On Monday, U.S. District Judge Susan Bolton found former Maricopa County, Ariz. Sheriff Joe Arpaio guilty of criminal contempt of court, finding that he willfully violated a federal judge’s order to stop racial profiling.
Arpaio will be sentenced in October for the misdemeanor, and faces up to six months in confinement, according to The Arizona Republic.
Arpaio, known as “Sheriff Joe,” was found to have disobeyed a 2011 court order issued by U.S. District Court Judge Murray Snow that required the 85-year-old to stop racially profiling Latinos as part of signature immigration round-ups.
Bolton’s ruling comes after a five-day June and July trial, in which Department of Justice prosecutors argued that Arpaio had willfully ignored the order. Arpaio’s argued that the court order was unclear and that, although mistakes had been made, the violations were unintended.
“The evidence at trial proves beyond a reasonable doubt and the Court finds that Judge (G. Murray) Snow issued a clear and definite order enjoining Defendant from detaining persons for further investigation without reasonable suspicion that a crime has been or is being committed; that Defendant knew of the order; and that Defendant willfully violated the order by failing to do anything to ensure his subordinates’ compliance and by directing them to continue to detain persons for whom no criminal charges could be filed,” Bolton wrote in the ruling. “Because the Court finds that Defendant willfully violated an order of the court, it finds Defendant guilty of criminal contempt.”
The Hill adds: “Arpaio, a vocal supporter of then-Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump, lost his bid for reelection in 2016 to Democrat Paul Penzone. The loss ended a 24-year career in the post that saw him rise to national prominence due to his hardline stance on illegal immigration.”
Just got off the phone with @RealSheriffJoe. He said he was surprised by the finding of criminal contempt: "We presented a great case."
— Megan Cassidy (@meganrcassidy) July 31, 2017