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Latino motorists profiled by Sheriff Joe Arpaio finally get due justice

LatinaLista — Sheriff Joe Arpaio may have been pardoned but his legacy of unlawfully detaining people perceived to be undocumented Latino immigrants is unforgivable in the court of public opinion and, apparently, in U.S. federal court.

As a result of the federal court case, originally known as Ortega Melendres v. Arpaio, now known as Ortega Melendres v. Penzone, people who were stopped by Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office (MSCO) between December 23, 2011 and May 24, 2013, based on their immigration status, can finally have their justice — if they make it before the deadline.

Lawsuit Background

  • In 2007, the Plaintiffs brought this lawsuit, Ortega Melendres v. Penzone, and challenged MCSO’s practice of stopping or holding Hispanic/Latino individuals in violation of the U.S. Constitution.
  • In 2011, a federal judge in this case issued a Preliminary Injunction that prohibited MCSO from stopping people on the basis of their immigration status or continuing to hold or transfer them to immigration officials on that basis.
  • In 2015, the Plaintiffs claimed MCSO violated this court order, and in 2016, the Court agreed with the Plaintiffs and found MCSO in civil contempt.

As a result of finding MCSO in contempt, a compensation fund was established to pay everyone (regardless of immigration status) who were stopped, detained or suffered personal distress by Sheriff Joe and his team.

A bilingual website is online where people can file their claims, if they feel they were stopped during the designated time frame.

According to the website, anyone who was detained for more than 20 minutes can receive $500. If they were detained for over an hour, they can receive $35 for every 20 minutes in detention. However, there’s a cap of $10,000 compensation.

Deadline to file a claim is December 3, 2018.



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