Arizona sheriff seeks to remove judge from profiling case

A major development in the racial profiling case against Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio.

The Sheriff's attorneys are now asking for the judge to be removed from the case.

They claim he's biased because his wife is a major figure in the case.

Attorneys also claimed several other reasons, but the motion appears to focus on the judge's wife and the comments she's accused of making.

Judge G. Murray Snow is now the focus of the case. Just before court began, Arpaio's attorneys filed the motion urging his removal.

"I think the judge is taking it seriously, he is a good judge," said Mel McDonald.

Former U.S. Attorney Mel McDonald said the move to pull the judge off the case was not a delay tactic.

"I wouldn't have brought the motion had I not believed we had a basis for doing it," said McDonald.

A tipster wrote on the Sheriff's Facebook Page saying she ran into the judge's wife at a restaurant in Tempe. She claims in the post that Snow's wife told her "that her husband hates you, and will do anything to get you out of office. This has bothered me since I saw her last year."

In the motion which includes transcripts of interviews with the tipster, and her family, Arpaio's attorneys wrote: "No reasonable person with knowledge of the facts can deny that Judge Snow is now investigating and presiding over issues involving his own family. This alone is sufficient to mandate recusal and disqualification."

"We don't see any basis for this judge to recuse, his rulings have been upheld by the court of appeals," said Cecilia Wang with the ACLU.

Wang wonders why Arpaio's attorneys who have known about this issue for years, are just now bringing it up.

"Frankly, the timing of the motion is very suspect, and indicate that this is an effort to manipulate the judicial system, and derail the contempt proceeding which is currently underway, and scheduled to continue June 16," said Wang.

When the issue was brought up, Snow ended the status conference, saying it wouldn't be appropriate to continue until a decision is made.

It's unclear when that decision will happen, but for now it appears everything is on hold.

Online: Motion filed 5/22/15: