and Submitted September 15, 2017 San Francisco, California
from the United States District Court for the District of
Arizona Roslyn O. Silver, Senior District Judge, Presiding
D.C. No. 2:12-cv-00981-ROS
Richard K. Walker (argued), Walker & Peskind PLLC,
Scottsdale, Arizona, for Defendant-Appellant.
Elizabeth Parr Hecker (argued) and Thomas E. Chandler,
Attorneys; Gregory B. Friel, Deputy Assistant Attorney
General; Civil Rights Division, United States Department of
Justice, Washington, D.C.; for Plaintiff-Appellee.
Before: Ronald M. Gould, Richard C. Tallman, and Paul J.
Watford, Circuit Judges.
panel affirmed the district court's summary judgment in
favor of the United States, which brought this action to halt
racially discriminatory policing policies concerning traffic
stops instituted by Joseph Arpaio, the former Sheriff of
Maricopa County, Arizona.
panel held that Sheriff Arpaio acted as a final policymaker
for the County. The panel further held that because the
traffic-stop policies at issue fell with the scope of a
sheriff's law-enforcement duties, Arpaio acted as a final
policymaker for Maricopa County when he instituted those
panel held that Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and
34 U.S.C. § 12601 authorized policymaker liability. The
panel further held that the proper standard for determining
which employees have the power to establish an entity's
"official policy" under Title VI and 34 U.S.C.
§ 12601 is the standard that governs under 42 U.S.C.
§ 1983. The panel concluded that Maricopa County was
liable for violations of Title VI and § 12601 stemming
from its own official policies. Finally the panel held that
when Arpaio adopted the racially discriminatory traffic-stop
policies at issue, he acted as a final policymaker for the
County, and the district court correctly held the County
liable for the violations of Title VI and § 12601 caused
by those policies.
panel held that the district court properly applied issue
preclusion to bar the County from relitigating the lawfulness
of Arpaio's traffic-stop policies because the County was
bound by prior adverse findings. See Melendres v.
Arpaio, 695 F.3d 990 (9th Cir. 2012).
WATFORD, CIRCUIT JUDGE
United States brought this action to halt racially
discriminatory policing policies instituted by Joseph Arpaio,
the former Sheriff of Maricopa County, Arizona. Under
Arpaio's leadership, the Maricopa County Sheriff's
Office (MCSO) routinely targeted Latino drivers and
passengers for pretextual traffic stops aimed at detecting
violations of federal immigration law. Based on that and
other unlawful conduct, the United States sued Arpaio, MCSO,
and the County of Maricopa under two statutes: Title VI of
the Civil Rights Act of 1964, 42 U.S.C. § 2000d, and 34
U.S.C. § 12601 (formerly codified at 42 U.S.C. §
14141). The district court granted summary
judgment in favor of the United States on the claims relating
to the unlawful traffic stops; the parties settled the
remaining claims. Maricopa County is the lone appellant here.
Its main contention is that it cannot be held liable for the
unlawful traffic-stop policies implemented by Arpaio.
begin with a summary of the lengthy legal proceedings
involving Arpaio's unlawful policing policies. In an
earlier class action lawsuit, Melendres v. Arpaio, a
group of plaintiffs representing a class of Latino drivers
and passengers sued Arpaio, MCSO, and the County of Maricopa
under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 and Title VI. They alleged that
execution of Arpaio's racially discriminatory
traffic-stop policies violated their rights under the Fourth
and Fourteenth Amendments. Following a bench trial, the
district court ruled in the plaintiffs' favor and granted
broad injunctive ...