Ted Simons: A Federal judge began the process of ending racial profiles by the Maricopa County sheriff's office. Judge Snow gave the MCSO and those who filed suit time to resolve the issue with the U.S. Justice Department, also involved in the talks. Joining us now is Arizona Republic reporter J.J. Hensley who has been following the story. Good to see again.
JJ Hensley: Good to be here.
Ted Simons: So give us a better indication, what happens, this is a hearing on Friday, the first hearing since the decision, correct?
JJ Hensley: Right, the decision came out right before, before memorial day and, and so, Friday was the first time that, that everyone kind of got back together in court and, and it was a relatively brief hearing, considering that this, this case has been going on for, for years now, and this took less than an hour, and the judge opened with 8 minutes further clarifying his -page ruling. And then said, basically, this is what I'm thinking, and lawyers, why don't you tell me where you are coming from, in the ACLU spoke up and said we would like more time to negotiate with the sheriff's office and see if we can come to an agreement.
Ted Simons: The sheriff's office said that's ok by us?
JJ Hensley: Yeah, they were onboard with that, and it seems like there were a lot of issues here, you know, in training, the data collection, and the stand alone policies, on racial profiling, and all these things, the sheriff's office is generally in agreement on, it's kind of going to be the devil in the details, that that might derail the negotiations at some point.
Ted Simons: Had those two sides been working together, or talking since this decision?
JJ Hensley: I think they just got started on that process, and that is why they said, judge, it was a lengthy and thorough decision. We have had the time to go through it and we're starting the negotiations, or discussions, and we would like to be able to continue those, so maybe give us until mid August, before we can come back and tell you where we're at.
Ted Simons: And the negotiations and discussions center on how to get the sheriff's office to stop doing what it's doing, regarding racial profiling?
JJ Hensley: More or less. I mean, the real, the real point here is that correct is that the judge wants to, to, to have them both come to him, with a plan on how we're going to implement this ruling, and ensure that sticks. And, and, you know, what they don't want to happen, and one of the things that's going to be an issue with the kind of the training and the education is, is, you remember, way back when, the ICE.
Ted Simons: Yes.
JJ Hensley: The immigration and customs enforcement removed the sheriff's ability to enforce the Federal immigration law. And, and months later, they had Chris coback from Kansas, the author of SB 1070, give them training that says don't need that law, or don't need that authorization. You have inherent authority to enforce these laws, and they took that as the Marching orders and left. And, and you, you know, judge Snow clearly doesn't want to, a repeat of that with, with maybe questionable education or training being part of that order.
Ted Simons: Was that the reason that he clarified some aspects of this order?
JJ Hensley: Well, I mean, one of the main aspects, you know, when I was on last we talked about kind of what, what are the, the key pieces of this injunction, there were seven items, and most of it was you cannot detain persons of Latino decent any longer than an Anglo driver. One of the key things, one of the few like actionable items was that he prohibited the sheriff's office from using what's called their LEAR policy, L-E-A-R. It authorized them to contact ICE if they came across someone undocumented or they suspected being undocumented. But did not have any state charges on them. So, there was, you know, not speeding or murder or any other kind of violation. To hold them on. Judge Snow enjoins them from using that policy, and then in the first minutes says well, you know, I have seen coverage in the media that says you are not allowed to call ICE, that's not what I meant. You are allowed to call ICE, and you just can't detain immigrants while you are calling ICE. Which the sheriff's office says, would, would not -- the net effect is the same. We cannot detain them, what is the sense of calling ICE.
Ted Simons: Back to the talks here, we talked last time wondering, would the justices department be interested in or continue to pursue, which angle did they go? They are going to be involved in the talks.
JJ Hensley: Yeah.
Ted Simons: And are you surprised?
JJ Hensley: I was surprised, I mean, we had gotten hints that that could be coming, but, everyone afterwards, I try to get clarification on just how involved they would be, and it seems like they, both them and the, the attorneys represent the sheriff's office in that Federal lawsuit going to be very active participants in this. And the Justice Department sees this as an opportunity to get what they called a universal settlement to resolve both the, the melendras claim and their lawsuit.
Ted Simons: An all-encompassing thing, just get this over with.
JJ Hensley: Yeah, and no matter where you come down on this, this issue or these lawsuits, the potential to, avoid another costly round, of lengthy litigation and discovery by letting the Justice Department in on these negotiations, is probably good news for everyone who, who pays taxes here.
Ted Simons: Something else that we discussed at length, on your appearances, is the concept of a court appointed monitor for the sheriff's office. That seems to be the one thing that, that the sheriff and MCSO does not want. Sounds like judge Murray Snow wants it.
JJ Hensley: Oh, yeah. He made it abundantly clear in that he expects there will be a Monday for appointed here. Now the sheriff's office is saying well, if there is going to be a monitor, and it looks like there is, maybe we could get it kind of like to judge Wake did, in 2008, when, when he ruled that conditions in the jails were unconstitutional. And he played a very active role in resolving that. He stayed on top of it. He appointed what I have come to consider like monitors by proxy. He force the sheriff's office to file a, a, to, to hire a dietitian to ensure that, that all the inmates' meals meet USDA dietary guidelines. And then snow would receive reports from that dietitian.
Ted Simons: Yes. And, and is this the kind of thing, obviously, that was then. This is now. And is this the Sheriff's Department -- just, in general, how is mcso taking this? How are they responding?
JJ Hensley: The official word is, we will live up to the letter and the spirit of that ruling. And they want to, to make it, it -- no doubt, that they are following this ruling, they certainly don't want to be in contempt of the Federal judge. You know and last week, in court the sheriff's attorney said, that that, that the sheriff's office is out of the Federal immigration enforcement business. So, this, this decision managed to undo a lot of what the critics have been off after them to do since may of 2006,2007 . And, and I think privately, people are so, kind of concerned about, about catching the judge's attention with statements that they might make or that could get out there, that there is very little of that, and shows that he's aware of what people saying, just by his comments at the beginning of the hearing on Friday.
Ted Simons: And, and not only that, but the order, itself, I mean, made it clear that what you are saying, right, I was listening.
JJ Hensley: Right. The contemporaneous statements, he called them. Arpaio's statements in the media in 2007 and 2008 when the sweeps were going on.
Ted Simons: Give us a timetable here, what happens next?
JJ Hensley: So we have until mid August for both sides to negotiate. And, and snow said that he expects them to submit to him, and a consent decree by August 15th, and there is going to be hearing on August 30th. That live give him time to see what issues they have not agreed to, and I think given what we have heard, I think there will be a lot of issues that they can agree to. And it might be this monitor, who, who is it going to be and what authority they going to have? Snow saying needs to strike a delicate balance between insuring that, that, that the citizens, the constitutional rights are protect, and insuring that the sheriffs constitutional authority is protected, as well, with this so if he's aware of that argument, but the other issues, are going to be kind of, you know, who does training and, and what is their background and, and how much training are we going to be talking about and things like that.
Ted Simons: We'll look out for that, for that great work, thank you for joining us, and we appreciate it.
JJ Hensley: Thank you.