PHOENIX — A federal judge will hear arguments in October over whether she should set aside the criminal contempt of court conviction of Joe Arpaio.
In a brief order Tuesday, Judge Susan Bolton vacated the scheduled Oct. 5 sentencing of the former Maricopa County sheriff. That followed last week’s pardon issued by President Trump.
But Bolton, who found the sheriff guilty of ignoring an order by fellow Judge Murray Snow, put off a separate bid filed by Arpaio’s lawyers on Monday to overturn her finding of guilt, a move that would legally wipe out any legal record he had ever been convicted in the first place. Bolton said she wants to hear from federal prosecutors at a hearing on Oct. 4.
The president’s pardon eliminated any possibility that Arpaio, facing a possible six months in jail, will actually do any time.
That, however, is not enough to satisfy the former sheriff who continues to insist he did not ignore orders by Snow, hearing a separate civil case, to stop trying to enforce federal immigration laws against people his deputies suspect were in this country illegally. Bolton, who heard the criminal contempt charge, disagreed, saying Arpaio’s nearly two dozen public statements saying he would continue to do things his way, showed a “flagrant disregard” for Snow’s order.
In seeking to have the conviction voided, Arpaio’s attorneys said the former sheriff never actually asked for the presidential pardon.
They said the conviction remains on Arpaio’s record, pardon or not. And while Arpaio cannot be punished for what Bolton found him guilty of in this case, they said that conviction could have repercussions down the road.
For example, they cited court rulings that said this conviction could be used against him at the time of sentencing if he is ever found guilty of any other crime. That could result in a stiffer sentence.
Arpaio’s attorneys also suggested that if Bolton refuses to budge they may appeal his conviction anyway to clear his name, something they said would be “a waste of everyone’s time and money.”