FEBRUARY 27, 2009
The federal judge presiding over a racial profiling lawsuit against an Arizona sheriff for cracking down on illegal immigration is twins with the president of an extremist Mexican group that advocates open borders.
Judge Mary Murguia, twin sister of National Council of La Raza President Janet Murguia, will hear the case filed by a group of Hispanics in Phoenix who say their civil rights were violated by the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Department.
A former federal prosecutor, Judge Murguia was the first Hispanic woman appointed to the bench in Arizona in 2000. Earlier this month she denied the sheriff’s request to dismiss the lawsuit which also names Maricopa County as a defendant.
The Hispanics claim racial profiling led Maricopa sheriff’s deputies to stop them and that their Fourth Amendment rights against unreasonable search and seizure were violated. The department has led an effort to curb a growing crisis in its district by partnering with federal authorities to crack down on illegal immigration and hundreds of illegal aliens have been arrested in the last few years.
The National Council of La Raza has strongly condemned the crackdown, claiming that local police enforcement of immigration laws has a serious “negative impact on Latino communities” and inevitably leads to higher levels of racial profiling, police misconduct, and civil rights violations.
That the judge in this case is related to the leader of such a group could certainly present the appearance of a conflict of interest. That’s why the defendant, Maricopa Sheriff Joe Arpaio, wants a different judge and this week attorneys for the department filed a motion to remove Judge Murguia from the lawsuit.
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