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Live video feed from jail banned

Sat., Aug. 7, 2004

PHOENIX – A federal appeals panel on Friday upheld a lower court’s decision to stop cameras from transmitting live video of Maricopa County Jail inmates to the Internet.

One of the judges from the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals said the practice “constitutes a level of humiliation that almost anyone would regard as profoundly undesirable.” The ruling came on an appeal by Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio, who challenged a U.S. District Court judge’s decision to stop the cameras.

Judge Earl Carroll’s preliminary injunction in March 2003 prohibited the video feed until resolution of a lawsuit alleging the cameras violate 14th Amendment guarantees of due process and equal protection.

Twenty-four former inmates at Phoenix’s Madison Street Jail – which exclusively holds people awaiting trial – filed the lawsuit in May 2001 against Arpaio and Maricopa County, which includes the Phoenix area.

The inmates said the use of the jail cameras amounted to unconstitutional punishment of people who had not been convicted of a crime.

Arpaio has gained notoriety for putting inmates on chain gangs and issuing them striped uniforms and pink underwear.


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