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Legal Group Challenges Arpaio Pardon

| by Jordan Smith

A legal group has challenged President Donald Trump's pardon of former Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio in an Arizona court.

Trump announced in August that Arpaio, who was found in contempt of court in July for continuing to detain immigrants in spite of a court order telling him not to do so, should not be imprisoned for his actions, Politico reported.

Trump argued that Arpaio had carried out "selfless public service."

But the Roderick and Solange MacArthur Justice Center disagrees.

The group argued that the pardon "has the purpose and effect of eviscerating the judicial power to enforce constitutional rights," according to Politico.

It "eviscerates this court's enforcement power by endorsing Arpaio's refusal to comply with federal court orders," Politico reported.

Moreover, the group argued that the "text of the pardon is so broad that it purports to allow Arpaio to run for Sheriff again … and escape criminal liability for future contempt."

Susan Bolton, the judge in the case, threatened to reject the brief on procedural grounds, but gave the group 72 hours to redraft it so as to comply with court requirements.

A second group, the Protect Democracy Project, filed its own brief in court Sept. 11 challenging Trump's pardon.

A federal judge issued an order in 2011 telling Arpaio to stop detaining people on the basis of their immigration status. His deputies continued to detain people in this manner for 17 months after the ruling, resulting in the illegal detention of at least 171 individuals.

Federal prosecutors who secured the contempt of court conviction of Arpaio stated Sept. 11 that the case against the former sheriff should be abandoned due to Trump's "full and unconditional pardon," AZ Central reported.

"A pardon issued before entry of final [judgment] moots a criminal case because the defendant will face no consequences that will result from the guilty verdict," the filing added. "Accordingly, the government agrees that the court should vacate all orders and dismiss the case as moot."

Bolton has cancelled Arpaio's sentencing hearing scheduled for Oct. 5. However, she has asked Arpaio's legal representatives and prosecutors to file briefings explaining why she should vacate the conviction.

For his part, Arpaio has said he will not apologize for violating the court order.

"An apology for doing my job? That would never happen," Arpaio told Univision News. "I think if I stood on a big tower and I screamed at everyone, at all Hispanics, and I said that I disagreed with all the deportations and said, 'I love you all,' it wouldn't make any difference."

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