A few weeks ago, Donald Trump ignited controversy by issuing a pardon to Sheriff Joe Arpaio. Trump’s pardon of Arpaio was controversial due to the fact that Arpaio was found in contempt of court for refusing a judge’s order regarding the rights of Hispanic people residing in Arizona. In summary, some legal experts worried that by issuing a pardon to Arpaio, Trump was undermining the very source of his power to pardon, namely the U.S. Constitution. Beyond that, several legal experts have warned that there is a danger that this pardon could encourage other law enforcement officers to ignore court orders.
Trump, however, defended his claim in a series of interviews and tweets where he claimed that Arpaio was merely doing his job and that the sheriff “kept Arizona safe.”
Arpaio himself responded with tweet’s of his own thanking Trump for the pardon and calling the charges against him “a witch hunt.” We’re not too surprised that Arpaio blamed President Obama for his troubles. After all, Arpaio was one of the leading members of the birther movement. That’s probably one of the reasons that Trump is so fond of him. After all, Trump launched his political career by promoting the racist conspiracy theory that President Obama wasn’t born in the United States.
Beyond that, there is the fact that Arpaio was a strong supporter of Trump and often appeared at rallies alongside the president.
In terms of federal crimes, the president’s power to pardon is virtually absolute. Trump’s pardon completely protects Arpaio from punishment. However, the Washington Post reported has that the federal judge who oversaw the case has refused to throw out the rulings related to the case.
U.S. District Judge Susan Bolton denied a request by Arpaio to clear his name and bar the ruling from being used in future court cases as “an example of a prior bad act.” The judge ruled that Trump’s pardon only extended to the punishment of Arpaio and did not simply rewrite historical facts.
‘The pardon undoubtedly spared defendant from any punishment that might otherwise have been imposed. It did not, however, “revise the historical facts” of this case.’
Attorneys for Arpaio have said that they will appeal the decision. In regards to the court order itself, Arpaio said that he didn’t intentionally disobey the order and cast the blame on his one of his attorney’s for failing to explain the order properly.
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