Maricopa County Sheriff lawsuits cost taxpayers millions - New York News

Maricopa County Sheriff lawsuits cost taxpayers millions

Posted: Updated:
Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio

By Jacques Billeaud
Associated Press

PHOENIX (AP) -- Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio has made a name for himself on the national political stage with his crackdowns on illegal immigration and tough jail policies.

But his efforts have also have cost Maricopa County tens of millions of dollars in court cases. Several people who were the target of Arpaio's investigations have sued the county and walked away with large checks.

On Monday, records released by county officials show a four-year political feud with county officials in which Arpaio was a central player has cost taxpayers $38 million.

The following is look at some of Arpaio's legal costs over his 21-year tenure as sheriff.

OFFICIAL CHARGED - $3.5 MILLION

Maricopa County taxpayers paid former Supervisor Don Stapley $3.5 million to settle his abuse-of-power lawsuit against Arpaio. Stapley's lawsuit arose out of two failed criminal cases brought against him by the sheriff and an Arpaio ally who was then the county's top prosecutor. Both criminal cases collapsed in court, without either case ever going to trial. Stapley contended that he had been wrongfully targeted, while Arpaio and his ally maintained they were trying to root out corruption in county government.

POLICE DOG'S DEATH - $775,000

The county agreed to pay $775,000 to settle a lawsuit that alleged Arpaio violated Chandler police Sgt. Tom Lovejoy's rights by arresting him on an animal-abuse charge after the officer's police dog died from excessive heat in August 2007 after being left in a hot police vehicle for 12 hours. Lovejoy was acquitted of the misdemeanor charge and accused Arpaio of trumping up the criminal case so the sheriff could exploit the publicity. The sheriff argued the arrest was constitutional because investigators had probable cause to arrest Lovejoy.

RACIAL PROFILING - $21 MILLION

Arpaio's office estimates that it will cost taxpayers more than $21 million over the next 18 months to pay for changes required by a judge who found the agency had systematically racially profiled Latinos in patrols. The compliance costs including hiring a court-appointed official to monitor the agency's operations, installing video cameras in hundreds of the agency's patrol vehicles and carrying out additional training to ensure officers aren't making unconstitutional arrests. Arpaio has said he doesn't regret getting involved in immigration enforcement and is appealing the judge's racial-profiling ruling. He has asked the federal government to pick up the compliance tab.

JAIL DEATH - $3.2 MILLION

The county paid $3.2 million to settle a lawsuit by a diabetic woman's family members who alleged she was denied medical treatment while incarcerated in one Arpaio's jails. Deborah Ann Braillard was brought to the jail in January 2005 and died more than two weeks later at a hospital. The lawsuit alleged that detention officers and health workers within the jail system knew of her condition but did nothing to treat her. Braillard received no insulin or a diabetic diet after she was brought in the jail system and was found face-down her cell after her daughter called the jail. She died 18 days after she was taken to hospital, the lawsuit said. Lawyers for the county said Braillard failed to advise the jail of her condition and denied that she complained about her condition.

RESTRAINT CHAIR DEATH - $8.25 MILLION

The county and its excess insurance carrier shared the costs of an $8.25 million settlement in a wrongful-death lawsuit filed the family of a man who died in 1996 during a struggle with detention officers who forced him into a restraint chair and pushed his head into his chest. A medical examiner ruled that Scott Norberg died accidentally by "positional asphyxia." The lawsuit alleged that Arpaio's officers suffocated Norberg and the medical examiner's office covered up evidence of a beating. Federal investigators dropped their investigation of Norberg's death, saying the evidence is consistent with the opinion of medical examiner. Arpaio said he was confident his officers didn't do anything wrong and that he believes the Justice Department's decision exonerated his officers.

© 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Didn't find what
you were looking for?

  • Local NewsLocal NewsMore>>

  • Deep split in Port Authority over unfinished WTC tower

    Deep split in Port Authority over unfinished WTC tower

    Wednesday, April 23 2014 9:03 PM EDT2014-04-24 01:03:40 GMT
    Board members of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey revealed a deep split Wednesday over the agency's role in effecting the completion of the long-delayed 3 World Trade Center project, with some commissioners lauding the effort and others expressing grave concerns. The discussion at the monthly board meeting offered a rare glimpse into the negotiations that have been going on behind the scenes in recent months.
    Board members of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey revealed a deep split Wednesday over the agency's role in effecting the completion of the long-delayed 3 World Trade Center project, with some commissioners lauding the effort and others expressing grave concerns. The discussion at the monthly board meeting offered a rare glimpse into the negotiations that have been going on behind the scenes in recent months.
  • God's Love We Deliver virtual bake sale for birthday cakes

    God's Love We Deliver virtual bake sale for birthday cakes

    Wednesday, April 23 2014 6:36 PM EDT2014-04-23 22:36:46 GMT
    God's Love We Deliver provides meals to people in the New York City area who are too sick to shop and cook for themselves. Clients also receive birthday cards that are decorated by local school students. Sometimes a cake is the only birthday gift that God's Love's clients will receive.
    God's Love We Deliver provides meals to people in the New York City area who are too sick to shop and cook for themselves. Clients also receive birthday cards that are decorated by local school students. Sometimes a cake is the only birthday gift that God's Love's clients will receive.
  • Success Academy students waiting for word on new locations

    Success Academy students waiting for word on new locations

    Wednesday, April 23 2014 5:58 PM EDT2014-04-23 21:58:48 GMT
    The mayor's office is saying one thing. The charter schools another. It is a lot of he said, she said. The bottom line is that right now the future of three charter schools is still unclear. Jennifer Duran is afraid because she doesn't know where her two children are going to school next year. Both kids attend success academy Harlem 4, one of three charter schools that still does not have a set location. The other two charters are Success Academy Jamaica in Queens and Success Academy City Hall.
    The mayor's office is saying one thing. The charter schools another. It is a lot of he said, she said. The bottom line is that right now the future of three charter schools is still unclear. Jennifer Duran is afraid because she doesn't know where her two children are going to school next year. Both kids attend success academy Harlem 4, one of three charter schools that still does not have a set location. The other two charters are Success Academy Jamaica in Queens and Success Academy City Hall.
Powered by WorldNow
Didn't find what you were looking for?
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 Fox Television Stations, Inc. and Worldnow. All Rights Reserved.
Privacy Policy | Terms of Service | Ad Choices