PHOENIX (AP) - Arizona's most populous county is halting new prosecutions of people under the state's immigrant smuggling law in the wake of a federal judge's order.
Maricopa County Attorney Bill Montgomery ordered the freeze on Monday in response to U.S. District Judge Robert Broomfield's ruling Friday.
The ruling said Maricopa County cannot prosecute people who pay to be smuggled into the United States with conspiracy.
The judge said the county's interpretation of the smuggling law conflicts with federal law and that federal immigration law triumphs over the state smuggling law.
Montgomery's freeze on new prosecutions applies to both smugglers and people being smuggled.
Montgomery says the judge's order doesn't specifically bar prosecutions of smugglers but that the judge's reasoning for his ruling may have broader implications.