Federal judge refers Sheriff Arpaio for criminal charges

A judge recommends that Sheriff Joe Arpaio and several top aides be investigated for possible criminal charges.
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A judge recommends that Sheriff Joe Arpaio and several top aides be investigated for possible criminal charges.
 
U.S. District Judge Murray Snow says Arpaio and his top aides, willfully ignored several court orders to stop profiling Latinos. Furthermore the sheriff and his top aides obstructed justice and lied under oath.
 
The judge's recommendation means the U.S. Attorney's office will investigate the sheriff. And decide if there's enough evidence to warrant criminal charges.
 
The 32-page court order outlines the evidence against Arpaio and several of his aides.
 
Friday night Arpaio proclaimed his innocence and his attorney say they are willing to go to trial to prove it.
 
A federal judge is recommending he stand trial for some very serious criminal charges.
 
In his ruling, Federal Judge Murray Snow accuses the sheriff of intentionally violating the court's order, intentionally failing to turn over evidence, and lying in court.
 
Essentially Judge Snow is alleging that the sheriff and his chief deputy ignored a court order to stop racial profiling, hiding evidence including more than 1,000 confiscated ID's, and trying to cover up their crimes by lying about their actions while on the stand.
 
Apraio's attorney says the embattled sheriff is disappointed with the ruling and vows he is willing to go to trial and prove his innocence.
 
"We would welcome if it ever gets to that a jury of Sheriff Arpaio's peers to look at what the sheriff's done," said Mel McDonald, Arpaio's attorney.
 
"Absolutely not going to back down. Somebody earlier today said would there ever be a plea bargain. Absolutely not. You don't plead to something you haven't done."
 
He went on to say this will not affect the sheriff's decision to run for a seventh term and is confident he will get re-elected again.
 
The big question is if a U.S. Attorney does decide to file criminal charges and if Arpaio does go to trial and a jury convicts him, would the 84-year-old sheriff go to jail?
 
"The chances of him actually going to jail are very slim. Well what good is it for him to go to trial if there's not the possibility of jail? But realistically we're not going to see Sheriff Joe in jail even if the jury does find him guilty of criminal contempt and a lot of that has do to with his age," said legal analyst, Monica Lindstrom.
 
The judge has also ordered the county board of supervisors to put aside a $500,000 in compensation fund for the claimants in this case.
 
It is now up to the U.S. Attorney to look over all the evidence and make a decision on whether or not to formally bring criminal charges against Arpaio and the other people named in the ruling.
 
There is no timetable or deadline for when that decision needs to be made.

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