A federal appeals court has refused to expunge the criminal record of former Maricopa County, Ariz., Sheriff Joe Arpaio after President Trump pardoned him during his first year in office.
Arpaio, 87, was convicted in 2017 of criminal contempt of federal court in a racial profiling case after disobeying a judge’s order to stop immigration raids in his capacity as sheriff with county taxpayer funds. He was pardoned by Trump weeks after the conviction.
A panel of three judges on the San Francisco-based 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals on Thursday upheld a lower court’s decision to not set aside Arpaio’s guilty conviction.
“The district court’s judgment dismissing Arpaio’s criminal proceeding with prejudice and denying vacatur of the finding of guilt is affirmed,” Judge Jay Bybee wrote in the ruling. “Because Arpaio’s challenges to the district court’s finding of guilt are moot, we do not address them.”
As sheriff, Arpaio drew criticism for housing some prisoners under his supervision in outdoor “tent cities” and using so-called chain gangs.
In 2010, Arpaio championed Arizona’s S.B. 1070 law, which critics said encouraged local law enforcement to racially profile Latinos. The Supreme Court struck down several provisions of the law in 2012.
The former sheriff previously ran in the Arizona Republican Senate primary to replace retiring Sen. Jeff Flake (R) but lost to Martha McSally, who was then defeated by Sen. Kirsten Sinema (D) in the general election. McSally was later appointed to the Senate to succeed interim Sen. Jon Kyl (R), who filled Sen. John McCain’s (R) seat following his death in 2018.
Author: J. EDWARD MORENO