Feds Filing Criminal Contempt Charges Against AZ Sheriff Joe Arpaio

The Associated Press
The Associated Press

Maricopa County Sheriff Arpaio, the tough-on-border issues sheriff in Arizona who sued President Obama for his executive order on amnesty, has been the target of a war by the Department of Justice (DOJ) and the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU). He has faced civil contempt of court charges for allegedly profiling illegal aliens; now he faces criminal contempt charges for violating a court order.

A court hearing was held on Tuesday, just one day before early voting begins. The 84-year-old Arpaio is on the ballot seeking a seventh term as sheriff. The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) decided to charge Sheriff Arpaio with criminal contempt, according to AZCentral. The sheriff did not attend the hearing.

America’s toughest sheriff” has been criticized by open border proponents for being tough on illegal aliens and illegal immigration. Maricopa County is approximately 80 miles from the Arizona-Mexico border where illegal immigration, criminal illegal aliens, human trafficking, sex trafficking, and drug trafficking endangers Arizona residents. The sheriff first took office in 1992 and while he has been reelected to an unprecedented six 4-year terms, open border proponents have worked very hard to stop him.

Although official charges have not been filled, federal district court judge Susan Bolton at the hearing on Tuesday asked federal government lawyers to write a show cause order for her to sign. She set a deadline for Wednesday. Arpaio faces contempt for violating orders in the racial-profiling case.

As reported by AZCentral, DOJ attorney John Keller announced that the federal government will be investigating more allegations against the Arizona sheriff. He says that Arpaio and three employees will be investigated for obstruction of justice but Keller said the DOJ will not proceed with prosecution because they believe the statute of limitations prevents it. Judge Bolton was reported to say that she was not sure if that was the case and asked for a toll on the statute of limitations in order for the parties to research and discuss the issue.

The Phoenix publication also reported that federal district Judge G. Murray Snow referred Arpaio, Chief Deputy Jerry Sheridan, Capt. Steve Bailey and defense attorney Michele Iafrate for criminal contempt charges. “Arpaio’s charge stems from a December 2011 federal court order that barred his agency from enforcing federal immigration law. It is alleged that his deputies continued to do so, however, for at least 18 months thereafter,” it reports.

A tentative date for a jury trial on the criminal contempt charges has been set for December 6th.

As reported by Breitbart Texas, Arpaio was sued by the ACLU, the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund (MALDEF), and a law firm that Eric H. Holder, Jr. works for. Holder was a partner at the firm for six years prior to his appointment as U.S. Attorney General, and Holder returned to the firm after he left his post as Attorney General. The law firm has been reported as “a key player in the opposition to Arizona’s anti-illegal immigration law.”

Arpaio has criticized Holder for among other things, how he handled Operation Fast and Furious, and for not being a supporter of peace officers. Holder was held in contempt of Congress in June 2012 over the ATF’s Fast and Furious gun-running scandal. There were 255 House members who voted to hold the sitting Attorney General in contempt, including 17 Democrats. Holder and the DOJ would not comply with an October 2011 subpoena to turn over thousands of documents related to Operation Fast and Furious. Breitbart Texas has reported extensively about Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry who was slain in Arizona while on patrol. Two of the guns involved in the ambush were eventually tied to the Fast and Furious operation. After two officers were shot execution-style in New York, Arpaio criticized New York Mayor Bill De Blasio and Attorney General Eric Holder.

Arpaio has long been a critic and nemesis of President Obama. In June 2014, Breitbart TV reported that Arpaio told NewsMax TV that he believes Obama intentionally caused the current crisis of thousands of unaccompanied minors flooding across the U.S.-Mexico border to force “Congress to do something” or “shove some more executive orders down our throat.”

In December 2014, Arpaio sued President Obama “to stop the president from ‘ramming’ new immigration policies ‘down the throats of the American people” and asked a federal judge to issue an injunction blocking Obama’s executive actions of “blanket amnesty,” as reported by ABC News and all the major news outlets. Arpaio’s lawyer, Larry Klayman, founder of the conservative organization Judicial Watch, told the judge in open court that Arpaio had been subject to bomb threats because of his public stance against illegal immigration and his promise to fight the president. As reported by Breitbart News in August 2015, Arpaio responded to a Washington, D.C. federal appeals court judge throwing out his lawsuit against Obama’s executive actions by vowing “we’re going to the Supreme Court.”

Breitbart Texas wrote an article in October 2015 entitled, “Left Media Just Can’t Stop Trashing Sheriff Joe Arpaio – For Doing His Job.” The piece noted, “Mainstream media, forever loyal to ‘the fight,’ has taken up the joint DOJ/ACLU effort and consistently delivers dehumanizing mockery and disrespect to the sheriff’s plate.” “The fight” he writes, is the “flow of millions of future Democratic Party voters.”

Lana Shadwick is a contributing writer and legal analyst for Breitbart Texas. She has served as a prosecutor and associate judge in Texas. Follow her on Twitter @LanaShadwick2.


Please let us know if you're having issues with commenting.