Judge Upholds Arpaio Contempt Conviction

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A federal judge denied former Maricopa County, Az., Sheriff Joe Arpaio’s request to vacate his criminal contempt conviction after he was pardoned by President Trump, the Arizona Republic reports. U.S. District Judge Susan Bolton said while Trump’s pardon “undoubtedly spared Defendant from any punishment that might otherwise have been imposed. It did not, however, ‘revise the historical facts’ of this case.” Bolton found Arpaio guilty of criminal contempt in July, saying the former sheriff showed “flagrant disregard” for another federal judge’s order that halted his signature immigration roundups on grounds his department was racially profiling people. Trump pardoned his political ally weeks later. Defense attorneys additionally asked that Bolton’s verdict be scrubbed from the record.

Jack Wilenchik, one of Arpaio’s attorneys, said they would likely appeal to the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. Though Arpaio will not be penalized for this case, Wilenchik said the conviction could hypothetically be used against him in future legal proceedings. “At this point what the court has to do is undo it all,” Wilenchik. “It’s not saying he’s innocent, not saying he’s guilty, it’s really just a procedural right he’s entitled to.” Cecillia Wang of the American Civil Liberties Union, the plaintiffs’ attorney in the underlying racial-profiling case, said Bolton’s order “gets it exactly right.”

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