Federal judge Susan Bolton in Phoenix called criminal contempt “an offense against the United States,” and said that former Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio will “escape punishment for his willful violation” of a court order. In the end, Bolton determined that she had no choice but to validate Arpaio’s Aug. 25 pardon by President Trump and throw out the finding of guilt in his criminal contempt case because he had not yet been sentenced and was not afforded an opportunity to appeal the verdict, the Arizona Republic reports.
“I’m happy the conviction was dismissed, especially since I am not guilty,” he told the Republic, “and I will be addressing that issue in the near future.” He praised Trump, saying, “It took me 85 years to find my hero and it’s the president of the United States.” Arpaio’s case was unique. Unlike most criminal cases, in which a prosecuting agency files charges, these allegations came from the judge in a racial-profiling lawsuit filed against Arpaio and the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office in federal court. Arpaio admitted he had committed civil contempt of court for disobeying an order to stop detaining people solely on suspicion they were in the country illegally. Deputies continued doing so for at least 17 months, and Arpaio continued making defiant statements that they could. On July 31, Bolton found him guilty of criminal contempt of court.