PHOENIX -- A federal judge has delayed his decision over whether to refer Sheriff Joe Arpaio for criminal contempt charges.
U.S. District Judge Murray Snow was considering repercussions Tuesday for last month's civil contempt finding against Arpaio, Chief Deputy Jerry Sheridan, Lieutenant Joe Sousa, and former Chief Brian Sands.
In federal court Tuesday morning, Judge Snow sorted through a list of new steps he plans to take against the Maricopa County Sheriff's Office.
The most serious sanction that Judge Snow discussed Tuesday morning was full oversight of the office's internal affairs division.
"I fully intend to grant to my monitor full authority to oversee all MCSO internal investigations," Snow said.
In a surprise move, the plaintiffs in the case also asked Judge Snow to grant the court monitor authority to re-investigate all cases linked to the 2014 suicide of MCSO Deputy Charley Armendariz.
Mounds of evidence, drugs, license plates, and personal belongings of people pulled over by MCSO's now defunct Human Smuggling Unit were discovered in Armendariz's garage after his death.
Internal investigations by MCSO suggested other deputies were involved with stashing evidence. But those investigations were deemed either "incomplete" and "deficient" by Snow and attorneys for the plaintiffs.
Snow said he will order new investigations of some of the cases considered most important. He added that Chief Deputy Sheridan will be re-investigated for disobeying court orders.
Snow also stated that he does not intend to refer Sands and Sousa for criminal contempt charges. However, he did not discuss whether Arpaio or Sheridan could be referred for criminal charges.
The hearing continues Tuesday afternoon. Stay with 12 News.com for updates.