- Associated Press - Monday, July 20, 2015

PHOENIX (AP) - Contempt-of-court hearings against Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio are scheduled to resume in late September to examine the lawman’s acknowledged violations of a judge’s orders in a racial profiling case.

U.S. District Judge Murray Snow on Monday denied Arpaio’s request to put the contempt case on hold while the sheriff’s office asks an appeals court to disqualify the judge from the case.

Ten days ago, Snow rejected Arpaio’s argument that he was biased because he posed questions about two secret investigations involving the judge that were done on the sheriff’s behalf. The contempt hearings began in April, but Arpaio’s disqualification request put the case on hold for two months.

“We need to move forward. We need to correct anything that’s problematic and resolve this case,” Snow said.

The contempt hearings are set to resume on Sept. 22 through 25 and Sept. 29 through Oct. 2.

The judge also approved a request from the U.S. Justice Department for documents that were given to Arpaio’s office by a confidential informant hired by the agency in a secret investigations involving Snow.

Snow has said the investigation in question was intended to show an alleged conspiracy between him and federal authorities who are pressing a separate civil rights lawsuit against Arpaio. Arpaio, who in the past has been accused of retaliating against his critics, insists there were no investigations of Snow.

Some documents sought by the Justice Department have been publicly released and show that the sheriff’s office was pushing the confidential informant for information to back up his claims about the conspiracy on the eve of the April contempt hearings. A sheriff’s investigator said in emails that the informant was paid $120,000 for his work, but that none of his information proved useful in the secret investigation.

Arpaio was in court Monday, but didn’t make any comments during the hearing.

Two years ago, in a case pushed by the American Civil Liberties Union, Snow dealt Arpaio one of his toughest legal blows by ruling the sheriff’s officers had racially profiled Latinos.

Earlier this year, Snow launched a contempt case against Arpaio for the sheriff’s acknowledged violations of court orders, including letting officers conduct immigration patrols for 18 months after being ordered to stop them.

Last week, the Justice Department and Arpaio agreed to settle the separate civil rights case.

The settlement resolves the Justice Department’s allegations that Arpaio’s office retaliated against the sheriff’s critics, discriminated against Latinos in business raids targeting identity theft by immigrants and punishing Latino jail inmates with limited English skills for speaking Spanish.

After Monday’s hearing, the Justice Department asked to become a party in the profiling case that’s being pushed by the ACLU. The Justice Department says Snow is expected to order changes to sheriff’s office as a result of the contempt case and that the federal agency has an interest in ensuring the constitutional violations by Arpaio’s office are remedied.

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