A federal appeals court on Tuesday denied Arizona sheriff Joe Arpaio’s request to reverse a lower-court decision barring his deputies from detaining people solely on the suspicion that they’re undocumented immigrants. The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco issued a 23-page ruling after considering the narrow question of a preliminary injunction while a Phoenix trial court considers the merits of the entire lawsuit against Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio.
The appeals court ruling focused only on the lower court’s limit on Arpaio’s immigration powers and doesn’t confront the case’s ultimate question of whether deputies in Arizona’s most populous county have racially profiled Latinos on their patrols.
A three-judge panel ruled U.S. District Judge Murray Snow didn’t abuse his authority in granting the order and said the ruling didn’t impair the sheriff’s ability to enforce state and federal criminal laws.
Judge Snow has yet to rule on the racial profiling case brought by a small group of Latinos, who have accused Arpaio’s deputies of pulling over some vehicles only to make immigration status checks during regular traffic patrols. The seven-day trial without a jury ended Aug. 2. Snow hasn’t indicated when he would rule.