Decision not to charge Ariz. Sheriff isn't the end

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Associated Press

Posted on September 1, 2012 at 8:00 PM

Updated Saturday, Sep 1 at 8:02 PM

PHOENIX (AP) — Even though a federal investigation into alleged abuse of power by Arizona sheriff Joe Arpaio (ahr-PEYE'-oh) has ended without criminal charges, his legal troubles are far from over.

There's still no verdict from a federal judge in Arizona on a civil case brought by a small group of Latinos who accuse Arpaio's office of systematic racial profiling.

And the Justice Department has sued the sheriff for alleged constitutional violations -- including racial profiling, retaliating against critics, punishing Latino jail inmates for speaking Spanish, and failing to adequately investigate a large number of sex-crimes cases. No trial date has been set.

Yesterday, the Justice Department announced that it will not pursue criminal charges against the sheriff or his office, or against a former top prosecutor and an aide, for alleged abuse of power.

The prosecutor -- a long-time Arpaio ally -- and the aide were disbarred earlier this year by the state Supreme Court. An ethics panel found they had brought criminal charges against two county officials and a judge with the purpose of embarrassing them.

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