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Arpaio is Guilty. His Efforts to Wipe Out Conviction Failed, and Compensation to Victims May Be Next

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Carmen Cornejo
Written by Carmen Cornejo

Arpaio’s lawyers tried to clean up his record, as if a legal magic wand could rewrite history and erase all his malfeasance. Fortunately, they failed, providing a small sense of justice.

U.S. District Judge Susan Bolton said yesterday that President Trump’s pardon of former Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio “does not revise the historical facts of his case.” Therefore, she did not vacate her ruling that found him guilty of criminal contempt.

Arpaio, the racial profiler of Latinos who was Maricopa County Sheriff for more than 24 years, was granted a pardon by President Trump on August 25. He had been found guilty of criminal contempt by a federal court and faced the possibility of up to six months in jail.

During the latest ruling, Judge Bolton stated that the pardon “releases the wrongdoer from punishment and restores the offender’s civil rights without qualification,” but it “does not erase a judgment of conviction, or its underlying legal and factual findings.”

This doesn’t erase the facts, as the judge said. The facts are the facts. –Lydia Guzman

Arpaio was desperate to have the ruling thrown out in an attempt to clear his name and bar attorneys from using the ruling in future court cases as a precedent of his wrongdoing.

Legal experts are saying Arpaio could still be targeted by lawsuits stemming from his acknowledged disobedience involving a 2011 court order to stop his immigration patrols.

During court proceedings, prosecutors were able to establish that Arpaio ordered the immigration patrols in an effort to get himself reelected.

Victims who were illegally detained by Arpaio’s agents during the 17-month period in which the sheriff disobeyed Judge Snow’s court orders may be able to apply for compensation.

At least 170 people were illegally detained during this period. These victims may be able to receive money from a taxpayer-funded compensation fund.

This ruling may also prevent him from running for office again.

Longtime activist and Arpaio foe Lydia Guzman states, “It’s still on his record. If he had any inkling of running for office again, I would hope that his opponent, whoever would oppose him, would use this. This doesn’t erase the facts, as the judge said. The facts are the facts.”