PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) –
U.S. District Judge Susan Bolton on Monday found former Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio guilty of criminal contempt of court, the culmination of a federal trial that was years in the making.
Arpaio’s lawyer said they will be appealing the verdict to get a jury trial.
“Today, Judge Susan Bolton violated the United States Constitution by issuing her verdict without even reading it to the Defendant in public court. Her verdict is contrary to what every single witness testified in the case. Arpaio believes that a jury would have found in his favor, and that it will,” Jack Wilenchik said in a written statement,
“Judge Bolton found that an order by her fellow Judge G. Murray Snow, who is in the same building and sits on the same Arizona court, clearly said something that it did not even say: that the MCSO was prohibited from turning illegal aliens over to Border Patrol or ICE. Every witness in the case testified that the order was not clear, even though Judge Bolton and her fellow judge say so. Numerous law enforcement agencies also continue to do this. In fact, the DOJ now goes after agencies that refuse to do this.”
It’s not clear when the appeal will be filed.
“Joe Arpaio is in this for the long haul, and he will continue his fight to vindicate himself, to prove his innocence, and to protect the public,” Wilenchik said.
The Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office issued a statement, as well.
“Although the election in November was a statement by this community to put an end to the prior administration’s practices, the verdict today by U.S. District Court Judge Susan Bolton is a conclusion to the disservice and distractions caused by former Sheriff Joe Arpaio. We have a great respect for the justice system and the process and responsibility to carry out justice.
“As for this office, we remain steadfast in our efforts to serve the needs of public safety, to improve quality of relations with the community and to ensure that the men and women of this organization have the utmost respect for the law and the authority for which we are empowered.”
Arpaio, who was voted out of office in November 2016 after serving six terms, is known for, among other things, cracking down on illegal immigration and using controversial “crime suppression sweeps” to round up those suspected of being in the U.S. illegally. Those operations, which went on for years, are what landed him in court.
[SPECIAL SECTION: Former Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio]
Although a judge ordered Arpaio to stop the traffic patrols that targeted immigrants, the self-styled “America’s toughest sheriff” did not. Arpaio continued to run those operations for nearly 18 months after that order.
Last May, Judge Murray Snow found Arpaio, now 85, and three of his top aides in civil contempt.
In a strongly worded 162-page document, Snow wrote that Arpaio’s office violated court orders intended to end racial profiling practices by his department.
“They have demonstrated a persistent disregard for the orders of this Court, as well as an intention to violate and manipulate the laws and policies regulating their conduct,” Snow said.
[RELATED: Defeated Arpaio has no regrets about immigration crackdowns (Nov. 13, 2016)]