Joe-Arpaio1Popular anti-illegal immigration sheriff hauled into court on contempt charges

Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio became a conservative folk hero for his investigation of Barack Obama’s birth certificate and no-nonsense approach to fighting illegal immigration.

“Arpaio faces a contempt-of-court hearing over his decision to allow his deputies to conduct immigration patrols 18 months after they were told to stop them,” The Associated Press reports.

Liberal groups sued Arpaio to force him to stop patrolling for illegal aliens, claiming that arresting them threatened Americans’ civil rights.

U.S. District Judge Murray Snow, ordered Arpaio to stop the patrols.

Snow is also presiding over the Obama administration’s efforts to seize documents and tapes from Arpaio, in hopes of building a civil rights case against the sheriff.

“The sheriff, whose territory covers metropolitan Phoenix, also is being called into court for his office’s failure to turn over traffic-stop recordings before the profiling trial and bungling a plan to gather the videos once they were publicly revealed,” the AP reports.

“Other subjects examined at the hearing include allegations that Arpaio investigated (Snow) in a failed bid to get him disqualified,” the AP states.

The AP reports Arpaio “could face civil fines and could later be called into criminal court on similar grounds.”

Despite the fact that judges are required to be impartial, Snow openly stated earlier in the case that he intended to find Arpaio guilty.

“Snow has stated outright that he intends to find Arpaio and others in civil contempt of court for disobeying court orders to end racial profiling of Hispanics by sheriff’s deputies,” USA Today reports. “At issue was whether he would refer Arpaio and others to the U.S. Attorney’s Office to pursue criminal contempt charges.”

In other words, it appears Snow has already decided he wants to criminally convict Arpaio, and is just putting on a show trial.

“Legal ethics experts and courthouse regulars are split on whether Snow crossed a line and compromised himself or if Arpaio is trying to force Snow off the case by creating conflict, thus being even further in contempt,” USA Today reports.