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Joe Arpaio Basics: All You Need to Know

Carmen Cornejo
Written by Carmen Cornejo
Who is Joe Arpaio?

Arpaio, who was born June 14, 1932, in SpringfieldMassachusetts, was Maricopa County Sheriff for 24 years, from 1993 through 2016. As such, he headed the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office (MCSO).

During his tenure as Maricopa County Sheriff, he was called “the toughest sheriff” in the U.S. He was an outspoken and ruthless opponent of undocumented immigration, using the MCSO and his power to enforce immigration law at the expense of public safety.

He also had a marked disdain for the rights of inmates housed in Maricopa County jails. His agency was accused of neglect in several prison deaths.

He was accused and convicted of racial profiling against Latinos during the lawsuit Ortega Melendres, et al. v. Arpaio, et al.

Arpaio openly disobeyed court orders to stop racial profiling and immigration enforcement. He was later accused of criminal contempt. He was declared guilty on July 31, 2017, following a bench trial by U.S. District Judge Susan Bolton. He was scheduled to be sentenced in October 2017.

He was voted out of office on November 8, 2016.

What is the latest information about the possible pardon by President Trump?

Arpaio was convicted after federal prosecutors proved his Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office racially profiled and illegally detained Latinos, violating their constitutional rights. He is due to be sentenced in October and faces up to six months in jail. It’s possible Trump could wait till after the sentencing to pardon Arpaio, though many legal experts doubt the 85-year-old ex-sheriff will be sentenced to jail time.

Following Trump’s statement, Fox News contacted Arpaio, who responded, “I am happy he understands the case. I would accept the pardon because I am 100 percent not guilty.” However, Arpaio – a longtime outspoken supporter and friend of Trump – seems to be more concerned about the President’s reputation than Trump himself is: “I would never ask him for a pardon, especially if it causes heat,” Arpaio said. “I don’t want to do anything that would hurt the President.”

You can read more about the potential pardon here.

What is the landmark case that declared Arpaio a racial profiler?

The lawsuit Ortega Melendres, et al. v. Arpaio, et al. was a class action lawsuit filed in 2007. Following a three-week trial, the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office (MCSO) was found to have engaged in racial profiling and unlawful traffic stops of Latinos.

As a result of the trial, Sheriff Joe Arpaio was ordered by the court to stop immigration enforcement, immigration raids, and traffic stops. U.S. District Judge G. Murray Snow issued this decision, finding that Arpaio and his agency had relied on racial profiling and illegal detentions to target Latinos.

What are the implications for non-citizens of Trump’s visit to Arizona and possible pardon of Arpaio?

Local attorney Marcos E. Garciaacosta recently posted a warning to anyone who is not a U.S. citizen. He indicated that people who are not citizens should “stay away from any contact with law enforcement which can lead to an arrest during protests against Arpaio and Trump.” He stated that “my recent experience is that even if you have DACA or other temporary protection (TPS, etc.) if you get detained and taken to 4th Ave. Jail, it is very likely you will be processed through ICE.”

Read more here.

Trump Pardoned Arpaio. Can the Pardon be Undone?

After weeks of teasing the media about possibly pardoning Joe Arpaio, Trump pardoned the criminally convicted, racist and disgraced ex-sheriff, causing an uproar in the community.

Is there any possibility of reversing the pardon?

According to the Department of Justice, longstanding regulations call for waiting at least five years after conviction before filing a pardon application. Arpaio was convicted less than four weeks ago. A Presidential pardon at this point is “intervening in the middle of a legal proceeding yet to run its course… [and has] every appearance of being direct interference in the administration of justice,” wrote Bob Bauer, a professor at New York University School of Law, in the Chicago Tribune.

Read more of Lacey and Larkin Frontera Fund’s analysis here.

Arpaio’s Tweets Remind Us of His Abuse

The Phoenix New Times posted a Twitter thread spotlighting some of the many abuses perpetrated by Sheriff Joe in his 24-year tenure. The posts went viral.

Could there be a legal challenge to Trump’s Pardon of Arpaio?

U.S. District Court Judge Susan Bolton canceled Joe Arpaio’s sentencing hearing for his criminal contempt of court conviction scheduled for October 5. She ordered the U.S. Department of Justice to file briefs listing the legal reasons she should vacate the criminal contempt conviction.

Additionally, a group called Protect Democracy wants to block the pardon by writing a letter to the Public Integrity Section, Criminal Division of the Justice Department, arguing that the pardon violates legal processes and goes beyond constitutional limits.

What does the public think about the pardon?

Sixty percent of Americans oppose Trump’s pardon of Joe Arpaio, according to a recent poll. Multiple political analysts – including conservative commentators – wrote op-ed articles opposing the pardon. Our latest post highlights the opinion of Andrew C. McCarthy, a conservative analyst with the National Review, on why the pardon is “Unmerited, Unnecessary, Impulsive.”

Most Americans also oppose Trump eliminating Deferred Action for Young Arrivals (DACA).

Department of Justice Asks Judge to Drop the Case Against Arpaio.

Following President Trump’s pardon of Joe Arpaio, the Department of Justice (DOJ) is asking Judge Bolton to have his conviction overturned.

This is an act of politicization by the DOJ that is not sitting well with many in Maricopa County.

Law experts and immigrant rights advocates filed a lawsuit challenging the pardon. You can read the legal document here. 

Pardon Lacks Support, Says Survey

Latino Decisions, a tracking poll that surveys the Latino community about current issues, has released their September poll on the current administration. The numbers do not look good for Trump and Arpaio.

Only 8 percent of Latinos strongly approve of the job of the current administration, with 53 percent expressing strong disapproval. The total number expressing disapproval is 76 percent.

Additionally, 59 percent of Latinos surveyed said Trump is doing a worse job than expected.

Eighty-two percent of Latinos said they disagree with Trump’s pardon of Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio. Of that number, 69 percent strongly disagree with the pardon.

Latino Decisions surveyed a random sample of 755 Latino adults from September 12 to 19, 2017.

Check this tweet.

Arpaio Loses One Battle in Court

Unfortunately, Trump pardoned Arpaio after years of abusing his power as Maricopa County Sheriff but last week the former Sheriff lost another battle in the courts.

The U.S. Supreme Court has denied  Arpaio’s request for a jury trial in his criminal contempt case. Arpaio unsuccessfully sought a jury trial thinking that a sympathetic jury may have declared him not-guilty.

Instead, the case was decided by a judge who found him guilty of contempt of court for intentionally disobeying a court order as a result of Melendres v. Arpaio case.
 Tent City is Finally Closed!
Elections count and have consequences.
This time, an excellent outcome for immigrant communities just happened this week.
Tent City, the Al-Fresco, inhumane jail that Arpaio used as a propaganda tool has finally closed.
New Sheriff Paul Penzone ordered a review of the costs and benefits of keeping the jail open. The evidence was against the existence of Tent City and finally, on October 10, 2017, was finally closed, when the last inmates were transferred to a nearby indoor facility.
The closing of this horrific place will save 4 Million dollars per year to Maricopa County taxpayers. No reason to torture inmates and guards with the intense Arizona summer heat that can reach temperatures of 117 F.
Arpaio’s Attempt to Clean His Record Fails

Arpaio’s lawyers tried to clean up his record as if re-writing history and erasing all his malfeasance could be done with a legal magic wand but fortunately, they failed in the attempt providing a small sense of justice.

U.S. District Judge Susan  Bolton said yesterday President Trump’s pardon of former Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio “does not revise the historical facts of his case” — and 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 Aug. 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  “does not erase a judgment of conviction, or its underlying legal and factual findings.”

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 for his wrongdoing.

Legal experts are saying that Arpaio could 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 the immigration patrols were ordered by Arpaio in an effort to get him 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 some monies from a taxpayer-funded compensation fund.

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

Longtime activist and Arpaio foe Lydia Guzman stated: “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.”

And Twitter users responded:

Will Joe Run Again in 2018?

Trump must be really delusional at this point. He sent his supporters an e-mail asking them whether he should enter the race for the Arizona Senate seat left vacant by Jeff Flake.

Imagine that.

Jeff Flake decided to leave the Senate, in an effort to distance himself from the current administration, condemning Trump for “…personal attacks, threats against principles, freedoms and institution, the flagrant disregard for truth and decency.”

But our former sheriff is seeking the contrary: To embrace Trump tight, especially after 45 pardoned him.

Apparently, his new goal in life is to become Trump’s crony in the Senate saying “My friend, President Donald Trump needs a U.S. Senator he can trust to actually vote for action on illegal immigration, taxes, the economy and more”.

Previously he said that he was interested to run for Congress or Mayor.

Unfortunately, there is no legal impediment to running for office, after he was pardoned by Trump for disobeying a Federal judge orders’ to stop the racial profiling of Latinos in Maricopa County.

The Arizona Republic estimated he is still popular, in spite of the death rate in the jails he controlled, the racial profiling of Latinos and immigrant- persecution, the never-ending lawsuits, and the failure to investigate sex crimes against children.

If he decides to run, he will be encountering lots of protestors who will keep reminding the electorate of the unforgettable Sheriff Joe’s costly actions.