Federal prosecutors who secured a criminal-contempt conviction against former Sheriff Joe Arpaio effectively relinquished their win on Monday, saying President Trump’s pardon has nullified the verdict.
But the pardon has also galvanized a slate of non-profits and constitutional attorneys, all who are urging a federal judge to uphold Arpaio’s conviction. At least four separate coalitions have now filed motions opposing the pardon.
In a federal court filing Monday morning, Department of Justice prosecutors agreed with Arpaio’s defense attorneys, who asked U.S. District Judge Susan Bolton to toss Arpaio’s case following the Aug. 25 pardon.
“A pardon issued before entry of final judgment moots a criminal case because the defendant will face no consequences that result from the guilty verdict,” the response stated. “Accordingly, the government agrees that the Court should vacate all orders and dismiss the case as moot.”
Bolton canceled the Oct. 5 sentencing after the pardon, but stopped short of dismissing the case. She instead ordered both Arpaio and DOJ prosecutors to file briefs on why she should or shouldn’t grant Arpaio’s request to vacate.
Arpaio, a political ally and longtime Trump champion, was the recipient of Trump’s first presidential pardon. The announcement came less than a month after Bolton found Arpaio guilty of flouting a federal judge’s orders in a racial-profiling case.
Arpaio’s guilty verdict stems from 2011 federal judge’s order to stop detaining people solely on the basis of their immigration status. Arpaio’s deputies, though, continued to do so for 17 months, and illegally detained at least 171 people.
Typically when defense and prosecuting attorneys agree that a case should be dismissed, a judge will rule accordingly. But on the same day as the DOJ reply, attorneys from across the country filed a flurry of motions to be heard in the case and for Bolton to reject the pardon as unconstitutional.
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SOURCE: USA Today; The Republic, Megan Cassidy