NEW YORK, Aug. 14, 2017 — President Trump is reportedly considering a pardon of former Sheriff Joe Arpaio of Maricopa County, Arizona, who was recently found guilty of criminal contempt for willfully violating a federal court order that required his agency to stop detaining people based solely on suspected civil immigration violations.
Federal prosecutors with the public integrity section of the U.S. Department of Justice had secured the criminal contempt conviction after Arpaio was first found liable in civil contempt proceedings in civil rights litigation against Arpaio. In that case, which was litigated by the American Civil Liberties Union and partner organizations, a federal court had ruled that Arpaio’s office profiled and illegally detained Latinos, violating their constitutional rights. The civil contempt-of-court proceedings arose after Arpaio and his top deputies repeatedly ignored the court’s orders.
ACLU Deputy Legal Director Cecillia Wang had this reaction to media reports that Trump may pardon Arpaio:
“President Trump would be literally pardoning Joe Arpaio’s flagrant violation of federal court orders that prohibited the illegal detention of Latinos. He would undo a conviction secured by his own career attorneys at the Justice Department. Make no mistake: This would be an official presidential endorsement of racism.”