Judge refuses to toss Joe Arpaio’s conviction without hearing oral arguments first

[ Originally published on this site as post ]

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USA Today reports that the federal judge who last month convicted Joe Arpaio, the disgraced former sheriff of Maricopa County, of criminal contempt of court has refused his request to immediately throw out his conviction, ordering “Arpaio and the U.S. Department of Justice, which is prosecuting the case, to file briefs on why she should or shouldn’t grant Arpaio’s request.” U.S. District Court Judge Susan Bolton did agree to cancel Arpaio’s sentencing hearing following Donald Trump’s reprehensible pardon, but as USA Today states, “there is case law that says a pardon implies an admission of guilt, and that will have to be argued in open court”:

Mark Goldman, one of Arpaio’s attorneys, said, “We look forward to the hearing, and hope that the court will make the appropriate ruling. The verdict should have been set aside by the court already and prior to the pardon for the reason that it was never delivered to Sheriff Arpaio in open court, but instead sent to his attorneys via email, thus violating his constitutional rights to a public trial and to participate in his trial.”

Goldman told The Arizona Republic Arpaio will appeal if the judge does not vacate all decisions in the case.

“We don’t know if the court will,” he said. “And if they don’t, we’ll be appealing, but hopefully this will just put this to rest.”

But as Washington Post columnist Jennifer Rubin notes, this is “no slam dunk” for Arpaio, who recently had the nerve to complain that he didn’t like media referring to him as a racist (Fact check: he is). “Protect Democracy, an activist group seeking to thwart Trump’s violations of legal norms, and a group of lawyers have sent a letter to Raymond N. Hulser and John Dixon Keller of the Public Integrity Section, Criminal Division of the Justice Department,” writes Rubin, “arguing that the pardon goes beyond constitutional limits.”