Maricopa County, Arizona Sheriff Joe Arpaio has been involved in some serious racial profiling of Latinos for years. The problem was so bad that following a federal investigation, Sheriff Joe Arpaio was ordered to end profiling of Hispanic drivers in his jurisdiction. Unfortunately for the sheriff, he has chosen to ignore the ruling of Federal Judge G. Murray Snow and refused to put an end to the illegal profiling practices within his department.
As a result, Sheriff Joe Arpaio ended up back in front of the federal judge on Friday, reports Arizona 12 News. During his federal court appearance, Sheriff Joe pleaded with the court to avoid criminal prosecution in his contempt of court case.
According to reports, the judge wasn’t moved, and it appears to be very likely that Judge Snow will be referring Sheriff Joe Arpaio for criminal prosecution.
The federal judge let the world know in May that he was on the verge of pursuing criminal charges against the Arizona sheriff. In Snow’s finding of fact, he said that Sheriff Joe had an “attitude of hostility.” He also stated that Joe Arpaio had committed misconduct and used “dishonesty and bad faith” while under oath. The result of such behavior? It all adds up to the definition of criminal perjury if it can be proven in a court of law.
In Friday’s federal court hearing, Federal Judge G. Murray Snow gave Arpaio’s attorneys (and attorneys for his deputy Jerry Sheridan, who is also facing contempt charges), ample opportunity to say their piece in court. Their collective goal was to convince the judge why their clients shouldn’t face criminal charges for their blatant, ongoing contempt. Each attorney, including Mel McDonald, the criminal defense attorney representing Sheriff Joe Arpaio, got 20 minutes to speak to the judge.
While addressing the court, attorney McDonald spent some time seemingly citing Arpaio’s resume. He also brought up the sheriff’s positive accomplishments.
“I believe there is a positive new attitude at the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office.”
Despite the passionate and seemingly desperate pleas of Sheriff Joe’s legal counsel, Judge Snow apparently wasn’t swayed. He was very straightforward and highly critical about the Arizona sheriff’s actions and clearly explained that members of law enforcement aren’t entitled to special treatment when they violate the law.
“They lied to my face. I am through putting up with this stuff. They are as responsible as any other citizen in Maricopa County for what they’ve done.”
Eighty-four-year-old Arpaio’s federal court appearance came on the tail-end of a busy, high profile week. Sheriff Joe was a keynote speaker at the Republican National Convention on Thursday. Arpaio used his time at the Cleveland podium to endorse both Donald Trump and his proposed wall between the U.S. and Mexico, reports Arizona 12 News.
“I have spent 55 years in law enforcement. But my most important mission has just begun, to help elect Donald Trump president of the United States. Donald Trump will build the wall!”
The words spoken by Sheriff Joe Arpaio may have been well-intended, but it’s also possible that they weren’t accurate. It’s entirely possible that Arpaio’s most important mission may be to avoid a criminal contempt conviction.
Sheriff Joe Arpaio may also be facing an uphill battle to keep his job. The federal hearing on Friday took place only 11 days before voting is scheduled to begin in Arpaio’s reelection primary. Joe Arpaio is seeking a seventh term as Maricopa County Sheriff, and even before he faced Federal Judge Snow in court, he was facing a definite battle against Democrat Paul Penzone. Multiple polls indicate that Penzone is currently leading the race.
Arpaio’s defense team has until July 27 to file their final criminal contempt briefs. Judge Snow has indicated a desire to get the matter handled as quickly as possible.
If Judge Snow does choose to refer Arpaio for criminal prosecution, he has multiple avenues at his disposal. Sheriff Joe Arpaio could be prosecuted by the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Phoenix, the U.S. Department of Justice or via a special prosecutor.
Stay tuned to find out if Judge Snow follows through with his apparent plan to criminally prosecute Sheriff Joe Arpaio for criminal contempt.
[Image via Chris Curtis/Shutterstock]