Federal Court Rejects Challenge To Arpaio Pardon

Joe_arpaioI have received a fair amount of criticism for writing that President Donald Trump was within his authority to pardon former Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio as well as my skepticism of the challenge to the pardon by Berkeley law dean Erwin Chemerinsky and others.  While I opposed the pardon and said that I viewed Arpaio was in open contempt of the court, I viewed the challenge to the pardon to be without merit.  Now U.S. District Judge Susan Bolton has rejected the challenge by Chemerinsky and dismissed the guilty verdict in the contempt case.

1600px-Erwin_chemerinsky_09-2007Arpaio, 85, was found guilty of contempt for violating a federal judge’s order to stop detaining citizens on suspicion of being illegal immigrants.  Bolton ruled the pardon was constitutional and rejected the novel argument by Chemerinsky that a contempt conviction is not an “offense against the United States” within the meaning of the Constitution’s grant of pardon power in Article II.

None of this means that the pardon was wise or just but it was constitutional.

57 thoughts on “Federal Court Rejects Challenge To Arpaio Pardon”

  1. Constitutional Law wins again versus personal opinion by those who won’t lift a finger to make changes.

  2. The methodology of the so called conviction was a farce.
    Joe is 85. He is sitting in a honky tonk drinking whiskey and rye, singing: This could be the day that I die.
    Bye, Bye Miz American Pie.

    Drive your Chevy’s to the levee you weenies out there.

  3. This legal challenge was more of a publicity stunt or political grandstanding than it was in the interests of administrating justice. I suspect the plaintiff attorneys knew this was a fools errand but it didn’t matter to them.

  4. First, you have to realize the Arpaio was enforcing the law. He was held in contempt for enforcing the law. The statute that he was charged with only allowed a judicial hearing, not a jury of his peers and he and his attorneys argued he had been charged under the wrong statute. The fix was in. Obama wanted him out of office because he was making Obama look bad. He was tried before a judge who belonged to La Raza, which is the Hispanic version of the KKK. Don’t you think the fix was in?

    1. PCS,

      Your comment reads like you’re hyperventilating while typing.

      Let’s review, in chronological order, JT’s posts concerning, “[t]he highly controversial sheriff from Maricopa, Arizona, Joe Arpaio.”

      From 2008:


      “He intends to use suspects as props for scenes written by comedy writers and staffed by actors. It is the latest sign of the decline of our criminal justice system as our judges, prosecutors, and sheriffs vie for notoriety on television and in the press.”

      “The people of Arizona should be ashamed of empowering such a person, but Arpaio continues to operate freely despite an unprecedented number of lawsuits against him.”

      “There is no difference between Arpaio renting out these inmates to businesses. Like being handed over to a circus for people to gawk at, these inmates are being used for entertainment — and Arpaio insatiable desire for publicity.”

      Yes, that’s right, 2008; long before you graced this blog with your inane dribble, PCS.

      Let’s move on to 2009, shall we:


      “Maricopa County Arizona Sheriff Joe Arpaio is under federal investigation for possible constitutional violations and discrimination. The Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division is looking into whether his office is engaging in ‘patterns or practices of discriminatory police practices and unconstitutional searches and seizures.’”

      “The people of the county will now have to pay from additional legal costs as Arpaio again defends himself against allegations of abuse. In the meantime, a recent report indicates that Arpaio is too busy to serve felony warrants in his county.”

      “Arpaio has long been criticized for pandering for media attention, often using inmates as props and backdrops for his self-marketing. Most recently, Arpaio was able to secure his own reality show with Fox called ‘Smile: You’re Under Arrest.’”

      “Strangely, in Fox’s story on Arpaio being the target of federal investigation, it does not mention the show.”

      1. Tass Brown – neither of those investigations you mentioned was successful in federal prosecutions. However, they did cost federal funds and Maricopa Co..property owners tax dollars. The taxpayers of Maricopa Co. were aware of both situations before the feds showed up. Maricopa Co. is one of the largest counties in the United States. It is actually larger than several states on the east coast. Besides Phoenix, which has about 4.5 million people, there are a bunch of other cities. Over time, they grew into each other, so it is now one huge commute. The corporate whole is called The Valley of the Sun.

        The office of the Sheriff of Maricopa Co. is the repository of all arrest warrants regardless of the city in the county. However, the Sheriff’s Dept. is legally only responsible for those served by his office. So, he is responsible for Co. warrants but not outstanding warrants from Tempe, Phoenix, Glendale, etc. That is what happened in this case. The outstanding warrants that were being complained about were not the Sheriff’s problem, but the police of the various cities. His outstanding warrants were within a reasonable number and they made reasonable efforts to serve those warrants.

        There is a special minimum security jail where they held work-release prisoners. This was ordered by the court, not by the Sheriff’s Dept. The road up to is it Avenue De Los Winos. That should give you a good idea of who mostly stays there, besides the sleepy guards. The chain-gangs worked out of Madison Jail and were approved by several courts. Working on the chain-gang was a privilege, not a punishment. Being taken off the chain-gang was a punishment.

        BTW, Tass, how do you know how long I have been on this blog? And what do you care? We have an issue right in front of us and the court is either going to agree or disagree. Now Arpaio will be able to run against Jeff Flake for the Senate. That will sink little Jeffies numbers even further. Right now Flake is 25 points behind Ward and he seems desperate for money. McCain has a huge war chest but he is becoming radioactive in Arizona.

    2. Still in 2009:


      “We have been following the latest controversy of Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio in his support of a deputy who committed an outrageous act in rifling through the papers of a criminal defense attorney and then removing and copying notes about her client. Many questioned the actions of County Attorney Andrew Thomas who has supported Arpaio rather than the rule of law in the matter. Now, Thomas has joined Arpaio in charging the judge who stood up to the sheriff with three felony counts — bribery, obstructing a criminal investigation, and hindering prosecution.”

      “Arpaio insists that he and county lawyers have been conspiring to block his investigation into the construction. The evidence: a series of rulings that Arpaio does not like.”

      “In addition, Thomas filed a ‘racketeering’ lawsuit in FEDERAL COURT, accusing the supervisors, their lawyers, and the judges of being a criminal enterprise under RICO laws.”


      “While many of us have been following the de-evolution of the Arizona law system in Maricopa County recently, lawyers are taking to the street to protest against the assault on the rule of law by Maricopa County Attorney Andrew Thomas and Sheriff Joe Arpaio. Hundreds of lawyers took to the street to call for an end of the embarrassing reign of Thomas who has made his office an international mockery.”

    3. Thank god, it’s 2010:


      “Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio is fighting with another judge and this one seems ready to hold him in contempt in Mesa, Arizona. While Arpaio routinely disregards and even investigates local judges who oppose his controversial policies or actions, he picked the wrong fight with a federal judge this time. U.S. district judge Murray Snow has formally found grounds for sanctioning Arpaio for the acknowledged destruction of records in a lawsuit involving racial profiling.”

      Tanks, puppies and 2011:


      “We have been following the alliance of one of the world’s worst actor (Steven Seagal)with one of the world’s most abusive sheriffs (Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio). Seagal has been riding around in a tank supplied by Arpaio and raiding the home of citizens as part of a reality show — effectively turning Arizona citizens in extras and police personnel into cast members for his egocentric show, ‘Steven Seagal Lawman.’ The recent assault with tanks and SWAT members of a ranch suspected of cockfighting attracted our attention since it was launched with roughly equal forces as the Normandy invasion with Seagal leading the way in his county-supplied tank like an over-stuffed George Patton. Now, Jesus Sanchez Llovera is taking the first steps toward a lawsuit.”

      PCS, it’s obvious that Joe Arpaio must be a great guy; upholding the law and all through thick and thin while ‘the fix was in.’

      1. Tass – now I remember who you are. I heard you were back, just didn’t know if you would have the intestinal fortitude to use your real name, I see you didn’t. It took a couple of days and two cups of coffee to remember you.

        Interesting that the judge went after Arpaio, but doesn’t go after prosecutors for doing the same thing. Are there two standards of justice here? One for Arpaio and another for federal prosecutors?

        1. PCS, apparently TASS has a close relationship to the Feminazi Gaystapo.

          TASS –

          Russian News Agency TASS, abbr. TASS is a major news agency in Russia, founded in 1902. Tass is the largest Russian news agency, and the fourth largest in the world after Reuters, the Associated Press and Agence France-Presse.

          – Wiki

    4. There are many more observations and opinions of Joe Arpaio — on this blog authored by JT — and in the the dreaded MSM, of which many were local reportings at the time.

      I just thought I would share with you JT’s historical perspective.

      I just love how JT now states, “[n]one of this means that the pardon was wise or just but it was constitutional.”

      Very true on the face of statement, but lacking in balls considering past tirades.

      1. So what if JT doesn’t like Arpaio…..he lives in Virginia and doesn’t have to deal with the problems that people in Maricopa County, Az face every day. The same is true of the ‘armchair liberal’ Berkeley law professor. It’s easy to criticize someone else from a distance, but Arpaio is responsible to the people who elected him. The federal judge who held the Sheriff in contempt for enforcing the law was APPOINTED to her position. She couldn’t get elected dog catcher in Arizona, because she is more concerned about foreign illegal occupiers than American citizens.

        1. No one gets held in contempt “for enforcing the law.” I realize you are not a lawyer, but even a simpleton should know this basic fact. I also realize you probably heard this ridiculous prattle from Rush/Hannity/Alex Jones or some other such buffoon; but, you are still responsible for the failure to use your common sense.

          This is to tinny tin

    5. Every step of the way to this obscene persecution of Sherriff Arpaio was motivated by leftist ideology and resentment.
      Thankful we have judges who uphold the Constitution.

    6. So right as usual. It should be a crime for judges to not follow the law. She should be removed from the bench.

        1. I’d been doing my own research. There is no indication the Judge was a member and no reason at all I’ve found to equate them with the KKK. Please explain that comparison, what am I missing?

          1. enigma – for that you would have to live in the Southwest and know that La Raza means the Race and they intend to take over everything that once belonged to Spain and Mexico. I was a student in a community college where the La Raza members were known as the Mexican Mafia. I personally had no problem with them and I don’t know anyone that did, but they didn’t get that name because of their Xmas present donations. They had earned the moniker before I got there.

            Phoenix does not fall into the Spanish or Mexican territory, but Tucson does. Most of New Mexico would go and all most all of California. Actually, maybe I should be supporting them. 🙂

              1. enigma – twins tend to think alike, act alike, dress alike, etc. If her twin sister was the President, you do not think this came up at family dinners? And the Hispanics are very family orientated, there are always parties and dinners that you have to go to. You think the judge did not go to the ceremony when her sister was made President of La Raza. And remember, they are working like the CPUSA. There is the official party that everyone sees with membership cards and then there is the underground CPUSA which is doing all the spying, etc.

                1. This is your legal argument? For someone all about the law, you just threw it all out the window.
                  Trump’s late brother was an alcoholic, he doesn’t drink. It’s possible to be exposed to something without accepting it. I participate in this blog’s discussion. I think I’ve managed not to subscribe to many of the commonly held views here that are discussed. You’re argument is little different than Trump when he didn’t want the judge from Detroit trying his lawsuit because he was “Mexican.”

                  1. enigma – you clearly do not understand the Hispanic community. Now, they are not unilateral on this, many think La Raza is a bunch of nut cases, but whatever it is, it is usually an entire family that feels that way. Otherwise, it is one for all and all for one. So if twin sis is prez of La Raza, Arpaio is going to get screwed, sis needs the support.

                    1. enigma – I am disappointed in you if you think this is or was a legal argument. 🙂 It was an explanation of the facts of life. I have already agreed with you that there is an offense called driving while black or brown. And we both know black and brown people can and are prejudiced. Don’t you think this judge would take it to the bench with her? Hell, she would be bounding up the steps of the bench for the trial. She was looking forward to this one. 😉

                    2. I didn’t think it was a legal argument, I was pointing out it was anything but. Every judge is human and has a personal life and influences that have to be set aside to render fair and impartial judgments. This judge must be biased against Arpaio because a. She has a twin sister that holds him in low esteem b. She’s Hispanic and therefore is prejudiced.

                      Let me rephrase the question. Is there any legal argument you could make that she shouldn’t have been the judge on this case not based on assumptions?

                    3. Because you say she’s biased. Suppose she isn’t? On the Supreme Court, I’ve seen Sotomayor and other “leftist” Justices recuse themselves. Have you ever seen Scalia or Thomas do the same? Even on subjects they’ve spoken about or involving clients one has gone hunting with?
                      You seem to be avoiding the fact that there is no sound legal argument?

                    4. enigma – there should never even be the scintilla of bias. Recusal would have been the right thing to do. Recusal is a legal argument.

                    5. Recusal is a legal action not an argument. The logical extension of your argument is that no white person could ever be judged by a Hispanic person if the issue involves race affecting Hispanics. I’d have no problem believing that almost no Hispanic person is ore than two degree’s of separation from La Raza or some other activist organization, no black person is more than to degrees of separation from BLM or the Black Panthers, and no white person is more than two degrees separated from a skinhead, Neo-Nazi or Klan member. Who then should administer justice?

                    6. enigma – some have no separation from any those groups and that was the reason of requesting she recuse herself, which she didn’t.

                    7. She has at least one degree of separation, she’s not a member. Tell me what part of this I get wrong. She issued a legal order which he bragged about violating. He disobeyed the law multiple times. He substituted his own belief of what was legal for the courts. He was found guilty.

                      Some call the court order, “illegal.” Is there any legal basis for that claim?

                    8. enigma – Arpaio clearly thought the court order did not apply to him. He was elected by the people of Maricopa Co. and followed the directives of the state law for his office. His responsibilities include running the jail for the county and sending cars out to what became known as “county islands” strips of land in various places in the Valley that were not covered by a police department. He also worked out deals with smaller communities to serve as their peace officers, so they did not have to train and support it.

                      The judge ordered him to stop doing part of his job. It is was something he had sworn to do and he was going to do, federal judge or no federal judge. So, he continued to do his job, as did his deputies. I think the crushing blow was the exposure of Obama’s birth certificate and the raid on Danny’s Car Wash. The raid on the car wash picked up about 50 illegals working for Danny and they proved Danny knew about them. Some of his managers were supplying them with fake iD. Danny is still in jail and all his car washes have been sold. At the time, they were the Gold Standard for a car wash.

                      The taking apart of Obama’s long form birth certificate was an education in electronic forgery. You have to watch the whole press conference to see it, but it is cool. Those volunteer deputies did a lot of hard work.

                      For Obama, that was the last straw.

                    9. I believe he was certain the court order applied to him. He just thought he was above the law and didn’t have to comply.

                      “I am the constitutionally and legitimately elected sheriff, and I absolutely refuse to surrender my responsibility to the federal government.”
                      Joe Arpaio
                      “I don’t bow down to the federal government.”
                      Joe Arpaio
                      So now you’re a birther too? Oh, Paul! Really?
                      And Obama ordered a Federal Judge to find him guilty of a crime? Is that what you’re saying?
                      In recent days, all your legal reasoning and logic has gone out the window.

                    10. enigma – I do believe you quote Arpaio correctly and there is nothing there to back up your earlier claim about bragging about it. That is his legal stand.

                      I am not a birther, however, if you watch the video of the extended press conference I think even you will wonder if the long form presented by the Obama WH was genuine.

                    11. I’ve seen the video, we all heard the report fromTrump’s private detectives who were finding “unbelievable things.” And no, I don’t question it for a second.
                      And how was it again that Obama now controls the judiciary and persecuted Arpaio?

                    12. enigma – any supposed report from Trump’s private detectives would be confidential and not available to you and me unless someone read it to them over the phone, it was recorded on a wiretap and released (assuming it is true). We know that Obama moved political appointees to regular jobs in various government agencies at high levels in an effort to stifle and frustrate President Trump. So, really, when you know that, that kind of person is ex-President Obama?

                    13. If the man who ordered the report and promised to show the world wanted to release it, he certainly could. What’s far more likely is that either there never were any detectives or they didn’t find a damn thing.
                      I’m sorry, some of us don’t know what you claim about Obama apparently creating some sort of “deep state” to frustrate Trump. Perhaps you can enlighten me with some examples?
                      On another note, got some deliveries from my library today including, “The Sellout” by Pail Beatty, “Policing the Black Man” an anthology, “The Second Amendment” by Michael Waldman, “Critical Companion to Zora Neale Hurston” by Sharon L Jones and “We Were Eight Years in Power” by Ta-Nehisi Coates. I have three weeks to read them all so I best get cracking.

                    14. enigma – I suggest you absorb each chapter of The Sellout, read a chapter or two of one of the other books. I found myself finishing each chapter and just pondering over what I had read. I could not binge read it. 😉

                      BTW, just got the Thurgood Marshall book. Will start on it today. Looks interesting. Also, have one on microbes in and on the body. More sciency, only one chapter in and I have to finish it by the 18th.

                      Good luck on your reading, those are some excellent authors.

                    15. Read the Prologue, fast paced with a million topical and historical references doesn’t begin to capture it. I imagine one has to be both well read and of as certain age to keep up. Enjoying it! Especially the Clarence Thomas portion.

                    16. enigma – I had a mouth full of hot coffee when I read Thomas’ comment/question to the defendant, I just barely kept myself from exploding that coffee into my keyboard. After that, I knew I was in for a wild ride. And the ride does get wild.

  5. And the American colonists were in open contempt of the Crown and British Empire.

    And the judicial branch was in open contempt of the voters of Arizona regarding SB 1070.

    The judges and justices that began this foray into dictatorship by an “imperial judiciary” should be impeached with extreme prejudice and suffer the severest of penalties for corruption, imposition of ideological bias for the benefit of specific political parties and loss of jurisprudential bearing and objectivity.

    There is but one legislative branch. “Legislation from the bench” must be terminated. The judicial branch has no authority to legislate or modify legislation. If the judicial branch cannot properly adjudicate, it must return legislation to the legislative branch which is the direct representative of the only entity which holds dominion in America – the People.

    The People of Arizona spoke.

    In 2011, China imposed the death penalty on two vice-mayors who committed acts of political and financial corruption. It must follow that it is more egregious to deliberately corrupt the “manifest tenor” of the Constitution.

    Alexander Hamilton –

    “[A] limited Constitution … can be preserved in practice no other way than through the medium of courts of justice, whose duty it must be to declare all acts contrary to the manifest tenor of the Constitution void. Without this, all the reservations of particular rights or privileges would amount to nothing … To deny this would be to affirm … that men acting by virtue of powers may do not only what their powers do not authorize, but what they forbid.”

    1. You may want to sit down; I have something to tell you and it will make you very sad….You see, Judges are empowered to interpret the law, and whether a particular statute violates the Constitution. Unfortunately for you, you are not a judge, so you don’t have the authority to interpret the law. Moreover, whichever loony toon buffoon Pravda Faux News trotted out to fill your head with mush was not a sitting judge, either. So, your post does nothing more than reveal your very serious shortcoming in knowledge, common sense, and simple decency. You’re welcome.

      This is to “off his meds again” georgie

      1. Read the letter and spirit of the law by those who wrote the law.

        Learn the “duty” of the judicial branch.

        The judicial branch has no authority to legislate, modify legislation or usurp the power of the legislative branch and must be impeached for those crimes of high office.


        Alexander Hamilton –

        “[A] limited Constitution … can be preserved in practice no other way than through the medium of courts of justice, whose duty it must be to declare all acts contrary to the manifest tenor of the Constitution void. Without this, all the reservations of particular rights or privileges would amount to nothing … To deny this would be to affirm … that men acting by virtue of powers may do not only what their powers do not authorize, but what they forbid.”

  6. I don’t doubt at all that the Pardon was lawful. I think the message it sends is horrible. The man was not simply doing his job. He was acting as if he were above the law, defying court orders and bragging about it. Shame on Arpaio and the man that pardoned him.

    1. It was an unlawful order, so he should have and did ignore it. Federal judges are not above the law; they only think they are.

      1. So who gets to decide whether an order is unlawful or not? If not the courts, who? If he felt that strongly that he wanted to engage in civil (or in this case criminal) disobedience. He should have been prepared to pay the price.

        There’s a word for when people choose willy-nilly what laws to obey and which to ignore… Oh yeah, anarchy!

    2. “He was acting as if he were able the law, defying [duly enacted and constitutional laws] and bragging about it.” You’re talking about Obama, right?

    3. What message do “Affirmative Action Privilege,” welfare, quotas, forced busing, social services, food stamps, WIC, HAMP, HARP, HUD, HHS, etc. send? Oh yeah, minorities have nullified the Constitution and imposed the principles of the communist manifesto. What happens if there’s a “white lash” or a giant is awakened? Visualize what that message will look like. Oooo, “…a terrible resolve.” That can’t be good.

      “I fear all we have done is to awaken a sleeping giant and fill him with a terrible resolve.”

      – Isoroku Yamamoto

      1. Two points I’d like to make:
        1. There was a reason for Affirmative Action which is more of a cap than a privilege, quota’s, busing and all the things you mentioned. Many of those conditions still remain.
        2. What do you mean “if” there’s a “white lash?” What do you think Trump is?

      2. Is that some sort of threat? I’m white, did I miss a memo? Or more likely, georgie is just another frightened, scared, lonely, timid, “good ole days” outcast who wants the world to slow down. A Keyboard warrior who won’t lift a finger in the real world.

        This is to “I don’t want to read the Constitution, Hannity told me what’s in it” georgie

  7. You are open and appreciative of criticism..that’s why you are one of my must reads which I periodically contribute to with comments (and some of them have been at times admittedly critical). If only the man in the White House was as open-minded.

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