The Arizona lawman Joe Arpaio was infamous for his strict patrols targeting immigrants.
The District Judge Susan Bolton convicted former Sheriff Joe Arpaio of criminal charges on Monday for not stopping patrols that targeted immigrants, in spite of court orders. The order that Arpaio chose to continue even though he clearly knew about the orders.
“Not only did defendant abdicate responsibility, he announced to the world and to his subordinates that he was going to continue business as usual no matter who said otherwise,” Bolton wrote, Chicago Tribune reported.
The federal judge’s orders bring relief to those who had to bear the brunt of his unusual crackdowns on immigrants. However, the 85-year-old Arpaio has said he would appeal against the order.
The former sheriff of metro Phoenix for 24 years, Arpaio, had been put in the line of fire earlier too for his defiance. He was once probed for misspending $100 million in jail funds and for initiating criminal investigations of political enemies; though no prosecutions, of his or his employees, resulted from the investigations. But his prolonged immigration patrols that extended for more than a year even after a judge ordered him to stop has put him in legal problems.
The court order also mentioned instances in media and otherwise where Arpaio openly boasted about his continued crackdowns. Although he admitted to the extended immigration patrols, he denied that it was intentional and out of disrespect to the court. Rather he blamed his former attorney for not explaining him the court orders properly, the Chicago Tribune reported.
However, Bolton maintained that Arpaio clearly knew about the orders and that one of his top aide also read him the order during a staff meeting. Nonetheless, Arpaio’s lawyer vow to fight back the order and said that the decision should have been taken by a jury and not a judge.
“Her verdict is contrary to what every single witness testified in the case,” Arpaio’s lawyers said in a statement. “Arpaio believes that a jury would have found in his favor, and that it will.”