U.S. District Court Judge Murray Snow ordered the evidential federal court hearing in connection to issues including Arpaio's failure to comply with court orders to stop immigration enforcement operations. Officers will testify at the hearing.
"I think for much of this process Arpaio has tried to wipe his hands of any wrongdoing," said Alessandra Soler, executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Arizona, which represents the plaintiffs. "So we want to get to the bottom of this and what we expect to show is he knew he was deliberately disobeying this order."
Arpaio and his chief deputy, Gerald Sheridan, accepted civil sanctions for contempt of court on March 18. Evidence indicating intentional violations by Arpaio and his personnel could result in steeper sanctions, broader oversight of the Maricopa County Sheriff's Office or a criminal contempt of court referral.
Arpaio and 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. Arpaio and Sheridan hoped Snow would cancel the hearing, but Snow refused.
Penalties for civil contempt of court are usually fines or payments to victims. Arpaio needed to comply with changes to his agency set by Snow after losing a 2007 class action racial profiling lawsuit. Evidence shows that Arpaio failed to comply with the orders in recent months.
Previous court documents quoted Sheridan calling Snow's court orders as "ludicrous" and "absurd" during a training session with other deputies.