On Friday, August 25, President Donald Trump granted a full pardon to Joe Arpaio- the former Arizona sheriff who was convicted of criminal contempt and faced a possible 6 months in jail. Many think it was for racially profiling but that simply is not true; he was charged with criminal contempt and not any discrimination law violations.
Arpaio has been coined as “America’s Toughest Sheriff,” and has taken a harsh stance against illegal immigration and been outspoken about it. The first case he faced was in 2007, but was not told until 2011 to abandon the practice of arresting suspected illegal aliens. Susan Ritchie Bolton, a district judge in Arizona appointed by Bill Clinton, declared that Sheriff Arpaio “must quit arresting on belief” that they were in the country illegally, instead performing arrests on the grounds that a crime must have been committed. Bolton declared that Sheriff Arpaio and his justice department continued to arrest people based on beliefs and suspicions rather than arresting for actual crimes. Bolton also declared Sheriff Arpaio would try and turn in the illegal aliens he “rounded up” to federal officers and authorities for deportation. Sheriff Arpaio was never given a trial by jury for the charges he was convicted of. A Federal Grand Jury began investigating him in 2011, but by 2012 they said they were terminating the investigation and not bring any charges to him.
Trump hinted at a possible pardon during a rally in Phoenix, Arizona on Tuesday, August 22. “Was convicted for doing his job? He should’ve had a jury but, you know what? I’ll make a prediction, I think he’s going to be just fine. I won’t do it tonight because I don’t want to cause any controversy.” Arpaio was very surprised that Trump had mentioned him at his rally. When asked about it, Arpaio said, “I am very humbled he brought me up, and didn’t know he was going to. I’m very happy. I was with him from day one and will be with him as long as he is president.” Sheriff Arpaio also took to twitter to say, “Thank you @realdonaldtrump for seeing my conviction for what it is: a political witch hunt by holdovers in the Obama justice department!”