Ex-Arizona Sheriff Arpaio Found Guilty of Criminal Contempt

Arpaio, 85, faces a maximum penalty of six months in jail and a fine when he is sentenced on the misdemeanor offense on Oct. 5.


(Reuters) — Former Arizona lawman Joe Arpaio, who gained national prominence for his tough stance against immigration, was found guilty on Monday of criminal contempt for violating the terms of a 2011 court order in a racial profiling case.

Arpaio, 85, who lost his bid for re-election as Maricopa County sheriff last November after 24 years in office, faces a maximum penalty of six months in jail and a fine when he is sentenced on the misdemeanor offense on Oct. 5.

U.S. District Court Judge Susan Bolton ruled on Monday that Arpaio “willfully violated” the order.

Arpaio declined to comment immediately on Monday, adding he was trying to reach his attorney.

Bolton delivered her verdict more than four weeks after the conclusion of a five-day non-jury trial in which Arpaio stood accused of deliberately violating the injunction issued six years ago by another federal judge.

Bolton found Arpaio guilty of contempt for intentionally defying the 2011 court order, which barred his officers from stopping and detaining Latino motorists who were singled out solely on suspicion that they were in the country illegally.

The judge in the underlying lawsuit, brought by the American Civil Liberties Union and others in 2007, held that such traffic stops were a violation of the motorists’ constitutional rights.

But federal prosecutors said racial profiling of Latino drivers continued for about 18 months after the injunction ordered a halt to the practice, with 170 more people wrongfully detained.

Lawyers for Arpaio, a Republican who styled himself as “America’s toughest sheriff” for his no-nonsense treatment of jail inmates and aggressive crackdown on undocumented immigrants, argued during his trial that he was merely doing his job.

Arpaio admitted to having inadvertently disobeyed the 2011 injunction but said his behavior did not meet a criminal standard. He said the contempt prosecution was a politically motivated attempt by then-President Barack Obama’s administration to undermine his re-election bid.

The former sheriff attended all the court proceedings against him but never took the witness stand in his own defense.

Arpaio already had been cited for civil contempt by another judge in the profiling case. That judge found that his deputies did commit racial profiling during the stops.

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  • Due to his age, I doubt that he will get any jail time. It’s a shame, though; he deserves to do a little “time,” although the cruel and inhumane “Tent City” in which he incarcerated so many no longer exists.

    • I don’t think they will lock him up either but they should, if only for a month. He deserves to feel some pain for his brutish and criminal behavior.

  • For a guy that served Arizona with distinction… its a shame that he has to suffer this.

  • They finally have this crazed criminal KKKop a minor slap on the wrist when he needed a major kick in the as-. One Mexican confided to me that, even in Georgia, he was racially profiled and stopped in his car 16 times by bubbas and Barney Fifes like Arpaio.

    Racial profiling of Mexicans in the 21st Century is a clear indication that AmeriKKKa is incorrigiably ignorant and RACIST! It’s analogous to the racist bubbas in the dirty South who stopped Blacks asking for passes.

    It’s still dangerous to walk or drive while black or brown. Most whites should be glad that Mexicans are coming to AmeriKKKa to do work rust they’re too LAZY to do. We should round up all the lazy, drunk, drug addicted white, homeless people begging for money on street corners and send them to Mexico in exchange for Mexicans who are on street corners waiting to be selected for work. That’s a better deal than NAFTA and an even exchange.

    • Charity Dell

      ZAZIJAMS–Can we send Sheriff Arpaio to Mexico?
      My choice cities are:

      1. Tijuana.
      2. Acapulco.
      3. Mexico City.

      He needs to live there; maybe he can work at the local police departments
      and impress them with his linguistic skills.

  • too bad tent city is no longer, i’m sure the inmates would love him in his pink undies

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