“To see why pardoning Arpaio would be so exceptional – and so bad – you have to start with the…”

“To see why pardoning Arpaio would be so exceptional – and so bad – you have to start with the sheriff’s crime. Arpaio wasn’t convicted by a jury after a trial for violating some specific federal statute. Rather, he was convicted by a federal judge on the rather unusual charge of criminal contempt of court. Specifically, Arpaio was convicted this July by Judge Susan Bolton of willfully and intentionally violating an order issued to him in 2011 by a different federal judge, G. Murray Snow.

The order arose out of a civil suit against Arpaio brought by the American Civil Liberties Union, accusing him of violating the law by detaining undocumented immigrants simply for lacking legal status. Snow issued a preliminary injunction that ordered Arpaio to stop running so-called saturation patrols – police sweeps that essentially stopped people who looked Latino and detained those who were deemed undocumented. The basic idea was that the profiling, warrantless stops and detention were unconstitutional.

Yet despite the federal court’s order, Arpaio kept running the unlawful patrols for at least 18 months, and publicly acknowledged as much. Federal judges don’t much like it when their orders are flouted. Snow held extensive hearings in November 2015, and in July 2016 he issued a lengthy opinion finding Arpaio in civil contempt of court. Snow didn’t mince words. He wrote that the department’s “constitutional violations are broad in scope, involve its highest ranking command staff, and flow into its management of internal affairs investigations.” Crucially, Snow found that Arpaio’s violations had been intentional.

But a civil finding of intentionally violating a court order can also trigger a separate proceeding for criminal contempt of court. That’s what happened to Arpaio. To ensure that the judge whose orders were flouted wouldn’t be judging Arpaio criminally, the criminal contempt charges went to a different federal judge.

Judge Bolton convicted Arpaio of criminal contempt. She found he had “willfully violated” the federal court’s order “by failing to do anything to ensure his subordinates’ compliance and by directing them to continue to detain persons for whom no criminal charges could be filed.” And she held that Arpaio had “announced to the world and to his subordinates that he was going to continue business as usual no matter who said otherwise.” This is the crime that [redacted] is suggesting he might pardon: willful defiance of a federal judge’s lawful order to enforce the Constitution.”

Arpaio Pardon Would Show Contempt for Constitution – Bloomberg (via dendroica)

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Tags: politics, redacted, that he might pardon... and now has, important to keep track of the progress, and the direction in which it is progressing, the founders created in the constitution only one remedy, for pardon wielded in this way.

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