Dec 13, 2012 4:25 PM
PHOENIX (AP) - A judge has dismissed an Arizona sheriff's office from a lawsuit alleging the agency carried out a pattern of discrimination against Latinos in its immigration patrols, but rejected a request to dismiss Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio himself from the case.
The ruling Wednesday by U.S. District Judge Roslyn Silver means the U.S. Justice Department's lawsuit against the sheriff and Maricopa County can move forward.
The judge, in dismissing the sheriff's office, said there was no law giving the agency the right to be sued as a separate legal entity.
The lawsuit accuses Arpaio's office of racially profiling Latinos in its immigration patrols and punishing Latino jail inmates with limited English skills for speaking Spanish.
The sheriff denies the allegations.