A Federal Judge Just Found Joe Arpaio Guilty of Criminal Contempt

Today, a judge found former Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio - who gained notoriety (and popularity) for his anti-immigrant policies - guilty of contempt of court for not putting an end to traffic patrols that targeted immigrants and Latinos following a court order. But Arpaio doesn't accept the verdict and plans to appeal.

The federal judge's orders bring relief to those who had to bear the brunt of his unusual crackdowns on immigrants. But Mr. Arpaio vowed, publicly and repeatedly, that the roundups would continue, and they did.

The charges against Arpaio stem from a civil rights suit demanding he cease "racial profiling" in his Maricopa County Sheriff's Office's immigration enforcement operations.

"Not only did defendant abdicate responsibility, he announced to the world and to his subordinates that he was going to continue business as usual no matter who said otherwise", Bolton wrote, Chicago Tribune reported. Arpaio was considered an ally during Trump's campaign. His attorneys said in a written statement the 2011 order was not clear.

After federal prosecutors charged him with criminal contempt of court, he maintained that he had not willfully violated the court order, but that his underlings had done so. For the last decade, Arpaio has been at the center of a civil racial profiling case that alleged he had ordered his deputies to target Latinos.

During the same interview, Arpaio further stated that he would continue to enforce the laws and said "I$3 f they don't like what I'm doing, get the laws changed in Washington". While sheriff, Arpaio was steadfast in his refusal to follow the 2011 court ruling that blocked him from arresting Latinos who looked like they could be undocumented.

Arpaio will be sentenced on October 5 at 10 a.m.

In November, Arpaio lost his bid for a seventh term as sheriff to Paul Penzone, a former Phoenix police officer.

Arpaio believes that a jury would have found him not guilty of criminal contempt, according to a statement issued by his lawyer. During his stint as sheriff, Joe Arpaio rose to fame and notoriety for forcing his predominantly Hispanic inmates to do their time in a "tent city prison" that has been likened to a "concentration camp". Consequently, Arpaio became something of a nationwide hero with supporters across the country and largely positive coverage from the media.

Arpaio's reputation for being tough on crime was undermined by his failure to adequately investigate more than 400 sex-crimes cases, including dozens of child molestation reports, over a three-year period ending in 2007.

Immigrants who were illegally detained when Arpaio kept up his patrols will be able to seek money from the county government as compensation for harm they suffered. His get-tough approach proved popular with voters who believed jail was supposed to be hard, but it led to lawsuits. When Obama released his long form birth certificate in 2011, Arpaio responded by forming a group, which he dubbed the "Cold Case Posse," to investigate the veracity of the president's birth certificate.

Vanessa Coleman

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