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“America’s Toughest Sheriff” Joe Arpaio Convicted of Criminal Contempt
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Summary: A proponent of illegal immigration crackdowns was convicted of racially profiling Latinos.

Joe Arpaio is the self-proclaimed “toughest sheriff” in America, but the tough guy’s conservative reign may end after he was convicted of criminal contempt.

According to The Los Angeles Times, Arpaio “was found guilty Monday of criminal contempt, bringing his tenure as a relentless crusader against illegal immigration to an end.” The Arizona sheriff was told by a local judge in 2011 to stop racial profiling Latinos and turning them over to immigration authorities, but he allegedly would not take orders.


On Monday, U.S. District Judge Susan Bolton found Arpaio, 85, guilty of contempt. He is scheduled for sentencing on October 5 and could face six months in jail.

Arpaio’s trial took place in Phoenix. Prosecutors had argued that Arpaio’s officers detained people without cause just because they assumed they were illegal immigrants, and they said that this led to the detention of Latino citizens and legal residents. During the trial, the prosecution successfully used Arpaio’s media appearances against him. For instance, in a March 2012 interview with Univision, he admitted to stopping folks based on their perceived immigration status.

“If they don’t like what I’m doing, get the laws changed in Washington,” Arpaio said.

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Two months later, Arpaio said on Fox News that he would continue arresting illegal immigrants and would never give up. His lawyer, Jack Wilenchik, said that the sheriff was following state and federal laws and was not intentionally profiling anyone because of race.

“Bolton violated the U.S. Constitution by issuing her verdict without even reading it to the defendant in public court,” Wilenchik said in a statement. “Arpaio believes that a jury would have found in his favor, and that it will. He is in this for the long haul.”

Arpaio plans to appeal Judge Bolton’s decision. On Monday, Bolton said that Arpaio showed “flagrant disregard” to her prior court order and that he “willfully violated” it.

“Despite this knowledge, the defendant broadcast to the world and to his subordinates that he would and they should continue ‘what he had always been doing,’” Bolton said.

In 1992, Arpaio was elected Maricopa County Sheriff and served six terms before losing reelection in November 2016. He was well-known in the media for his conservative views on immigration, and he spoke openly about his favoritism of tough incarceration policies and the crackdown on illegal immigration.

According to The Los Angeles Times, Arpaio humiliated his inmates by forcing them to wear pink underwear and housing them in canvas tents in the Arizona heat. His practices drew criticism from civil rights activists but made him popular amongst conservatives in his home state.

During Trump’s presidential campaign, Arpaio openly supported the Republican candidate, and Arpaio was a known supporter of Trump’s birther conspiracy against 44th President Barack Obama.

What do you think of Arpaio? Let us know in the comments below.


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