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Case Name United States v. Maricopa County PN-AZ-0001
Docket / Court 2:12-cv-00981-LOA ( D. Ariz. )
State/Territory Arizona
Case Type(s) Policing
Attorney Organization U.S. Dept. of Justice Civil Rights Division
Case Summary
This lawsuit was the result of an investigation launched by the Civil Rights Division of the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) in 2009 into the alleged targeting and unconstitutional treatment of Latinos by the Maricopa County Sheriff's Office. (The DOJ's initial inquiry apparently started in 2008, ... read more >
This lawsuit was the result of an investigation launched by the Civil Rights Division of the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) in 2009 into the alleged targeting and unconstitutional treatment of Latinos by the Maricopa County Sheriff's Office. (The DOJ's initial inquiry apparently started in 2008, but the formal investigation opened with notice to the Sheriff's Office in March 2009.)

The Sheriff's Office declined to cooperate in the investigation, leading the DOJ to file a a related lawsuit in September 2010 against Maricopa County under Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, seeking to compel the Sheriff's Office to provide the requested information. See PN-AZ-0002 in this Clearinghouse). Maricopa County settled that lawsuit in June 2011, and agreed to cooperate.

(Also, prior to this case, in 2007, a group of plaintiffs had filed a lawsuit, Melendres v. Arpaio, against the County of Maricopa, the Maricopa County Sheriff's Office, and Sheriff Joe Arpaio. (PN-AZ-0003 in this Clearinghouse). In 2013, the Melendres Court found the MCSO in violation of the Constitution, and entered a permanent injunction forbidding racial profiling.)

In this matter, DOJ released its findings letter reporting the results of the investigation on December 15, 2011. The letter reported that the Maricopa County Sheriff's Office (MCSO) was engaged in an unconstitutional pattern of policing. The DOJ found that the MSCO profiled Latinos, and unlawfully stoped, detained, and arrested Latinos. The DOJ also found that services in the Maricopa County Jail for people of limited English proficiency were insufficient or nonexistent. The DOJ found that a lack of policy to ensure constitutional policing underscored these problems.

On May 10, 2012, the DOJ filed this lawsuit under 42 U.S.C. § 14141 and Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 against Maricopa County and the Maricopa County Sheriff's Office (MCSO) in the U.S. District Court for the District of Arizona. Specifically, the DOJ's complaint alleged that:
  • (1) the MSCO's policies and practices discriminated against Latino persons;
  • (2) the MSCO targeted Latino workers while enforcing state identity theft laws, resulting in the seizure of Latinos at worksites without reasonable suspicion;
  • (3) the MSCO's discriminatory law enforcements practices violated Title VI;
  • (4) the County's jails discriminated against limited English proficiency Latino prisoners in violation of Title VI;
  • (5) the County and MSCO were violating their Title VI contractual assurances; and
  • (6) the County and MSCO retaliated against persons in Maricopa County on the basis of their protected speech.

The DOJ requested injunctive and declaratory relief to stop Maricopa County's alleged practice of depriving Latino persons of their constitutional rights and to stop discrimination against Latinos in violation of Title VI.

The case was assigned to Chief Judge Roslyn O. Silver. On December 12, 2012, she denied Defendants' motion to dismiss the case, but granted the motion to dismiss the MCSO from the case, ruling the MCSO was not an entity that could sue or be sued.

On September 4, 2014, after lengthy discovery, proceedings were held before Judge Silver in which both parties informed the court that they would file dispositive motions. On October 27, the DOJ filed its motion for summary judgment, arguing that the Defendants were precluded by collateral estoppel from re-litigating the issue of whether the MSCO's traffic stops constituted a violation of the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. The DOJ claimed that the issue had already been decided against the MSCO in Melendres v. Arpaio, where the MCSO was a defendant. 989 F. Supp. 2d 822 (D. Ariz. 2013) (PN-AZ-0003 in this Clearinghouse). On the same day, the Defendants made a cross-motion for summary judgment, arguing that neither Title VI nor § 14141 authorized this suit against Maricopa County. On June 15, 2015, Judge Silver granted the DOJ's motion with respect to the traffic stops and denied the Defendants' motion.

On July 15, 2015, Judge Silver ordered the parties to file a joint statement setting forth what issues remained for trial. In response, on July 17, the parties filed a joint motion to approve a settlement agreement regarding the second, fourth, and sixth claims for relief from the DOJ's complaint. The MSCO agreed to stop unconstitutionally enforcing state identity theft laws and to develop an anti-retaliation policy. On July 20, the DOJ moved to stay this action until the court in Melendres (PN-AZ-0003 in this Clearinghouse), in which the DOJ had recently intervened, found that the Defendants had maintained compliance with an injunction for three years. However, the Defendants argued this was inappropriate because when the DOJ moved to intervene in Melendres, it had represented that it would terminate the overlapping parts of this case if the intervention motion was granted. On September 2, 2015, Judge Silver granted the parties' joint motion to approve the settlement agreement with respect to the issues not covered by Melendres--worksite operations and retaliation--but otherwise dismissed the matter.

On December 30, 2015, the defendants appealed this case to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. The Ninth Circuit has not yet ruled on the Defendants' appeal, but has scheduled the case on the September 2017 oral argument calendar.

Blase Kearney - 05/14/2012
Kenneth Gray
John He - 02/05/2016
Gabriela Hybel - 06/04/2017


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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
Constitutional Clause
Due Process
Freedom of speech/association
Unreasonable search and seizure
Content of Injunction
Discrimination Prohibition
Retaliation Prohibition
Warrant/order for search or seizure
Defendant-type
Jurisdiction-wide
Law-enforcement
Discrimination-basis
Immigration status
Language discrimination
National origin discrimination
Race discrimination
General
Conditions of confinement
Disparate Treatment
Failure to discipline
Failure to supervise
Failure to train
False arrest
Inadequate citizen complaint investigations and procedures
Language/ethnic/minority needs
Pattern or Practice
Racial profiling
Search policies
Transportation
Language
Spanish
National Origin/Ethnicity
Hispanic
Plaintiff Type
U.S. Dept of Justice plaintiff
Causes of Action 42 U.S.C. § 14141
Title VI, Civil Rights Act of 1964, 42 U.S.C. § 2000d et seq.
Defendant(s) Maricopa County
Plaintiff Description U.S. Department of Justice
Indexed Lawyer Organizations U.S. Dept. of Justice Civil Rights Division
Class action status sought No
Class action status granted No
Prevailing Party Plaintiff
Public Int. Lawyer Yes
Nature of Relief Injunction / Injunctive-like Settlement
Source of Relief Settlement
Form of Settlement Court Approved Settlement or Consent Decree
Case Ongoing Yes
Case Listing PN-AZ-0002 : United States v. Maricopa County (D. Ariz.)
PN-AZ-0003 : Melendres v. Arpaio (D. Ariz.)
Additional Resources
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  New York City to Pay Up to $75 Million Over Dismissed Summonses
New York Times
Date: Jan. 23, 2017
By: Benjamin Weiser (New York Times)
[ Detail ] [ External Link ]

  Data examining the Department of Justice's civil rights investigations of local and state police departments
Marshall Project
Date: Jan. 17, 2017
By: Tom Meagher (Marshall Project)
[ Detail ] [ External Link ]

  The Civil Rights Division’s Pattern and Practice Police Reform Work: 1994-Present
https://www.justice.gov/
Date: Jan. 4, 2017
By: U.S. Department of Justice (U.S. Department of Justice)
[ Detail ] [ External Link ]

  An Interactive Guide to the Civil Rights Division’s Police Reforms
https://www.justice.gov/
Date: Jan. 4, 2017
By: U.S. Department of Justice Civil Rights Division (U.S. Department of Justice)
[ Detail ] [ External Link ]

  Bravo v. Board of Commissioners of Dona Ana County
http://www.bazelon.org/
Date: 2017
By: The Bazelon Center (The Bazelon Center)
[ Detail ] [ External Link ]

  What Happens When Police Are Forced to Reform?
Date: Nov. 13, 2015
By: Kimbriell Kelly, Sarah Childress and Steven Rich (Frontline/Post)
Citation: Washington Post (Nov. 13, 2015)
[ Detail ] [ External Link ]

  Federal Enforcement of Police Reform
Date: 2014
By: Stephen Rushin (University of Illinois College of Law, University of California, Berkeley - Jurisprudence and Social Policy Program )
Citation: 82 Fordham Law Review 3189 (2014)
[ Detail ] [ External Link ]

Docket(s)
2:12-cv-00981-LOA (D. Ariz.)
PN-AZ-0001-9000.pdf | Detail
Date: 01/04/2016
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
Joint Motion to Remove Case to the Inactive Docket and Stay Proceedings [ECF# 58]
PN-AZ-0001-0013.pdf | External Link | Detail
Date: 06/02/2011
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
United States' Investigation of the Maricopa County Sheriffs Office
PN-AZ-0001-0004.pdf | Detail
Date: 12/15/2011
Complaint [ECF# 1]
PN-AZ-0001-0001.pdf | Detail
Date: 05/10/2012
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Order [ECF# 56] (915 F.Supp.2d 1073) (D. Ariz.)
PN-AZ-0001-0006.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Date: 12/12/2012
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Order [ECF# 379] (2015 WL 9266969) (D. Ariz.)
PN-AZ-0001-0011.pdf | WESTLAW | Detail
Date: 06/15/2015
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Justice Department Reaches Settlement in Civil Rights Lawsuit Against Maricopa County, Arizona, and Maricopa County Sheriff
PN-AZ-0001-0010.pdf | External Link | Detail
Date: 07/17/2015
Source: U.S. Department of Justice, Civil Rights Division, Special Litigation Section
Settlement Agreement [ECF# 391-2]
PN-AZ-0001-0007.pdf | External Link | Detail
Date: 07/17/2015
Source: U.S. Department of Justice, Civil Rights Division, Special Litigation Section
Order [ECF# 391-1] (D. Ariz.)
PN-AZ-0001-0008.pdf | External Link | Detail
Date: 07/17/2015
Source: U.S. Department of Justice, Civil Rights Division, Special Litigation Section
Joint Motion to Approve Settlement Agreement [ECF# 391]
PN-AZ-0001-0009.pdf | External Link | Detail
Date: 07/17/2015
Source: U.S. Department of Justice, Civil Rights Division, Special Litigation Section
Order [ECF# 407] (D. Ariz.)
PN-AZ-0001-0012.pdf | Detail
Date: 09/02/2015
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Judges Anderson, Lawrence O. (D. Ariz.) [Magistrate]
PN-AZ-0001-9000
Silver [Moore-Silver], Roslyn O. (D. Ariz.)
PN-AZ-0001-0006 | PN-AZ-0001-0007 | PN-AZ-0001-0011 | PN-AZ-0001-0012 | PN-AZ-0001-9000
Plaintiff's Lawyers Aminfar, Amin (District of Columbia)
PN-AZ-0001-0013
Austin, Roy L. (District of Columbia)
PN-AZ-0001-0013 | PN-AZ-0001-9000
Buehler, Brian D. (District of Columbia)
PN-AZ-0001-9000
Burke, Dennis K. (District of Columbia)
PN-AZ-0001-0013
Caspar, Edward G. (District of Columbia)
PN-AZ-0001-0001 | PN-AZ-0001-0009 | PN-AZ-0001-9000
Cheema, Puneet (District of Columbia)
PN-AZ-0001-0009 | PN-AZ-0001-9000
Coe, Cynthia (District of Columbia)
PN-AZ-0001-9000
Colangelo, Matthew B. (District of Columbia)
PN-AZ-0001-0013
Gayle, Winsome (District of Columbia)
PN-AZ-0001-0001 | PN-AZ-0001-9000
Gelman, Laurie (District of Columbia)
PN-AZ-0001-0013
Gray, Peter S. (District of Columbia)
PN-AZ-0001-0013
Kappelhoff, Mark (District of Columbia)
PN-AZ-0001-0007 | PN-AZ-0001-0009
Killebrew, Paul (District of Columbia)
PN-AZ-0001-0009 | PN-AZ-0001-9000
Mondino, Jennifer L. (District of Columbia)
PN-AZ-0001-0001 | PN-AZ-0001-0009 | PN-AZ-0001-9000
Morse, Thomas Jackson (District of Columbia)
PN-AZ-0001-9000
Mygatt, Timothy D (District of Columbia)
PN-AZ-0001-0009
Perez, Thomas E. (District of Columbia)
PN-AZ-0001-0004 | PN-AZ-0001-0013 | PN-AZ-0001-9000
Perez, Sergio (District of Columbia)
PN-AZ-0001-0001 | PN-AZ-0001-0013 | PN-AZ-0001-9000
Preston, Judith C. (District of Columbia)
PN-AZ-0001-0009
Shapiro, Avner (District of Columbia)
PN-AZ-0001-0013
Smith, Jonathan Mark (District of Columbia)
PN-AZ-0001-0013 | PN-AZ-0001-9000
Walker, Michael Madison (District of Columbia)
PN-AZ-0001-0013
Defendant's Lawyers Ackerman, Justin Michael (Arizona)
PN-AZ-0001-9000
Connolly, Joel E. (Illinois)
PN-AZ-0001-0009 | PN-AZ-0001-9000
Dysart, Robert L (Arizona)
PN-AZ-0001-9000
Jirauch, Charles W. (Arizona)
PN-AZ-0001-0009 | PN-AZ-0001-9000
Jones, William R. Jr. (Arizona)
PN-AZ-0001-0009 | PN-AZ-0001-0013 | PN-AZ-0001-9000
Masterson, John T. (Arizona)
PN-AZ-0001-0009 | PN-AZ-0001-0013 | PN-AZ-0001-9000
Owers, Roger Stephen (Arizona)
PN-AZ-0001-9000
Popolizio, Joseph John (Arizona)
PN-AZ-0001-0009 | PN-AZ-0001-0013 | PN-AZ-0001-9000
Voepel, Lori Lea (Arizona)
PN-AZ-0001-9000
Walker, Richard K (Arizona)
PN-AZ-0001-0009 | PN-AZ-0001-9000
Webb, Dan K. (Illinois)
PN-AZ-0001-0009 | PN-AZ-0001-9000

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