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Melendres v. Arpaio

United States Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit

April 15, 2015

MANUEL DE JESUS ORTEGA MELENDRES; JESSICA QUITUGUA RODRIGUEZ; DAVID RODRIGUEZ; VELIA MERAZ; MANUEL NIETO, JR.; SOMOS AMERICA, Plaintiffs-Appellees,
v.
JOSEPH M. ARPAIO; MARICOPA COUNTY SHERIFF'S OFFICE, Defendants-Appellants

Argued and Submitted, San Francisco, California December 3, 2014.

Page 1255

[Copyrighted Material Omitted]

Page 1256

Appeals from the United States District Court for the District of Arizona. D.C. No. 2:07-cv-02513-GMS, D.C. No. 2:07-cv-02513-GMS. G. Murray Snow, District Judge, Presiding.

SUMMARY[*]

Civil Rights

The panel affirmed in part and vacated in part the district court's permanent injunction and remanded in an action against Sheriff Joseph M. Arpaio and the Maricopa County Sheriff's Office alleging that defendants have a custom, policy and practice of racially profiling Latino drivers and passengers, and of stopping them pretextually under the auspices of enforcing federal and state immigration-related laws.

The panel first held that the Maricopa County Sheriff's Office, a non-jural entity under Arizona state law, improperly was named as a party in the action. The panel ordered that Maricopa County be substituted as a party in lieu of the Sheriff's Office and also that on remand, the district court may consider dismissal of Sheriff Arpaio in his official capacity because an official-capacity suit is, in all respects other than name, to be treated as a suit against the entity.

Addressing the defendants' sufficiency of the evidence argument, the panel held the district court did not clearly err in finding that defendants' unconstitutional policies extended beyond the saturation patrol context. Moreover, the panel held that the district court did not err in holding that the named plaintiffs had standing to assert the claims of absent class members who were stopped during non-saturation patrols. For the same reasons, the panel held that there was no error in the district court's class certification order.

The panel held that the injunction was not overbroad simply because it included non-saturation patrols. The panel further upheld specific provisions of the injunction pertaining to corrective training and supervision procedures and provisions requiring specific data collection and video-recording of traffic stops. The panel additionally held that most of the provisions dealing with the scope of the appointed Monitor's assessment authority were narrowly tailored to remedying the specific constitutional violations.

The panel held that the provisions of the injunction which broadly require the appointed Monitor to consider the internal investigations and reports of officer misconduct created a problem to the extent that such internal investigations and reports were unrelated to the constitutional violations found by the district court. The panel held that these provisions were not narrowly tailored to addressing the relevant violations of federal law. The panel therefore vacated those particular provisions and ordered the district court to tailor them so as to address only the constitutional violations at issue in this case.

For Defendants-Appellants: Eileen Dennis GilBride (argued), Jones, Skelton & Hochuli, P.L.C., Phoenix, Arizona; Timothy Casey and James Williams, Schmitt, Schneck, Smyth, Casey & Even, P.C., Phoenix, Arizona; Thomas Purcell Liddy, Deputy County Attorney, Maricopa County Attorney's Office, Phoenix, Arizona.

For Plaintiffs-Appellees: Stanley Young (argued), Hyun S. Byun, and Priscilla G. Taylor, Covington & Burling LLP, Redwood Shores, California; Tammy Albarran, Covington & Burling LLP, San Francisco, California; Dan Pochoda and James Lyall, ACLU Foundation of Arizona, Phoenix, Arizona; Andre Segura, ACLU Foundation Immigrants' Rights Project, New York, New York; Jorge Martin Castillo, Mexican American Legal and Educational Fund, Los Angeles, California; Cecillia D. Wang, ACLU Foundation Immigrants' Rights Project, San Francisco, California; Anne Lai, Irvine, California.

Before: J. Clifford Wallace, Susan P. Graber, and Marsha S. Berzon, Circuit Judges.

OPINION

Page 1257

WALLACE, Senior Circuit Judge:

In a previous opinion in this case, we affirmed the district court's post-trial preliminary injunction against Sheriff Joseph M. Arpaio and the Maricopa County Sheriff's Office (individually, Sheriff Arpaio and MCSO; collectively, Defendants), which prohibited Defendants from detaining any individual " based only on knowledge or reasonable belief, without more, that the person is unlawfully present within the United States." See Melendres v. Arpaio, 695 F.3d 990, 994 (9th Cir. 2012) ( Melendres I ). In this opinion, we address Defendants' appeal from the district court's more comprehensive permanent injunction.

Page 1258

We have jurisdiction pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1291. We affirm in part, and we vacate and remand in part.

I.

The background facts of this case may be found in greater detail in Melendres I. The facts relevant to the arguments made in the present appeal are as follows. Manuel de Jesus Ortega Melendres; David and Jessica Rodriguez; Manuel Nieto, Jr.; Velia Meraz; the organization Somos America; and the class of individuals the named plaintiffs represent (collectively, Plaintiffs) brought a class action for declaratory and injunctive relief, alleging that Defendants have a " custom, policy and practice" of racially profiling Latino drivers and passengers, and of stopping them pretextually under the auspices of enforcing federal and state immigration-related laws. Id. at 994-95. Plaintiffs alleged that Defendants' discriminatory policy extended to the post-stop investigatory process, resulting in longer and more burdensome detentions for Latinos than for non-Latinos. These policies, according to Plaintiffs, violated federal constitutional and statutory law. Id.

It was alleged that Defendants implemented this policy primarily during " saturation patrols," or " crime suppression sweeps," in which Defendant officers would " saturat[e]" a particular area and " sweep[]" it, looking for violations of federal civil immigration laws and state immigration-related laws. Id. at 994. Indeed, each of the named individual plaintiffs, except for David and Jessica Rodriguez, was stopped by defendant officers during a saturation patrol. The district court ultimately certified a plaintiff class encompassing " [a]ll Latino persons who, since January 2007, have been or will be . . . stopped, detained, questioned or searched by [Defendants'] agents while driving or sitting in a vehicle on a public roadway or parking area in Maricopa County, Arizona," regardless of whether such persons were stopped, detained, questioned, or searched as part of a saturation patrol. Id. at 995 (alteration in original). At trial, the vast majority of evidence focused on Defendants' use of race during saturation patrols, although some evidence indicated that Defendants' policies and practices extended to regular, non-saturation patrols.

After a bench trial, the district court concluded that Defendants employed an unconstitutional policy of considering race as a factor in determining where to conduct patrol operations, in deciding whom to stop and investigate for civil immigration violations, and in prolonging the detentions of Latinos while their immigration status was confirmed. The court found that these unconstitutional policies applied to both saturation and non-saturation patrol activities. As a result, the district court permanently enjoined Defendants from (1) " detaining, holding or arresting Latino occupants of vehicles in Maricopa County based on a reasonable belief, without more, that such persons are in the country without authorization" ; (2) " using race or Latino ancestry" as a factor in deciding whether to stop any vehicle with a Latino occupant, or in deciding whether a vehicle occupant was in the United States without authorization; (3) " detaining Latino occupants of vehicles stopped for traffic violations for a period longer than reasonably necessary to resolve the traffic violation in the absence of reasonable suspicion that any of them have committed or are committing a ...


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