August 26th, 2017

The case for pardoning Sheriff Joe Arpaio

Paul Mirengoff (not ordinarily a Trump fan) makes the case here.

I confess to not having followed the Joe Arpaio conviction story. But Mirengoff’s piece seems reasonable enough to me, with its main point that the Arpaio pardon represents “a political end to a political case.”

22 Responses to “The case for pardoning Sheriff Joe Arpaio”

  1. Sean Says:

    It’s more than just a political end to a political case. It signals Trump is going to go over the heads of those liberal judges who are obstructing enforcement of our immigration laws.

  2. expat Says:

    Arpaio is 85 years old. Manning is how old and yet its sentence was commuted and it gets pictures in major mags. I just read the Wiki section on it. It should be in a mental hospital for life.
    And let’s not forget Mark Rich.

    I don’t really care about this pardon.

  3. FOAF Says:

    expat – Manning and even Rich are nothing compared to Obama’s pardon of Oscar Lopez-Rivera, an unrepentant terrorist murderer.

  4. expat Says:


    I forgot about that.

  5. Cornhead Says:

    I laugh when the Libs complain about this pardon. They call him the *controversial* Sheriff. A controversial person is anyone who isn’t a liberal. And is Manning a controversial figure?

    The ability of the president to pardon is right in the constitution and it is absolute. Not lawless by any means.

    I suspect the contempt order was rightly decided. But the guy is 85 and would probably get killed in jail. This was really a battle of authority; a federal judge against a local sheriff.

    Sheriff Joe was hated by the Left. But the hate was based on his attempt to enforce federal law regarding immigration when the federal government refused to enforce federal law.

    There was also a jury trial question here.

    I also want to know the actual harm for his racial profiling. Not much I expect.

  6. Bill Says:

    Cornhead – racial profiling doesn’t cause harm to people like us because we’re never racially profiled.

    I do recommend doing a little research, from an unbiased source (if any are to be found) as to why Joe A. was in legal trouble in the first place. Eye opening.

  7. Ann Says:

    If anyone here is interested, this piece in The Atlantic provides some details on the kind of stuff Arpaio has done.

  8. steve.c Says:

    I noted a link to a WaPo (!) piece that observes that the pardon is a warning shot to the Mueller investigation, or, lets say it’s an olive branch held out to anyone called upon to testify. In other words, it’s a way for Trump to say “if you’re worried about a contempt charge, don’t worry, I have your back”.

    I thought it a stretch, but the more I think about it, maybe not.

    As a long time AZ resident, I can tell you that there are a lot of folks very quietly saying “good”. They saw Joe as a high-value target by the Obama DoJ, and they’re quite ticked about it.

  9. AesopFan Says:

    Ann Says:
    August 26th, 2017 at 4:42 pm
    If anyone here is interested, this piece in The Atlantic provides some details on the kind of stuff Arpaio has done.
    * * *
    I have no idea if what the Atlantic alleges is true or not — maybe it is; but, as someone famously said last year before the election, “Where’s the indictment?”

    Arpaio was charged only with contempt of court for not following an order to cease enforcing federal immigration laws (or that is the “short version” that steps around any of the “profiling” controversies).

    steve c. makes a valid point that I suspect entered into Trump’s calculations:
    Not pardoning Arpaio would not win him any applause from the Left, while issuing a pardon would please his base in AZ and elsewhere.
    And in talking about how awful the pardon was, the MSM has to at least mention the crime for which he is being pardoned, which leaves an opening for previously-uninformed voters to decide if they agree with the judge or the President.

    The Rule of Law is not circumvented by pardons; that’s the whole point of making them an executive, not judicial, prerogative.

  10. Cornhead Says:

    “To date, lawsuits brought against Arpaio’s office have cost Maricopa County taxpayers forty-three million dollars, according to some estimates.” The Atlantic.

    Yeah, Sheriff Joe was out of control but he was never convicted of a crime. He was a bad response to the federal government failing to protect the border and control illegal immigration. We should have built a wall 20 years ago. If so, Sarah Root of Iowa would still be alive.

    POTUS has his pardon power and he exercised it. Case closed.

  11. Cornhead Says:

    Once we abandon the rule of law all sorts of bad stuff happens. That was the first error. The federal government should have tightly controlled our border starting 30 years ago.

  12. blert Says:

    If our immigration laws were properly enforced, Arpaio wouldn’t have had to resort to psychological operations to deter invaders.

    Immigration, as practiced, is a MAJOR DRAIN on the economy — and a profound threat to our polity.

    We are looking at full on population replacement.

    It’s Nazism with ‘reverse-English.’

    Adolf wanted population replacement the bullet way.

    Soros, his minion, wants population replacement the no-borders way.

    BTW, Adolf was Big into no borders, too. He attempted to put the entire planet inside the Nazi empire. He really was that grandiose.

    And mad.

    Soros’ heart is in the same place.

    BTW, Soros funding was a HUGE part of the Sheriff’s lawsuits.

    Soros ultimately drove Arpaio out of office. His bankroll for this project had no limit.

    The true ambit of Soros’ project was the elimination of our borders — and our polity.

    You can’t have the latter without the former.

    The underwear bit is trivial, trite, rude but harmless.

  13. Big Maq Says:

    “Once we abandon the rule of law all sorts of bad stuff happens. The federal government should have tightly controlled our border starting 30 years ago.” – Cornhead

    I’m not sympathetic to how the federal government had been lax on managing the borders and immigration, and have been sympathetic to Arizona’s attempt to redress the gap in immigration enforcement (as I recall they had a law overturned).

    I haven’t followed this case much at all, but from the article that Ann linked (thanks), if only some of it is true, wow!

    Is there an unbiased source that verifies all that?

    It sure seems to trod down the “two wrongs make a right” path – essentially Cornhead’s argument boiled down.

    Frankly, if what that article describes is true, while the case may be deemed “political”, a pardon essentially also signals some kind of approval / endorsement behind the ethics of those actions.

    Is that what we want to associate with enforcing the border?

    Maybe the Arpaio case is not the hill to make a stand on, especially in light of the Charlottesville fiasco – again, if some of those items are true in the article.

  14. Big Maq Says:

    “Under the Department’s rules governing petitions for executive clemency, an applicant must satisfy a minimum waiting period of five years before he becomes eligible to apply for a presidential pardon of his federal conviction. The waiting period begins to run on the date of the petitioner’s release from confinement. Alternatively, if the conviction resulted in a sentence that did not include any form of confinement, the waiting period begins on the date of sentencing.

    A waiver of any portion of the waiting period is rarely granted and then only in the most exceptional circumstances.”

    How long has it been for Arpaio?

  15. AesopFan Says:

    Bill Says:
    August 26th, 2017 at 4:05 pm
    Cornhead – racial profiling doesn’t cause harm to people like us because we’re never racially profiled.

    I do recommend doing a little research, from an unbiased source (if any are to be found) as to why Joe A. was in legal trouble in the first place. Eye opening.

    Ann Says:
    August 26th, 2017 at 4:42 pm
    If anyone here is interested, this piece in The Atlantic provides some details on the kind of stuff Arpaio has done.

    * * *
    “we’re never racially profiled” is untrue on the face of it.
    Everyone is “racially profiled” by every one they meet; it’s how we form first impressions (for good or bad) and you will never eliminate it.

    You could add “negatively” to the sentence, and that might be true in the past (if you aren’t a Texas hick or an Appalachian hillbilly), but it certainly is not true now.

    Deriding “white privilege” and decreeing “white-free campus days” and attacking white men with “Nazi haircuts” (actually standard US military, but who expects a Leftist thug to know that detail?) sure looks like “racial profiling” to me.

    And it can be argued that the enforcement of laws (many of them “minor” but some of them “major”) against white citizens, while ignoring the same laws when violated by non-white non-citizens, is also racial profiling (see below, and any of Victor David Hanson’s stories from California; plus many recent headlines about sanctuary city anti-law policies and how they get people killed).

    Here’s the “little research” and “some details” as requested, as showing on the other movie screen.
    Dyer may not be totally unbiased (who is?), but she is totally professional and thorough.

    It’s long and detailed, and examines the actual case and conviction, not the allegations and innuendos.
    This is another example of the blatant Lawfare engaged in by Obama’s DOJ and his weaponized judges.

    It has been laughable to see the left erupt in sanctimonious fury over Donald Trump’s pardon of former Sheriff Joe Arpaio. The theme of the eruption is that the presidential pardon violates the rule of law principle. Anyone who endorses the pardon, we are told, forfeits his good standing with the Rule of Law Brigade, and Republicans should be ashamed of themselves.

    Of course, a presidential pardon is, in every sense, a rule of law action. The president is empowered by the U.S. Constitution to issue pardons. I thought it was unconscionable of Barack Obama to commute the sentence of FALN terrorist and murderer Oscar Lopez-Rivera, but I wouldn’t pretend he was violating the rule of law by doing it
    Interestingly, meanwhile, if you asked most critics what Arpaio was convicted of, they couldn’t tell you. They’d probably say something vague about “profiling.” That’s what all the headlines have been proclaiming,

    But when you review the history, you find that Arpaio was not convicted of profiling. He was found guilty by a federal judge, in July 2017, of criminal contempt of court for failing to comply with another judge’s order in a 2007 civil case. The contempt crime is a misdemeanor for which the maximum sentence is six months in jail.

    Something the sudden rule-of-law zealots don’t mention is that the MCSO crackdown was not only requested by members of the community, but was based on deputization by ICE under provision 287(g) of the U.S. Immigration and Nationality Act, as amended by the Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act of 1996 (adopted, obviously, during the Clinton administration)….

    The zealots also fail to mention that the finding of “profiling” came in the 2007 civil suit, which was brought by legal activists representing a handful of legal-status plaintiffs in what they hoped would become a lucrative class-action case. …
    The criminal conviction of Arpaio was not for “profiling”; it was for allegedly failing to comply with elements of the judge’s 2011 order to cease the MCSO crackdown measures.

    Even that element of the story has its murky aspect. …the judge in the criminal proceeding, Susan Bolton, refused to put the matter to a jury trial, as Arpaio requested, ordering a bench trial instead. (Because the crime in question is a misdemeanor, the judge had that discretion.) It can at least be reasonably suspected that Bolton didn’t want to risk a jury’s statistical likelihood of finding for the law enforcement officers, in a matter of gray-area questions and interpretation.

    There’s one other thing the sudden rule-of-law zealots won’t tell you. Consider that this legal process started in 2007, with the civil suit against Arpaio. Arpaio and the MCSO were operating under the 287(g) program at the time, with widespread approval from the public. What happened between then and today to put the MCSO in such bad odor with the federal government?

    The Obama administration took over. It initiated a Justice Department investigation of Arpaio and the MCSO almost immediately, in March 2009. It terminated the MCSO participation in the 287(g) “task force” program with ICE in October of 2009 – and that withdrawal of cooperation became a key element of Murray Snow’s December 2011 finding that the MCSO was acting outside its authority by “profiling” in order to identify illegal migrants. …

    Snow’s 2011 injunction was issued in response to the 2007 civil suit. But it folded in MCSO actions from after the 287(g) termination, by a new administration, two years later. It also referenced findings from the Obama DOJ investigation, which had been started in the interim between the 2007 lawsuit and the 2011 ruling.
    With Judge Snow’s federal monitoring decree in operation, it was arguably overkill to pursue Arpaio in first a civil contempt case, and then a criminal one, for actions taken by the MCSO prior to the decree.

    That said, however, the political trend of the Obama administration isn’t at issue only in the eventual contempt convictions for Arpaio.

    According to U.S. immigration law, none of the people whom Arpaio and sheriffs across the country routinely find to be here illegally are supposed to be here at all. The American people understand their immigration law to mean what it says, and to be enforceable on that honest, straightforward basis.

    Yet it has not been enforced on an honest, straightforward basis. The Obama administration is by no means the only culprit; ..
    There is hardly any posture less suitable for lecturing others on the rule of law than that of favoring lax immigration enforcement. … If not for the refusal to enforce our immigration laws, for example, many Americans would be better disposed toward increasing legal immigration. …
    But failing to honor the rule of law in immigration enforcement has fatally polluted that dialogue, along with many others. It has also soured many people of goodwill on the prospects of the rule of law in general.

    The failure of rule-of-law enforcement for our immigration laws is a moral cancer eating away at the spirit of unity, common expectations, and civic equality in this country. If anyone should think shame on themselves, it’s the people who advocate for gutting the rule of law in immigration enforcement, and then pretend to care about the rule of law when it comes to pardoning Joe Arpaio.

  16. AesopFan Says:

    PS to Big Maq: do we start counting the 5 years from the original case in 2007, the interim 2011 judgement, or the ruling in 2017?

    When was the sentence first imposed (because anything after that is appellate, and doesn’t count)?

    And do “Department rules” bind the President, or just a pardons board taking an advisory role?

    In any event, see the above on “rule of law” for explaining the hypocrisy in picking at motes and ignoring the beams.

  17. Big Maq Says:

    @AesopFan – I don’t know the details to the questions you ask – partly why I asked.

    It is also normal practice for the POTUS to consult the DOJ on pardons. It seems from initial reports that, he may not have. Though not legally required, the reason for doing so is to distance the POTUS from accusations of abuse of power.

    As far as “rule of law” is concerned, it should go both ways.

    We might not like the laws that have come to be, but having LE officer deciding which ones he should ignore and which ones he’d like to have and chooses then to enforce (on the scale Arpaio has) is problematic to say the least.

    Now, I don’t know how true all the items are in that Atlantic article, but it seems to me that Arpaio has some heavy questions surrounding him with respect to which and how he chooses to enforce the laws, and a court order is part of that law.

    I’m all for making a political statement about how our borders have been poorly managed, and am sympathetic to those making such a case being subject to a “political” prosecution.

    In Arpaio’s case, it seems that there may well be a huge mixed bag, making it hard to see that he is purely a victim of a political witch hunt.

    IOW, if the POTUS is looking to make a political statement with using a pardon, Arpaio’s not exactly the poster child for immigration enforcement we would want to be rallying around to make a stand on immigration on.

    When it comes to egregious and unjust political prosecution, the John Doe cases in Wisconsin seems to much better at fitting the bill of the types of things to rally on.

  18. Big Maq Says:

    Just came across this, from the Editor at Washington Examiner no less…

    “Obama also granted some inappropriate pardons …
    But no amount of “Whataboutism” makes it okay for Trump to disregard the rule of law for his friends.

    Trump promised to drain the swamp if elected. But America hates the swamp because politicians and bureaucrats give special, undeserved favors to their friends and the well-connected.

    America needs tougher immigration enforcement. But enforcement, like all government action, needs to follow the precepts of law and order.”

  19. AesopFan Says:

    Big Maq:
    Thanks for the reply; I don’t know the answers either, but they are the questions that should get asked, and are seldom answered by anyone who does know.

    The John Doe cases were truly execrable.

    I fear that most of the problem for us “viewers” is that so much of what happens is not really accessible to us for rational analysis. News is “controlled” from both sides (and there really aren’t just two — we collapse all the factions for simplicity).

    Pardons appear to now be just another weapon in the partisan wars.

    However, so far as I can tell, the pardon power is uniquely and entirely at the discretion of the President; departmental rules are rules – not statutes or Constitutional provisions; and poster children are in the eye of the beholder.

    I take no position on his alleged activities pro or con, but Arpaio is exactly what some people want to rally around.

  20. BrianE Says:

    “The whiny wailing and rending of garments (mostly bow ties) by the True Cons over President Trump pardoning Sheriff Joe Arpaio brings to mind another president’s choice when a loyal supporter was the victim of a liberal witch hunt. President Bush was an honorable man, but the way he allowed Scooter Libby and the Libby family to be ruined and impoverished over what everyone knew was a skeevy liberal political vendetta before issuing a partial commutation is to W’s lasting shame. His excuse: the Rule of Law or something. “ Kurt Schlichter

    I’m kind of warming up to this guy.

  21. BrianE Says:

    “…America needs tougher immigration enforcement. But enforcement, like all government action, needs to follow the precepts of law and order.”

    Those laws should made by the Legislative body, though, not the courts.

  22. AesopFan Says:

    Power Line Blogger has second thoughts, on learning more of the facts —

    “My position on the pardon of Sheriff Joe Arpaio is that it was a reasonable exercise of the president’s pardon power. Not pardoning the sheriff would also have been reasonable, in my opinion. Indeed, as I said in my post on the subject, I don’t like presidential pardons. Absent overwhelming evidence that the person getting the pardon did not commit the offense for which he was convicted, my preference is no pardon. The Arpaio pardon does not meet that standard.

    However, Arpaio’s offense arises from his efforts to combat a serious problem of lawlessness — illegal immigration — that the federal government refused to take seriously. Arpaio was filling a void created by the feds, a void that inflicted hardship on the people Arpaio was elected to serve.

    In addition, political animus by those who opposed Arpaio’s efforts to fill the void left by the feds appears to have driven the legal case against him. When a public servant is punished in significant part for being on one side of a political/policy dispute, it doesn’t seem unreasonable for a president on the other side to pardon him.

    Ron Rotunda, a distinguished attorney and law professor, informs me via email of certain facts that reinforce my view that partisan politics drove the case against Arpaio and, indeed, resulted in an unfair trial in the case that produced the order Arpaio later was convicted of violating. I believe readers will be interested in what Rotunda has to say.”

    What Rotunda says is basically that Arpaio’s conviction was a judicial hit-job, and gives evidence to support his assertion – none of this will ever make the evening news, of course.

    Here’s another interesting article by Rotunda, about how all people are equal in the Orwellian use of the word.

    “How would you like a free butler, maid, chef and chauffeur? Try that and the Department of Labor will sue you for violating the minimum wage, overtime and record-keeping requirements of the Fair Labor Standards Act —unless you are Justice Sonia Sotomayor. That’s right. Since 2010, she has hired unpaid interns as her servants. No other justice does this.”

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