The process leading up to former Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio's contempt of court conviction and eventual pardon - courtesy of President Trump - had plenty of stops along the way. He was never sentenced, and Trump pardoned him at the end of August.
Arpaio himself had asked for such a result after Trump pardoned him last month, but the judge in the case declined to do so before an October 4 hearing on the matter. Bolton found Arpaio guilty in July of disobeying another judge's order that his office stop detaining people based exclusively on the suspicion that they were unlawfully in the United States.
"The Arpaio Pardon does not faithfully execute the law; it sends a signal that public officials, so long as they are allies of the President, need not execute the law at all", the filing reads. DOJ attorneys wrote in a legal filing that because Trump had already pardoned Arpaio, "the government agrees that the Court should vacate all orders and dismiss the case as moot". Thus, though the pardon protects him from a jail sentence and further prosecution, Arpaio is still technically a convict.
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But for all of Arpaio's tough-on-crime rhetoric, Oliver argued, the notorious sheriff - who like Trump once had his own reality show -seemed content to let certain crimes fall through the cracks. The President's action is not authorized by the article 2, sec. There have been controversial pardons before, he said, bringing up a NSFW one from Abraham Lincoln involving a horse, but even by those standards, President Trump's pardon of Joe Arpaio "was a doozy".
In addition, the purported pardon violates two basic constitutional principles. Arpaio's team argues that the pardon foreclosed any chance for the former sheriff to appeal his conviction and seek reversal of the verdict.
Presidential pardons are "one of the most powerful tools available to a president", John Oliver said on Sunday's Last Week Tonight. It lays out three arguments for challenging the pardon. DOJ attorneys said Arpaio's deputies continued arresting undocumented immigrants without evidence they had broken state law. The Constitution spells out the sole exception to presidential pardon power - cases of impeachment.