President Donald Trump pardoned Sherrif Joe Arpaio, the infamous Arizona Sheriff, and ended his criminal prosecution. Under indictment for criminal contempt of court, and about to receive his verdict, Trump jumped the gun and let Arpaio free.
As a result, Arpaio petitioned the court to expunge his record. On Friday a federal judge decided that while the pardon may stand and stop his being sentenced, it cannot change history and “wipe out the guilty verdict” he got from her, or any other case rulings.
According to the report, the Justice Department and Arpaio’s lawyers argued that because Trump pardoned him, he was entitled to have the rulings vacated, as well as the guilty verdict. However, according to U.S. District Court Judge Susan Bolton:
“The power to pardon is an executive prerogative of mercy, not of judicial recordkeeping. To vacate all rulings, in this case, would run afoul of this important distinction. The Court found Defendant guilty of criminal contempt. The President issued the pardon. Defendant accepted. The pardon undoubtedly spared Defendant from any punishment that might otherwise have been imposed. It did not, however, ‘revise the historical facts’ of this case.”
Pardoned in August, Trump decided that the verdict Arpaio received was “unfair” because he was found guilty of “doing his job.” Arpaio’s lawyers already filed an appeal to the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals.
The court found Sheriff Arpaio guilty of contempt of court for violating a court order, and continuing to mistreat Hispanic inmates, and continuing to racially profile them while he was still running Maricopa County Jail in Arizona.
Ethics lawyers are of the opinion that Trump shouldn’t have been able to pardon Arpaio since he interrupted the proceedings entirely. Most pardons come after someone’s served a lengthy jail sentence, and when the prisoner has atoned in some way.
Here, Trump took that away and potentially interfered in a federal proceeding.
Judge Bolton, a Clinton appointee, is set to rule on another motion that would accept the pardon for Arpaio.
Featured Image: Screenshot Via YouTube Video.