The drama surrounding President Trump’s pardon of former Sheriff Joe Arpaio is far from resolved. The latest chapter comes as Arpaio’s legal teams calls for a dismissal of his conviction. The judge hearing the case has halted the sentencing proceeding in light of the pardon, but is not throwing out his conviction.
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U.S. District Court Judge Susan Bolton was set to hear arguments in the sentencing phase of the trial this week. There’s no need, now. Instead, she has asked Arpaio and the U.S. Department of Justice to make their respective cases on why his conviction should or should not be overturned.
There is some confusion here. As The Arizona Republic writes, “There is case law that says a pardon implies an admission of guilt, and that will have to be argued in open court.”
Mark Goldman an attorney on Arpaio’s defense team, is taking it one step further, and hedging on a technicality. “We look forward to the hearing,” he said, “and hope that the court will make the appropriate ruling. The verdict should have been set aside by the court already and prior to the pardon for the reason that it was never delivered to Sheriff Arpaio in open court, but instead sent to his attorneys via email, thus violating his constitutional rights to a public trial and to participate in his trial.”
“This motion is made on the grounds that on August 25th, 2017, the president of the United States of America issued a full and unconditional pardon of defendant,” Arpaio’s team wrote in their motion. “The president’s pardon moots the case, and it warrants an automatic vacatur of all opinions, judgments, and verdicts related to the criminal charge.”
This is not the only bone Arpaio’s team has to pick. Many news outlets reported that Arpaio had been convicted of racial profiling. He has not. They are asking for publications to print retractions and corrections “in a manner comparable to that of the original publication.”
Arpaio, himself, has jumped into this attempt to clear his name. “It’s not just TV, it’s elected officials,” Arpaio told The Arizona Republic. “You’ve got one guy here … calling me a racist, calling the president a racist. You’ve got others saying I was charged of racial profiling. That’s untrue … and my lawyer is concerned with these derogatory, slanderous statements that are going around.”
“He was extremely distressed with the mischaracterization of the conviction,” Goldman said. “It was extremely hurtful and upsetting to him that it was being reported that he was convicted of racial profiling.”
“The sheriff is not a racist and has never been a racist, and any type of such accusation was upsetting and extremely distressing to him.”