A presidential pardon is not meant to elicit as much heated as it did when President Trump pardoned Sheriff Joe Arpaio. The sheriff had been in the headlines for a long time for his controversial and at times racist actions primarily targeting the Hispanic communities.
The sheriff was at his wit’s end as this one would have caught him flat-footed, and there wasn’t much he would have done apart from dealing with the consequences of his actions. The sheriff was a man who was well used to impunity and having served as sheriff for six consecutive terms he had come to expect that he and the law were the same thing.
He had been accused of violating the terms of a court order and as such a lawsuit brought against him. What followed would be a case that took several years and eventually Judge Susan Bolton found him guilty of disobeying a court order.
The sentencing date was supposed to follow this guilty verdict, but for a man who had found an ally in the president, it was easy for him to get his attention and get a pardon. The sheriff had just escaped the justice system, and as Judge Bolton validated that pardon, it became absolutely clear that he would not be held to account at least not, as a result, that lawsuit.
According to Lacey and Larkin, this were two men who had used their power to manipulate the justice system and as such set a precedent that seemed to say “as long as the powers that be were on your side you could get away with a lot.” The sheriff had over the years overseen some of the worst crimes committed by a sheriffs department in recent history.
He is a man who had little regard for procedure which became clear when he diverted money meant for jails to other areas despite having inmates held in tent cities that were marred by under-staffing allegations it was not uncommon for four officers to be left in charge of hundreds of inmates.
This would lead to cases where the same officers who were tasked to serve and protect turning their batons on inmates under the slightest of provocation, sexual offenses went unreported while suicide among inmates skyrocketed. All this was happening despite the sheriff’s department overseeing over one hundred and forty million dollars annually.
The sheriff was so focused on his personal agenda that whenever allegations of any wrongdoing even by his officers he would be fast to deny and discredit everything asserting that it was the work of detractors and those opposed to him. The self righteous campaign would always work on his political base and this would be proved by his reelection for six consecutive terms. Learn more about Jim Larkin and Michael Lacey: http://releasefact.com/2017/09/jim-larkin-and-michael-lacey-continue-fight-for-latino-rights-after-pardoning-of-joe-arpaio/ and http://www.phoenixnewtimes.com/blogs/az-aclu-honors-new-times-founders-jim-larkin-and-mike-lacey-as-civil-libertarians-of-the-year-6500737
The house of cards would, however, come tumbling down when he vied for the same position for the seventh time and was defeated. It meant that he was now a civilian and his power to manipulate the system had been curtailed and were it not for the pardon things might have been worse.