Judge Rules Ex-Arizona Sheriff Arpaio Guilty of Criminal Contempt

Reuters, July 31, 2017

Joe Arpaio

Joe Arpaio (Credit Image: Gage Skidmore / Wikimedia)

Former Arizona lawman Joe Arpaio, who gained national prominence for his tough stance against illegal 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 Judge Susan Bolton ruled on Monday that Arpaio “willfully violated” the order.

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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.

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Bolton found Arpaio guilty of contempt for intentionally defying the 2011 court order, which barred his officers from stopping and detaining Latino motorists 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.

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