Judge questions tossing out Arpaio conviction after pardon

Joe Arpaio, Donald Trump

A federal judge is questioning former Sheriff Joe Arpaio’s request to have his criminal contempt conviction cleared following his pardon by President Trump and has asked for further briefing on the function of the pardon.

U.S. District Court Judge Susan Bolton in a Thursday filing in federal court ordered Justice Department prosecutors to lay out the legal grounds for their position that the contempt conviction be vacated.


The move signals the judge is considering the possibility of dismissing the criminal case against Arpaio while leaving the guilty verdict on his record, BuzzFeed News reports.

In court papers filed Monday, the Justice Department said it would be “just and appropriate” to throw out the conviction after the presidential pardon. 

Arpaio had been convicted of being in contempt of the court after refusing to obey an order to stop his police forces from making arrests on the suspicion that individuals were illegally residing in the United States. 

Defense lawyers argued that Arpaio, an early and vocal backer of Trump’s presidential campaign, did not ask to receive a pardon

Bolton was scheduled to oversee Arpaio’s sentencing Oct. 6 for the criminal contempt charges before Trump pardoned the former Maricopa County, Ariz., sheriff in August. The judge will now hear arguments on Arpaio’s request to vacate the conviction Oct. 4.

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