<< Mother of Murdered Child Reacts to Prop. 66 Decision | Main | Take A Stand Against Hate By Beating Someone Up >>

Pardoning Sheriff Joe

President Trump pardoned former Sheriff Joe Arpaio Friday, as he hinted he would at the earlier rally in Phoenix.  Arpaio was the Sheriff of Maricopa County, which includes Phoenix.  Shane Harris has this article in the WSJ on the divided reaction within the Republican Party.  The WSJ also has this editorial on the negative side of the reaction.
The case was heard by a judge without a jury, over Sheriff Arpaio's objection.  The Supreme Court has held that "serious" criminal contempts require a jury trial.  Any jail sentence over six months is "serious."  See Mine Workers v. Bagwell, 512 U.S. 821, 826-27 (1994).  Fines can also make a contempt sanction "serious" at some point, though that point is less well defined.  See id., at 837 (52 megabucks is "serious").  Sentencing in this case was set for October, but the lack of a jury limited the sentencing range to the "non-serious" level.

President Trump noted the lack of a jury in his Phoenix speech.  Congress could, of course, set a floor for jury trial in criminal contempt cases which is lower than the constitutional floor.

Sheriff Arpaio presently has a petition for writ of mandate pending in the U.S. Supreme Court, 16-1422.  It is scheduled for the "long conference" of September 25.  Dismissal as moot appears to be in order.

Leave a comment

Monthly Archives