Racist Arizona Sheriff Joe Arpaio Goes On Trial

From [HERE] For 24 years, Joe Arpaio was a tough talking sheriff in Arizona, famous for cracking down on illegal immigration.

About a decade ago Arpaio, dubbed "America's Toughest Sheriff" in conservative circles, started instructing his deputies to make traffic stops and detain any unauthorized immigrants they encountered. Then they'd turn the immigrants over to federal agents for deportation.

He was voted out of his Maricopa County office in November but now faces his own legal troubles — a criminal trial begins Monday in which he is accused of ignoring a federal judge's order to curtail his crackdown.

Many in the Latino community are happy to see the tables turned on him.

"These immigration raids tore our neighborhood apart," said Lydia Guzman, an activist who helped sue Arpaio over those tactics. 

"I see different families with kids I see you know people enjoying themselves," she said at a crowded Mexican restaurant, not far from where many of Arpaio's operations took place. "This is what it should have been all along. Not people living in and fear and trying to hide."

In 2011, a federal judge told Arpaio he could not detain immigrants just because they lacked legal status, since that job is primarily for federal agents.

Yet for about 18 months, Arpaio's deputies violated the order. They kept arresting unauthorized immigrants and dropping them off with Border Patrol.

When the judge found out years later, he found Arpaio in civil contempt of court. Then, last fall, under President Obama the Justice Department decided to criminally prosecute Arpaio for disobeying the judge.

The charge against Arpaio is criminal contempt of court, a misdemeanor.

One of Arpaio's lawyers, Jack Wilenchick, called the timing of the prosecution "problematic." [MORE]