“America’s toughest sheriff” Joe Arpaio could find himself on the opposite side of prison bars than he’s used to after he was found guilty of criminal contempt because he refused to stop racially profiling Latinos in his quest to aid ICE in their immigration roundups. The sheriff had served Maricopa County Arizona since 1992, and had a reputation for harsh punishments, ranging from humiliating inmates by making them wear pink underwear to forcing them to live in scanty tents in the blazing Arizona heat. He was especially fanatic about illegal immigration, and went to great lengths to catch undocumented immigrants and turn them over to ICE.
Arpaio’s undoing came in the form of comments he made predating the Trump administration about his determination to continue profiling Maricopa County’s Latinx community. “I’m not going to give it up. I’m going to continue to enforce state laws and federal laws,” said Arpaio back in 2012.
He also told Spanish language broadcast network Univision of his policies, “If they don’t like what I’m doing get the laws changed in Washington.” The prosecution brought up those comments and others as evidence that Arpaio had deliberately ignored a court order that he stop racially profiling and seeking out illegal immigrants.
Judge Susan Boltin agreed, and found that “Despite this knowledge, the defendant broadcast to the world and to his subordinates that he would and they should continue ‘what he had always been doing.'”
Arpaio could face up to six months in jail for criminal contempt. But Arpaio doesn’t accept the verdict and plans to appeal. “Bolton violated the U.S. Constitution by issuing her verdict without even reading it to the defendant in public court,” said Arpaio’s lawyer Jack Wilenchik said in a statement. “Arpaio believes that a jury would have found in his favor, and that it will. He is in this for the long haul.”
(Via Los Angeles Times)