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Sheriff Joe Arpaio Loses 9th Circuit Injunction Appeal

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By Robyn Hagan Cain on September 28, 2012 4:01 PM

The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled this week that Maricopa Sheriff Joe Arpaio can't detain people solely on the suspicion that they're undocumented immigrants, reports Fox News.

"America's toughest sheriff" was appealing a preliminary injunction that a district court judge issued last year.

Plaintiffs in the case sued Arpaio in 2007, alleging that the Maricopa Sheriff's Department has a "custom, policy and practice of racial profiling toward Latino persons in Maricopa County and an unconstitutional policy and practice of stopping Latino drivers and passengers pretextually and without individualized suspicion or cause, and of subjecting them to different, burdensome, stigmatizing and injurious treatment once stopped" under the auspices of enforcing immigration laws."

In particular, they complained that the Department conducted racially-discriminatory traffic stops and launched "crime suppression sweeps," also known as "saturation patrols," targeting Latinos as part of their immigration enforcement plan.

On Tuesday, a three-judge panel ruled that U.S. District Judge Murray Snow didn't abuse his authority in granting a partial injunction in the matter, and that the ruling didn't impair the sheriff's ability to enforce state and federal criminal laws, Huffington Post reports.

The Ninth Circuit noted that its ruling was limited to the partial injunction; the court did not weigh in on the merits of the plaintiffs' racial profiling case. Both sides are still awaiting a verdict in the case after a seven-day trial that ended on August 2.

Sheriff Arpaio's appeal wasn't the only Arizona immigration issue the Ninth Circuit considered this week. On Tuesday, the court refused to enjoin the "papers please" section of S.B. 1070, which requires police officers, where reasonable suspicion exists, to check the immigration status of people they detain during investigations or traffic stops, reports. The immigration verification provision of the bill was the only section to survive in the Supreme Court's Arizona v. U.S. decision in June.

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