Former Sheriff Joe Arpaio just got some bad news from federal court. A federal judged denied Arpaio’s request to overturn his contempt of court conviction.
You may remember Arpaio, the man who liked to call himself “America’s toughest sheriff.” But the title “America’s most racist sheriff” would be more accurate.
Arpaio liked to stop minorities and investigate them as undocumented immigrants, without just cause of course. He also liked to round up suspected undocumented immigrants en masse.
Arpaio also liked to put prisoners in prison camps in the middle of the desert. The conditions at these camps were horrifying, though.
Arpaio’s actions were clearly unconstitutional. So federal courts ordered him to stop in 2011.
Arpaio refused to stop, though. So a federal court found him guilty of contempt of court.
That’s when Trump stepped in. Trump couldn’t allow his buddy Arpaio to go to jail.
After all, Arpaio supported Trump from the very start. He was the most vocal supporter of Trump’s racist and xenophobic agenda.
So Trump pardoned Arpaio. Trump didn’t even wait for the courts to sentence Arpaio, and even went against the counsel of his own advisors.
Arpaio probably thought he would walk away free with a clean record. So he issued a motion to have the federal court to overturn his criminal conviction.
U.S. District Judge Susan Bolton had other plans, though. She refused to erase his criminal contempt conviction.
Judge Bolton ruled that Trump’s pardon “undoubtedly spared the Defendant from any punishment that might otherwise have been imposed. It did not, however, ‘revise the historical facts’ of this case.”
There you go, folks. At least some justice has come out of this case. Arpaio may have escaped punishment, but that conviction will follow him around for the rest of his life.
Arpaio’s lawyer says he plans to appeal the judge’s ruling to the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, though. He thinks it’s unfair that the conviction stands after Trump’s pardon.
He compared this case to former President Bill Clinton’s pardon of Archie Schaffer. Clinton pardoned Schaffer during the appeal of his conviction, so the court vacated the verdict.
The difference here, though, was that Arpaio’s guilt was fully established. That wasn’t the case for Schaffer.
According to Bolton, “The legal question of Schaffer’s guilt was never reached. This was due not only to the pendency of an appeal when the pardon was issued, but also to the unique procedural posture of the case at that time.”
POLL: Is Joe Arpaio a criminal?
President Trump pardoned former Sheriff Joe Arpaio for his crimes.
But a federal judge refused to invalidate Arpaio’s guilty verdict.
Is Arpaio a criminal? Share your voice in this poll.
Hopefully, the appeals court will agree with Judge Bolton. They shouldn’t allow Arpaio to get away scot-free.
After all, Trump’s pardon was a complete overreach of executive power. Trump had no business pardoning the man before sentencing even occurred.
Arpaio belongs in jail for his abuses. And he certainly doesn’t deserve to have his criminal record expunged.
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