Joe Arpaio, a former Arizona sheriff whose extreme stance on illegal immigration made him a household name, was convicted Monday of criminal contempt of court for ignoring a judge’s order to stop detaining people because he merely suspected them of being undocumented immigrants.
U.S. District Judge Susan R. Bolton wrote that Arpaio had shown a “flagrant disregard” for the court’s command and that his attempt to pin the conduct on those who worked for him rang hollow.“
Not only did Defendant abdicate responsibility, he announced to the world and to his subordinates that he was going to continue business as usual no matter who said otherwise,” Bolton wrote.
… In 2011, the then-sheriff of Arizona’s Maricopa County was enjoined by U.S. District Judge G. Murray Snow from detaining people he thought to be illegal immigrants, when they were not charged with any other crimes, as part of a lawsuit. Prosecutors alleged that he continued to do so, and last year, the Justice Department decided to pursue a criminal contempt-of-court case against him.
…his policy of detaining people on mere suspicion was racist and illegal, and his refusal to honor a court’s order to stop was brazen.
Bolton wrote that another judge’s order to Arpaio was clear and that there was evidence he violated it willfully — citing some of Arpaio’s own public comments as evidence. She said even if subordinates actually did the detaining, it was only at Arpaio’s direction and by Arpaio’s failure to tell them otherwise.
Only the worst people on the planet deserve jail time more than this guy.