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Arizona’s Notorious Anti-Immigrant Sheriff Is Facing Criminal Contempt Charges


Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio is potentially facing up to six months in prison for misdemeanor criminal contempt charges. His crime? Keeping America safe… by violating the civil rights of innocent citizens and then refusing to stop when a court ordered him to. Arpaio’s methods of keeping the peace involve everything from humiliation tactics – like making prisoners wear pink underwear and socks – all the way to straight up spit-in-the-face-of-the-constitution level racial profiling. After being ordered by U.S. District Court Judge Murray Snow in 2011 to stop policing policies that involved rights violations, like pulling people over for being brown, Joe Arpaio declared, “I’m not stopping anything.”

Arpaio’s refusal to stop is now costing Arizona’s tax payers millions of dollars, while Arpaio continues to rake in in donations from donors.


Joe Arpaio released a statement concerning the timing of the criminal case hearing, only a month before Maricopa elections, saying:

“First and foremost, it is clear that the corrupt Obama Justice Department is trying to influence my re-election as Sheriff of Maricopa County. It is no coincidence that this announcement comes 28 days before the election and the day before early voting starts. It is a blatant abuse of power and the people of Maricopa County should be as outraged as I am.”

If anyone knows a thing about abusing their power to unfairly target people, it’s gotta be Joe Arpaio. And probably the only people who understand his kind of outrage are those who were victimized by his years of racial profiling. If found guilty, Joe could be barred from running for sheriff and end up serving jail time, where he may end up with a pair of pink socks of his own.

READ: A Judge Told Him To Stop Racially Profiling Latinos. He Refused. Now He Might Go To Jail

President Trump Pardons Controversial Ex-Arizona Sheriff Joe Arpaio

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President Trump Pardons Controversial Ex-Arizona Sheriff Joe Arpaio

Brandon Smialowski / Getty and Robyn Beck / Getty

Hours after wishing “good luck” to Texans in the path of Hurricane Harvey, President Trump pardoned Joe Arpaio, the former Arizona Sheriff who was convicted of criminal contempt of court for racially profiling Latinos. Arpaio was found guilty of violating a federal order to stop his deputies from holding people in custody based only on the belief that they were undocumented. For more than a year after the ruling, Arpaio’s deputies continued to detain people who they suspected were undocumented. Arpaio, who faced up to six months in prison, was scheduled for sentencing in October.

Earlier this week at President Trump’s rally in Phoenix, he hinted he would pardon Arpaio. “But Sheriff Joe can feel good,” said Trump. He added: “The people of Arizona know the deadly and heartbreaking consequences of illegal immigration, the lost lives, the drugs, the gangs, the cartels, the crisis of smuggling and trafficking.”

Here is the official statement from the White House:

Reaction to the pardon was swift. Former San Antonio mayor Julian Castro called Trump “morally bankrupt.”

Then he wrote what he really felt:

His brother, Texas congressman Joaquin Castro, called Trump a bigot:

Others shared reminders of the detestable things Arpaio did…

… And how his myopic obsession with rounding up immigrants…

… had consequences that are often overlooked:

Jorge Ramos pointed out Trump’s contradictory behavior.

Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton called it a “slap in the face” to the people of Maricopa County.

And writer Juan Paul Brammer expressed the frustration that many people felt upon learning the news.

READ: Here’s President Trump’s Super Defensive Arizona Speech In A Nutshell

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He Ignored A Federal Judge’s Order To Stop Racially Profiling Latinos So Now He Is Guilty And Facing 6 Months In Jail

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He Ignored A Federal Judge’s Order To Stop Racially Profiling Latinos So Now He Is Guilty And Facing 6 Months In Jail

Michael Tran / Getty

Former Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio has been convicted of ignoring a federal judge’s orders to halt racial profiling that targets Latinos for proof of citizenship or residency, according to AZ Central. The power to stop people and ask them for their papers came in 2010 when Arizona passed Senate Bill 1070, also known as the Show Me Your Papers Law. The current trial, which will now be moving to a sentencing hearing in October, stems from Arpaio’s willful defiance of Federal Judge Murray Snow’s order to stop profiling Latinos based on immigration.

“In short, the Court finds that the Defendants have engaged in multiple acts of misconduct, dishonesty, and bad faith with respect to the Plaintiff class and the protection of its rights,” Judge Snow wrote in a decision on May 13, 2016. “They have demonstrated a persistent disregard for the orders of this Court,as well as an intention to violate and manipulate the laws and policies regulating their conduct as they pertain to their obligations to be fair, “equitable[,] and impartial” with respect to the interests of the Plaintiff class.”

Arpaio, who was found guilty of civil contempt for the same issue, has now been convicted of criminal contempt after a lengthy court battle with different civil rights groups and Maricopa County.


“The evidence at trial proves beyond a reasonable doubt and the Court finds that Judge Snow issued a clear and definite order enjoining Defendant from detaining persons for further investigation without reasonable suspicion that a crime has been or is being committed,” reads the ruling signed by U.S. District Judge Susan Bolton.

AZ Central reports that the decision is a total rejection of Arpaio’s defense: that the order was confusing and unclear and that there was no willful defiance.

“Today, Judge Susan Bolton violated the United States Constitution by issuing her verdict without even reading it to the Defendant in public court,” Jack Wilenchik, Arpaio’s attorney, said in a statement, according to The Washington Post. “Her verdict is contrary to what every single witness testified in the case. Arpaio believes that a jury would have found in his favor, and that it will. Joe Arpaio is in this for the long haul, and he will continue his fight to vindicate himself, to prove his innocence, and to protect the public.”

AZ Central reports that Arpaio’s deputies detained up to 171 people after Federal Judge Snow’s injunction filed in December 2011. These detentions were in direct violation with the order of a federal judge to stop the practice of racially profiling Latinos.

“This verdict is a vindication for the many victims of Joe Arpaio’s immigration policies, which were unconstitutional to begin with, and were doubly illegal when Arpaio flouted the court’s orders,” ACLU Deputy Legal Director Cecillia Wang said in a statement. “Joe Arpaio learned his lesson the hard way — no one, not even America’s so-called toughest sheriff, is above the law.”

(H/T: AZ Central)

READ: Arizona’s Notorious Anti-Immigrant Sheriff Is Facing Criminal Contempt Charges

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