Arpaio Watch: Why He'll Have To Be Satisfied With SB 1070

PHOTO: ArpaioMatt York/AP Photo
In this July 17, 2012, file photo, Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio speaks during a press conference in Phoenix.

For more posts in the Arpaio Watch series, click here.

Maricopa Sheriff Joe Arpaio was denied an appeal yesterday that would have let his deputies take Arizona's SB 1070 a step further.

The "show me your papers" law says that police must first engage in a lawful stop -- broken tail light, reckless driving, whatever -- before they can start asking someone about immigration status. Arpaio's office was in court yesterday trying to skip the broken tail light phase and go straight to the "papers, please" part.

According to a lawsuit filed in 2007 by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), Arpaio's deputies were stopping people solely to check immigration status, a complaint that was part of a larger racial profiling case against the sheriff.

Since the case is ongoing, a lower court judge ordered in December 2011 that Arpaio should halt any immigration checks that aren't preceded by a lawful stop. Arpaio filed for an appeal earlier this month, but was denied yesterday.

The trial portion of the ACLU case is finished, and a ruling could come any day. That's a big deal, the AP reports:

The lawsuit marks the first case in which the sheriff's office has been accused of systematically racially profiling Latinos, and will serve as a precursor for a similar yet broader civil rights lawsuit filed against Arpaio in May by the U.S. Department of Justice.

There has never been a finding by a court that Arpaio's office has racially profiled Latinos, though a case that made such an allegation was settled last year for $200,000 without an admission of wrongdoing by the sheriff's office.

Click here to find out why ABC/Univision decided to launch Arpaio Watch.