry of an order finding them in civil contempt and by implementing remedies discussed herein, Defendants can express sincere remorse to the Court and to Plaintiffs, begin to make amends to those who have been injured and take affirmative steps to ensure nothing like this occurs in the future."

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Arpaio and Sheridan hope Judge Snow will cancel the hearing in April.

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"Under these circumstances, a 4-day evidentiary hearing, which would cost the county taxpayers hundreds of thousands of dollars, and which would consume significant time of the Court, is unnecessary," the motion adds.

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