Jeff Sessions

Jeff Sessions Should Be Screaming Bloody Murder About a Potential Joe Arpaio Pardon

Jeff Sessions has been an opponent of clemency for nearly two decades. Will he make an exception for Sheriff Joe?

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Source: DOJ

President Donald Trump did not pardon former Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio at his Arizona rally on Tuesday, but CNN reports that the paperwork and accompanying talking points are ready. Should he pardon Arpaio at some point in the near future, it would be both completely legal and an affront to everything his attorney general supposedly holds dear.

"One of the talking points is that Arpaio served his country for 50 years in the military, the Drug Enforcement Administration and as Arizona's Maricopa County sheriff," CNN's Kaitlan Collins reports, "and that it is not appropriate to send him to prison for 'enforcing the law' and 'working to keep people safe.'"

Arpaio is not facing six months behind bars for "enforcing the law" or "working to keep people safe," any more than drug dealers are sentenced to prison for "making people happy." Arpaio disregarded a judge's order and was convicted of felony contempt of court. He did the crime, by his own logic and that of the U.S. Attorney General, and he should now do some time.

But if Trump decides to spare the 85-year-old Arpaio six months of incarceration–we won't know until October if he'll actually serve any time behind bars–he has that power. Yes, it would signal a break with historical precedent, but that's really the only constraint on executive clemency.

To get a sense of just how unusual an Arpaio pardon would be, let's look at the the Office of the Pardon Attorney's policy:

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.

As for commutations–which is when president reduces a person's sentence and/or fines–here are the criteria for Obama's clemency initiative:

  • They are currently serving a federal sentence in prison and, by operation of law, likely would have received a substantially lower sentence if convicted of the same offense(s) today.
  • They are non-violent, low-level offenders without significant ties to large scale criminal organizations, gangs or cartels.
  • They have served at least 10 years of their prison sentence.
  • They do not have a significant criminal history.
  • They have demonstrated good conduct in prison.
  • They have no history of violence prior to or during their current term of imprisonment.

Arpaio does not fit any of the OPA's publicly available criteria for a commuted sentence or pardon. It has not been five years since his conviction or the completion of his sentence. The sentence he's most likely to receive is not excessively long.

What's more, Arpaio has refused to accept responsibility, considered fundamental to the application for clemency. In public statements and fundraising emails for the National Center for Police Defense he insists he did nothing wrong and blames his prosecution on politics.

If anyone in Trump's orbit should be discouraging him from pardonning Arpaio, it's Sessions.

When Pres. Bill Clinton pardoned financier Marc Rich in the final hours of his presidency, Rich had not even stood trial. He fled the U.S. in 1983 after being indicted for trading with Iran during the hostage crisis, and spent the rest of his life living comfortably abroad. During his absence, Rich's family in the U.S. funneled more than a million dollars to the Democratic National Committee, the senatorial campaign of Hillary Clinton, and the Clinton Presidential Library. When Clinton eventually pardoned him at the behest of Israel's government, the prosecutors who worked to indict Rich were understandably furious, as were many members of Congress.

"From what I've seen, based on the law of bribery in the United States, if a person takes a thing of value for himself or for another person that influences their decision in a matter of their official capacity, then that could be a criminal offense," Sen. Jeff Sessions told the New York Times in 2001.

One might think Sessions would feel similarly about the current president rewarding a campaign surrogate with a Get Out of Jail Free card.

Sessions also objected to the clemency initiative, which Obama launched in 2014 and continued through the end of his second term. This was the most systematic attempt to heal the wounds of a stupid war since President Jimmy Carter pardoned men who evaded the draft for Vietnam. Sessions, however, declared Obama's efforts to shorten insanely long drug sentences a betrayal of the American justice system.

"To unilaterally determine that a sentence was unjustified simply because the president disagrees with the underlying criminal justice policy is a thumb in the eye of the law enforcement officers, prosecutors, defense attorneys, judges, court and prison personnel who put time and resources into these cases," Sessions said in 2014.

Just a month ago, Sessions said he was committed to holding law-breaking cops accountable. "Just as I'm committed to defending law enforcement who lawfully have to use deadly force to defend themselves while engaged in their work," he told the National Organization of Black Law Enforcement Executives, "I will also use the power of the office I'm entrusted with to hold any officer responsible who violates the law."

If Arpaio is an exception to Sessions' position on executive clemency and holding criminal cops accountable, I can't wait to hear his explanation.

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  1. If the policy on pardons really is that you have to wait until 5 years after you’ve served your sentence, then that’s a really crappy policy.

    I’d assume that the policy you quote from is for people who are guilty but deserve to have their record expunged, for whatever reason.

    But pardons are supposed to be a last bulwark against injustice, not just a way to hand out favors to people in favor with the king. Waiting until 5 years after you are released doesn’t help much if you are on death row and are factually innocent but cannot get the courts to take up the case because your appeals have run out.

    As a notable exception to your “historical precedent” constraint, Gerald Ford preemptively pardoned Tricky Dick.

    1. Pardons are not exonerations.

    2. The power to pardon is specifically granted to the President of the United States in the Constitution.
      Whatever processes, and criteria have been used in the past are not binding on any sitting President.
      There is no requirement that the executive even explain why the pardon is granted.
      He just grants the pardon, and that is that.

      Free the Arizona 1 !

  2. “”As for commutations–which is when president reduces a person’s sentence and/or fines–here are the criteria for Obama’s clemency initiative:””

    A standing president has no obligation to give a rats ass for what the previous president’s clemency initiative says.
    For better or worse.

    1. I believe the term is “sitting president” but you’re quite correct – unless they were enacted into law by statute, President Trump is not bound by the policies of former President Obama. For the most part, this is a good thing.

      1. In this case, at least with regard to the Hildebeast, the term is “Don’t stand so close to me, president”.

      2. It isn’t entirely clear that statute has any bearing on it, either. The Supreme Court would likely strike down a law that required the President to follow extraconstitutional guidelines to exercise a clearly defined executive power. There’s a reason Congress has never pressed the War Powers Act in court; they aren’t sure they would win.

  3. Riggs’ argument would be better if part of it did not involve criticizing a Trump AG for declining to follow aspects of an Obama ‘initiative’ on commutations.

    Likewise Mike is either in over his head – not understanding the difference between pardon and clemency – or his argument is mostly a dishonest attempt at a head fake.

  4. When did Reason get so mean and vindictive? Arpaio is 85 years old. He’s hardly a threat to society.

    An 85-year-old man already “got away with” whatever thing you think you wanted to prevent with your legal regime.

    How does this story advance the cause of liberty? Does it convince anyone of anything? Does it tell a story of liberty being better than authoritarianism? Does it serve any good cause at all?

    1. I guess that depends on what you see as the purpose of prison, I guess.

      I’m not going to complain about a law enforcement agent being punished for acting like he’s above the law. I would hope that his punishment will discourage other people from behaving similarly.

      He also got away with much worse stuff than he is being punished for. I say its too little too late. This is a guy who seemed to take pleasure in mistreating people he had locked up in jail.

      1. So you want him imprisoned for other crimes that other people might consider doing? What crimes? Contempt of court? Why do you care about that?

        Putting a guy in prison “as a message” to others is clearly not justice.

    2. “Does it serve any good cause at all?”

      One of the rarest of occurrences – a jackbooted thug actually getting convicted for his jackbooted thuggery. Maybe if he is actually punished some jackbooted thug in the future will hesitate before he puts his boot down on somebody’s neck. Even if it’s only one, that’s a good cause.

      1. Except that as pointed out in the article, he was not convicted of jackbooted thuggery.
        He was convicted of contempt of court.
        And he will still have contempt for that court regardless of a pardon.

    3. “Does it serve any good cause at all?”

      Justice.

      1. Justice isn’t a good cause. Justice simply means you think you have a good reason to want to hurt someone.

        But you haven’t told us a reason. Contempt of court isn’t exactly a grievous harm to individuals or society.

        1. You’re right but contempt became harmful when he was told to stop by the law (in this case a federal judge) and he continued to do so knowing full well he was in the wrong. Is that reason clear enough for you?

        2. You’re right but contempt became harmful when he was told to stop by the law (in this case a federal judge) and he continued to do so knowing full well he was in the wrong. Is that reason clear enough for you?

    4. When did Reason get so mean and vindictive?

      SJWs have nothing but hatred for unbelievers.

  5. Just a month ago, Sessions said he was committed to holding law-breaking cops accountable. “Just as I’m committed to defending law enforcement who lawfully have to use deadly force to defend themselves while engaged in their work,” he told the National Organization of Black Law Enforcement Executives, “I will also use the power of the office I’m entrusted with to hold any officer responsible who violates the law.”

    There’s a loophole you can slide a semi-truck through sideways. Being above the law means never having to be charged with violating the law.

  6. “””” disregarded a judge’s order and was convicted of felony contempt of court. “””‘

    So what law was the judge enforcing besides I wear a robe and you must obey me?

    1. So, are you saying that contempt of court shouldn’t be a crime?

      Court orders aren’t worth much if they don’t have any enforcement mechanism or punishment for violating them.

      1. No it should not be, at least not by the same judge, it should at least be kicked up to the next level to see if the original judge is not just blowing smoke. Nor should my question be ignored, what underlying law was being violated besides a judge being ignored

        My last time with a judge was on jury duty and the judge told all the jury members that we should base our decision on the law and facts as the judge explained it and we should ignore our own beliefs.

        When I asked the judge why does he need a jury when he was controlling everything and wouldn’t be more honest to dismiss the jury and rule on his own, he then kicked me out of the courtroom. I guess under your idea that I should be in jail

        1. No it should not be, at least not by the same judge, it should at least be kicked up to the next level

          That seems like it might be reasonable, particularly for criminal contempt.

          I don’t think jury instructions have the same force as an actual court order.

          If Arpaio wasn’t an officer of the court, I might have more sympathy. But as part of the legal system, I think he has a strong obligation to play by the rules of the system.

          1. And who decides what those rules are? And then prosecutes those who dare to stray?

        2. “When I asked the judge why does he need a jury when he was controlling everything and wouldn’t be more honest to dismiss the jury and rule on his own, he then kicked me out of the courtroom.”

          Well done. You are my hero for the day.

        3. “I guess under your idea that I should be in jail”

          Well, if you refused to leave the court after getting the boot…

      2. I am indeed. The contmptee must not be the judge and jury, as is the case in this kangaroo court.

    2. If you really don’t know that a federal court issued an injunction against Arpaio ordering him to stop conducting illegal alien sweeps contrary to federal policy and that he was then found in contempt of court for willfully ignoring that injunction, you really haven’t been paying attention. Immigration is a federal issue, no matter how fat-headed a county sheriff is, he’s not in charge of federal policy. It’s like the federal prosecutor out in Washington or Oregon or wherever who continued going after the marijuana dealers even after Obama and Holder issued guidelines that marijuana dealers in states that had legalized marijuana were to be discretioned to the bottom of the to-do list. Why her ass wasn’t fired the first second she started her “you’re not the boss of me” routine is beyond me.

      1. So, if whomever happens to be king got four years decides not to enforce federal law, no one should be able to do so? I’m not a real big fan of lots of laws, but I think most of them are better than living under executive fiat.

        Sure, it cuts both ways, but your analogy is flawed. Washington and Oregon, under the 10th Amendment, have the sovereign right to enact their own drug policy. The federal prosecutor was enforcing federal law (law which, in this case, should be unconstitutional). Contrast with Arpaio, where the federal executive chose to essentially ignore federal law, and the local official enforced it. Interestingly enough, in most cases, local officials are compelled to enforce federal law (witness the current issue re sanctuary cities). So by your logic, local officials should only support those laws the federal executive chooses to support.

        Sounds like rule of law to me /sarc.

  7. Sessions shouldn’t have any problem with Trump pardoning sheriff Arpaio. He was trying to protect us from criminal illegal aliens. Obama on the other hand pardoned unrepentant terrorist Oscar Lopez Rivera.

    1. One of the things I hate most about conservative Republicans is your complete lack of empathy for “others” being abused by government. You harp (rightly) about the 1st and 2nd Amendments. But it’s like the 4th isn’t even worth the paper it’s written on. As long as the jackboot isn’t on your throat, or the throat of your neighbor or loved one, you are fine with it being ignored as needed.

      1. Understood but that sentiment must cut both ways. Demoncrats not only have no empathy for those victimized by the illegals, they encourage, enable, steal and profit from it.

        1. “Understood but that sentiment must cut both ways.”

          Ideally, it would. But the Democrats aren’t proposing or defending constitutional violations in order to protect illegals. They are on the right side of liberty on this subject.

          1. Yes, they are – if you hold them to the text of the constitution and the principles undergirding the secession from the Crown.

            There is no constitutional grant of authority given to the feds to steal from citizens in order to give it to Eduardo or Juan or Julio or Miguel or Pedro.

            1. Liberty Mike, redistribution of private property is a totally different issue.

      2. I loathe the Republican Party, and conservatives in general, but wake me up when Democrats aren’t 100% as complicit with the primary force behind the destruction of the 4th Amendment, the War On Drugs. No, Obama slightly shortening ridiculous sentences of some federal offenders, or any other of the minor sentence adjustments, don’t count for shit. Right now they’re screaming their heads off for crackdowns and longer sentences for the latest drug epidemic in a complete reversal of those policies anyway.
        I thought people here understood that both of the major parties are strongly anti-4th and united against a lot of other freedoms; guess not.

  8. Perhaps Reason forgot that Holder was found in contempt of Congress and was not penalized in any way. I guess it is ok because he was a member of Obama’s cronies and not in violation of liberal witch hunt.

    1. How is that remotely relevant?

      1. Because Arpaio is a lefty target for being anti-open border and the left will do whatever to get their way.

        Contempt of court and contempt of Congress are designed to prevent people disregarding the Judicial Branches order and Legislative Branch investigations.

        I wonder why many cops violate the Constitution but only very few are prosecuted. Arpaio was one of those targets.

        1. Then go find some lefties to have that argument with.

          1. I am. YOU.

            1. It’s hard to tell for sure, but I think you might actually be getting dumber.

              1. I will let you know when I get as dumb as you. It will take alzheimer’s for that and then I will forget who I am.

                They are coming up with a cure for it though, you might want to keep abreast of the latest med tech.

                1. I will let you know when I get as dumb as you.

                  Since you seem to be incapable of undumbing yourself, I’m sure this will never happen.

                  1. Keep up the great jokes and don’t bump your head getting off the short bus.

            2. God damn, you’re a retard.

    2. There should be zero penalties for having contempt for Congress. Why is this even a thing? Where did they get that power? Or subpoena power for that matter? Must be in the FYTW clause of the constitution.

      1. Zero penalties for Joe Citizen but hefty penalties for co-conspirators in the government.

        1. Yes, OK. They have oversight of the executive branch, which should have the force of law. But anyone else should not be subject to their orders.

          1. I rise to a point of order, Mr. Moderator.
            Congress does not have oversight of the executive branch. They are equal, and neither has oversight of the other.

  9. Damn, some of these comments could use some work!

    1. Takes one to know one!

  10. Do any of these guidelines have the force of law? I don’t believe that the President’s pardon power is constitutionally restricted in any way, though evidence of a quid pro quo may be an impeachable offence (if we still do impeachable offenses anymore).

    1. Do any of these guidelines have the force of law?

      From the article: But if Trump decides to spare the 85-year-old Arpaio six months of incarceration–we won’t know until October if he’ll actually serve any time behind bars–he has that power. Yes, it would signal a break with historical precedent, but that’s really the only constraint on executive clemency.

    2. (if we still do impeachable offenses anymore).
      Not for perjury – “I did not have sex with that woman”
      Not for selling pardons before trial – Billy Jeff again and Marc Rich (gotta love the name coincidence)

  11. The LAW the LAW, and all LAWS MUST BE ENFORCED, and if you don’t want to go to JAIL, don’t break the LAW.

    1. As a libertarian I am, of course, for strict and brutal enforcement of the law. But Arpaio only fucked with poors and brown people, which in God’s Law is not illegal in the least.

    2. If all laws were enforced, half the Obama administration would be in prison. And half of supposed “settled” constitutional precedent would be overturned.

      There is no Law. The Left does as it pleases, and is above the Law wherever it holds power.

      The question for the Right is whether they should submit to power that is not the Law, but only punishes the Right.

      1. If all laws were enforced, we would all be in prison.

  12. Sheriff Joe has been enforcing the people’s laws regarding immigration and drug trafficking. Whether or not you like those laws is important. Call your congresscritter. Joe has been defying legislation from the bench, much of which strikes me as outside the court’s scope of work, YMMV.

    The citizens of Arizona have fired him. Said and done.

    i am not the worlds best boss, by a long shot, but I understand that it’s a really bad idea to tell an employee to follow two contradictory instructions at the same time.

    He should be pardoned.

    1. Re: widget,

      Former governor Janet Brewer promised everyone that the law which allowed police officers to inquire about a person’s immigration status was not going to be used to harass American citizens, that she would never let thqt happen. On that aspect alone, Arpaio violated the law by requiring his goons to harass American citizens under the guise of inquiring about their immigration status.

      1. I doubt that the Arizona governor has any direct authority over a county level executive branch office.

        1. Yep. AZ County Sheriffs do not work for the Governor. Nor is a Governor’s ‘promise’ a law.

        2. Sheriff’s can be very powerful. They still answer to the law, voters, and Legislatures (impeachment).

          1. Correct. They are just not answerable directly to the Governor.

      2. Take off your tin-foil sombrero, OM.

        I live in LA and work in construction, about half the time. I not aware of any instance where a local, county, or state police officer has harassed someone for just looking Mexican. It’s preposterous. About half the cops are of mexican decent. Maybe it works a bit different over there in Arizona, but I doubt it.

        1. So you don’t even live in the state in question, let alone the county Arpaio was sheriff of, but you’re certain that your experience means none of this happened?

          1. I said I doubted it. Anyways, yankee, Arizona has always had a large mexican population. So no, mexicans are not being pulled over and harassed for look mexican in Arizona.

            1. But it sounds like a good story, which is what’s important.

    2. It’s also “the people’s law” that one must obey court orders.

      1. Citation please, giving one co-equal branch authority to dictate to another co-equal.

    3. Arpaio understood what it meant to be a Sheriff in AZ – it’s a Constitutional office with tremendous power and accountability largely limited to the ballot box. For better or worse he took that ball and ran with it.

      People are more pissed off that he got away with all the other stuff, so are willing to see him punished for an effectively trumped up offense manufactured wholly within the confines of a courtroom.

      Nation of laws my ass.

      He deserves a pardon, but only to send a message that politically motivated witch hunts should be made non-productive.

      1. There is no mention of sheriffs in the constitution.

        1. There is in the AZ Constitution. Though all that’s said is that counties shall appoint one.

          1. Elected not appointed.

          2. Guess I misunderstood based on the context of federal charges and talk of a nation of laws. Shrug.

        2. Look harder.

          1. Point it out to me in the US constitution, please.

      2. Yes, that’s the message that will be sent.

      3. He was warned for years to please stop his racial profiling while it the legality of it was under investigation. This is a normal thing. He continued to do so and was eventually held in contempt.

        Do you consider ignoring the constitutional authority of the court system for years at a time to be a fake charge? If not, what do you consider a mechanism to prevent the sheriff’s department from enforcing laws however they choose?

        1. So courts trump other branches of government simply because they are willing to declare an “investigation” is ongoing?

          That’s not what the AZ Constitution states.

          1. Courts can hold government officials accountable for violating laws and the Constitution (of the United States, and/or Arizona). Arpaio repeatedly violated the law, and refused to stop. He is one of the worst examples of systemic police abuse in recent history. The only legitimate gripe he has is that he didn’t get a jury trial, a product of a dumb SCOTUS ruling in the 70s that said they weren’t a right if the punishment was less than six months in prison.

          2. Certainly the Judiciary has a lot of power over law. This is part of the checks and balances discussed oftentimes.

            And this was a federal judge, so I am not sure the relevancy of the AZ constitution there. But I digress. You did not answer either of my questions. But I answered your question. So please, have the decency now to answer mine.

        2. Define “racial profiling” iin sufficient precision to eliminate ambiguity.

          Please cite the constitutional authority for a judge to issue orders to a mamber of a co-equal branch,

          You ask for a mechanism? How about the voting booth? Arpaio was defeated via that mechanism.

          Spout some more drivel, please.

  13. Jeff Sessions has been an opponent of clemency for nearly two decades. Will he make an exception for Sheriff Joe?

    Well, he may have a special place in his heart for a fellow authoritarian who harassed American citizens whose only crime is looking like the Frito Bandito.

    1. I only ever saw, like, one guy who looked like the Frito Bandito and I’m pretty sure it was Raul Grijalva.

      1. Everyone of Mexican descent looks like Frito Bandito to him. They all look alike after all.

  14. Arpaio is a shameless thug and torturer who is celebrated by Trump and his base precisely for his excessive brutality towards mostly non-violent people. He should be in prison for that but obviously the justice system is completely allergic to holding law enforcement accountable for their crimes.

    And to make a bad situation worse Trump now defiles the clemency power to curry favor with the Fox News crowd. It’s a disgrace.

    1. “It’s a disgrace.” So is your TDS.

      1. It’s not derangement when the president actually is a fucking insane, unstable man-toddler and wannabe tinpot fucktard.

        1. Its okay Tony, Obama has left office. The fucking insane unstable man-toddler and wannabe tinpot fucktard is no longer President.

          1. I would love to be able to view Trump through the eyes of one of his supporters. I mean this honestly. Because I just don’t get how someone looks at him, with his horrific personality, child like narcissism, and lack of personal control and think he’s someone to defend, or god forbid, support.

            1. You’ll have to ask a supporter. I voted for Gay Jay and Bill “loves Hillary” Weld.

              I can tell you that I counter the lunacy that is lefty claims against Trump because, well, the claims are insane and have zero support.

              Nothing worse than non-Trump-supporting Libertarians messing up your lefty pity party?

              1. I think that you’ve redefined lefty to mean “everyone not me”.

                1. There are plenty of non-lefties. Libertarians are not lefties. Republicans are not lefties.

                  You are a lefty. A socialist loving, mass murder advocating, Liberty squashing lefty.

                  1. “You are a lefty. A socialist loving, mass murder advocating, Liberty squashing lefty.”

                    Come on now. What about my favorite claims to fame: flag burning, baby killing, and Jesus hating. Or are those to 90’s for you?

              2. I can tell you that I counter the lunacy that is lefty claims against Trump because, well, the claims are insane and have zero support.

                Things like arguing that people quitting Trump’s manufacturing counsel was all just part of Trump’s 3D chess to shrink the size of government goes well beyond “countering the lunacy of lefty claims against Trump” and well into making your own lunatic claims about Trump.

            2. What exactly is a “supporter”? (Of anyone for that matter.) Is there an official definition? What criteria is used to determine if a person is a “supporter” of someone else?

              1. What criteria is used to determine if a person is a “supporter” of someone else?

                MAGA hats?
                Voting for him?

            3. It can only be the case that they don’t actually watch any news.

  15. “convicted of felony contempt of court”

    You may want to consult some experts on this one, because as I understand it, Arpaio was convicted without a jury, on the legal theory that his contempt was only a “petty crime” and not a felony. Hence the six-month cap on sentencing.

    If he was convicted of a felony without a jury trial that’s a good argument for a pardon, wouldn’t you think?

    1. The article said: “[t]he sentencing phase will begin Oct. 5. Arpaio, 85, faces up to six months in confinement, a sentence equivalent to that of a misdemeanor.” I’m not sure where Mike got “felony contempt of court” from.

    2. The whole purpose of bringing a misdemeanor charge was to prevent him from demanding a jury trial.
      Kangaroo court.

  16. … have we seen any evidence that Sessions actually has principles? If not, why would you expect him to care?

  17. “President Donald Trump did not pardon former Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio at his Arizona rally on Tuesday, but CNN reports that the paperwork and accompanying talking points are ready.”
    No sense verifying that CNN is NOT lying.

    So everyone flipping out about Arpaio potentially being pardoned by Trump (Presidential prerogative and all) were naturally upset that Obama pardoned people and Boooosh pardoned people.

    Oh, wait Arpaio was anti-open borders so Reason has to bash the guy.

    Arpaio was convicted of contempt of court. Who on here has zero contempt of courts? I know I have contempt for courts.

    1. And it was a bench trial with a judge deciding his guilt. No surprise there that a guilty verdict was returned.

    2. So everyone flipping out about Arpaio potentially being pardoned by Trump (Presidential prerogative and all) were naturally upset that Obama pardoned people and Boooosh pardoned people.

      I don’t think anyone is claiming that no one should ever be pardoned.

      1. Arpaio is a federal criminal. Obama pardoned federal criminal at his discretion.

        Funniest thing is Trump has not said that he would pardon Arpaio.

        Arpaio is 85 years old. He should do his time and appeal the conviction. When he dies, his conviction will be vacated. *Poof* Arpaio has no conviction for contempt.

        1. Arpaio is a federal criminal. Obama pardoned federal criminal at his discretion.

          Do you consider that a rebuttal to Zed’s statement that, “I don’t think anyone is claiming no one should ever be pardoned”?

          1. Do I need to rebut that? He could have looked on the internet for that like I did. But yes, there are people who are advocating no pardons.
            People who don’t want any pardons

            Presidents get to pardon as enumerated in the Constitution. Zeb has yet to make an argument as to why Arpaio should NOT be pardoned at the discretion of a president.

            1. Holy fuck, dude, do you really think I was claiming that no one anywhere has ever said that no one should be pardoned?

    3. “Oh, wait Arpaio was anti-open borders so Reason has to bash the guy.”

      Sure, I mean, if your definition of “anti-open borders” includes “detaining American citizens with no probable cause because they don’t have their proof of citizenship on them”.

      If that shit happened to you then you’d be ready to refresh the Tree of Liberty with blood, but as long as it’s happening to someone else it’s a-ok. Hypocrite.

      1. Were the cops stopping people when they had probable cause?

        Yes: Then investigating about legal US status is perfectly fine. Entering the USA is a federal crime and can be investigated by police if their is probable cause.

        No: Then that cop should be fired for violating the constitution.

        It is NOT against the constitution for police to ask about legal residency status. It is unconstitutional to have border checkpoints 100 miles inland from US borders and detain people without probable cause.

        1. So you’d be fine with the cops pulling people over for whatever reason they felt like having and asking about their citizenship? And taking them to jail if they didn’t have documentation, even though they’re actually American citizens?

          Is this policy ok only in Phoenix? How about Omaha? Amarillo? Akron? Augusta, Maine?

          It’s bullshit. Remember, Arpaio was also found to have used the assets of his office to investigate his political opponents. A County Attorney who helped him do that got thrown out of office over that stunt. Crazy Joe is one of those self identified Strict Constitutionalists who is fine with shitting all over the Constitution when it suits his purposes. As is Sessions, for that matter, but that’s a discussion for another day.

          1. Once again genius- police need probable cause to stop a vehicle.

            I have been stopped many times walking without ID and I told the cop that I was an American. There is no probable cause for the cop to prove otherwise, so I was let go.

            Nothing quicker for getting out of a police investigation than advocating your constitutional rights and standing up for yourself in perfect American English.

            You know who don’t do that? Illegals.

            1. “Once again genius- police need probable cause to stop a vehicle”

              You’ve never heard of a pretext stop, have you?

              “Nothing quicker for getting out of a police investigation than advocating your constitutional rights and standing up for yourself in perfect American English….You know who don’t do that? Illegals.”

              “Perfect American English” followed closely by “You know who don’t do that?” is just too damned ironic to fathom. American citizens with poor English skills also fail to do that, but since the individuals in this case are Hispanics you don’t give a shit about their rights under the Constitution, do you Heinrich?

              1. There is no such thing legally as a pre-text stop.

                You mean unconstitutional stops? Illegal and unconstitutional, believe it or not.

                I guess you were not in the bad English/perfect American English joking mood. Shame. That was really all you could have going for you since your argument is so bad.

              2. Those American citizens Arpaio and his goons harassed purely on the basis on their skin color should be proud to be the eggs that must be broken to make the omelette of FREEDOM!

                The “1789” in his handle presumably refers to his opposition to those later amendments of the constitution that protected the rights of non-whites.

  18. Firstly, fuck policy. That may be my most hated word. Secondly, Oh, now Reason looks ts Sessions to exercise those same qualities they condemn him for. WTF! Sessions probably wears custom fitted jack boots which Reason appears to support when those boots come down on the right neck.

    And what does the Rich pardon have to do with the proposed Arpaio one. Did I miss some relevant connection aside from the likelihood that it would be politicized. The “campaign surrogate” angle is weak shit.

    “Just a month ago, Sessions said he was committed to holding law-breaking cops accountable.” Unless of course they are shaking down motorists for forfeiture. Will someone please replenish the meds in the company water cooler….and make sure Shikha swallows hers.

    “The sentence he’s most likely to receive is not excessively long.” When one is 85 years-old, the jail in-processing time would be excessive.

    Trump might just get off on sticking it to Sessions after his recusal bullshit.

    1. Firstly, I LOVE JURY NULLIFICATION!

      Secondly, I LOVE FIJA!

      Thirdly, I HATE FAUX LIBERTARIANS like most of the Reason scribes now a days.

      1. Amen. the cases was brought as a misdemeanor for the sole purpose of preventing Joe from getting a jury trial.

  19. We need more pardons, not fewer.

    And if Arpaio’s crime was a “felony,” and he was denied a jury trial (as he was), then a pardon is the way to remedy the situation without him blowing a was on appeals which might not work.

    1. blowing a wad

      Or are we applying the Bad Person Exception to the Constitution to justify ignoring issues like these?

    2. The article said “[t]he sentencing phase will begin Oct. 5. Arpaio, 85, faces up to six months in confinement, a sentence equivalent to that of a misdemeanor.” I’m not sure where Mike got “felony” from.

      1. “Felony” sounds more dramatic.

  20. Well this post certainly brought out a certain crowd.

    It is odd to see Arpaio being considered for a pardon, which can be considered a form of … amnesty. I thought this was all about “the law’s the law, we have to enforce it, no clemency for the rulebreakers” but apparently that doesn’t apply to Sheriffs who routinely violate Constitutional rights and court orders.

    1. Begs the question – has he been properly adjudicated a rulebreaker? If it’s a felony, then no, he hasn’t been properly adjudicated because there was no jury.

      And if you want to get technical, the Sixth Amendment guarantees jury trials in *all* criminal prosecutions.

      1. Has he appealed his conviction on those grounds?

        1. He’s trying.

          If he’s right, though, and if Trump agrees, what’s the reason for waiting for an appeal which may not work

          Because no matter how serious the crime in reality, if there was just a six month sentence or less the courts tend to assume the crime is petty – because if it *wasn’t* petty the sentence would have been more, duh!

          And the courts won’t even be bothered with “all means all arguments.”

          1. (Thomas Jefferson pardoned the Sedition Act defendants even though, IIRC, the sitting justices of the Supreme Court all declared the Act to be constitutional)

            1. In the mainstream media (not this distinguished site of course) the debate is over whether Arpaio is a Good Person who should be pardoned or a Bad Person who should be behind bars.

              1. This observer records the events more like a spectator at a dogfight. In this corner, bearing the Cross of Ku-Klux Lutheran Prohibitionism, Deputy Dawg of God’s Own Party. In this other corner, wrapped in the Turin Shroud of Jesus and crowned with the Cross of Gold of Communist Martyrs of the Inquisition, the yaller dawg of Enemy Alienism. The best mixed-economy Roman Holiday is the one where the winner survives ten minutes longer than the loser.

            2. And that’s a power the president has. No one is saying that pardoning Arpaio would be unconstitutional or illegal.

              There is no contradiction in commending Jefferson for pardoning people for violating the sedition act and criticizing Trump for pardoning Arpaio. There may be reasonable disagreements about either, but no one is obliged to support or oppose all pardons. It’s something where the president explicitly has discretion. Whether or not the use of that discretion is reasonable is up for debate.

              1. “no one is obliged to support or oppose all pardons”

                certainly didn’t intend to suggest all pardons of any kind need to be supported, I must have some sucky communications skills if I came off as suggesting that.

              2. These people are saying there should be no pardons.
                People saying there should be no pardons

            3. That Jefferson, with his quaint notions about folks having “rights.” But Jefferson did enumerate abuses from abroad in the Declaration. Imagine his disappointment on discovering that many of his own countrymen were as asinine and priggish as the Brits. Lucklily for Tom, Arizona was still Mexican and Indian territory in his day.

      2. Let’s not pretend 99% of the people wanting Arpaio pardoned give a shit about the jury trial angle. I would be shocked if Trump could even tell you what the Sixth Amendment was about. And if he’s pardoning Arpaio on those grounds, then everyone else convicted via bench trial should be pardoned as well. But for some reason, I don’t think Trump or Arpaio’s supporters give a shit about that.

        1. Maybe they don’t, but some guys wigs did.

          1. And it amuses me to speculate about Trump turning into Rand Paul overnight…it’s not a realistic fantasy, but are you all going to tell me that *all* your fun fantasies are realistic?

            1. Trump is not Rand Paul and Rand Paul is no Libertarian.

        2. Arpaio lasted as long as hed did doing the sorts of things he did because a. He understood his standing within the AZ law, b. he understood other aspects of AZ law very well, and c. he was a tremendously good reta

          1. retail politician.

          2. It might shock you, but police officials in this country are subject to a higher law than Arizona law, it’s called the United States Constitution.

            1. It might shock you but courts are an equal branch of government.

              Not Black Robes delivering your preferred outcome from On High.

              1. I never said they were. But they can hold Arpaio accountable for his violations of law and the Constitution. There are only two things unfair about the situation:

                1. That Arpaio got away with it as long as he did
                2. That he didn’t get a jury trial. He’s a scumbag, but the exception to the Sixth Amendment SCOTUS created in the 70s was a dumb mistake.

                1. “I never said they were.”

                  Yes, you never said they were. And as to the US Constitution I – Likewise never said he wasn’t subject to it. So now can we stop your stupid game of trying to shove words in other people’s throats?

                  He never got a jury trial because he never gave them the opportunity for one. What he did he got away with because he knew the law and knew could get away with it.

                  I know that fact burns deep in your soul, but you really need to let it go.

                  Look, we can have a discussion about last night’s baseball game. And there are two ways to discuss it.

                  1. As it was played according to the existing rules of the game.
                  or
                  2. As you would like the game to be played.

                  The problem we have here is too many people want to try option 1. But don’t have a fucking clue about how the rules actually work in AZ.

                  The courts could never get around to declaring what he was doing was illegal, so they got him for not ceasing to do what he wasn’t illegally doing when they unlawfully told him he needed to stop doing it.

                  1. don’t have a fucking clue about how the rules actually work in AZ.

                    Why is that relevant to a federal court decision?

                    1. It’s a Special Administrative Zona.

                      Duh.

                  2. “played according to the existing rules of the game”

                    I wonder how the SIxth Amendment became irrelevant to the rules of the game?

                  3. I think I understood that, but not sure.

        3. And let’s not pretend that 99% of the people wanting Arpaio to NOT be pardoned give a shit about justice or fair jury trial requirements or anything besides hating an anti-open borders guy.

          I personally think Arpaio is a shitheal. Funny though, Arizona voters kept re-electing the guy and he was never convicted of corruption or any actual criminal conduct, just not doing what a court order says.

          Courts constantly reverse convictions of corrupt politicians and politicians are constantly pardoning these shitheals.

          I just despise the hypocrisy. Lock all corrupt politicians up or let them all have a chance to be pardoned.

          1. *shitheel that is.

    2. Nice strawman you’ve chosen to beat on.

      Like we’ve all spent years arguing against jury nullification too.

      1. Arpaio’s defenders have used such arguments to push hardline policies against illegal immigrants, yet they now demand their guy not be held to the same standard. It’s blatant hypocrisy.

        I don’t see what jury nullification has to do with any of this. Libertarians never pushed the narrative Arpaio and his friends did.

        1. Of course you don’t see nullification having anything to do with this, because it might tend to refute your silly attempt to broadbrush accuse other people of hypocrisy – “the law’s the law, we have to enforce it, no clemency for the rulebreakers”

        2. Arpaio is NOT an illegal, so of course different standards.

          Arpaio is entitled to a jury trial but judges don’t want to have to wait for a jury to potentially nullify their decision.

          1. These fuckfaces have idiots like you actually thinking that not having a green card is the worst crime ever, renders a person an undesirable for life, and prevents the constitution from applying to them.

            But it’s not about race. You’re on top of the great Canadian menace too, no doubt.

            1. Not being a citizen or legal resident in the USA is a crime. Fuckfaces like you actually think corruption should reign as long as you like the issue. In this case open-borders.

              Luckily, Trump won and is remedying that illegal immigrant situation as we speak.

              Thanks for the lovely chat Tony.

              1. Is he now? How is that, precisely? And what is the problem in the first place, precisely?

  21. We need an open borders policy. And, this should include a “get out of your citizenship free” policy.

    1. We need a secure border policy and is currently a renounce your citizenship policy.

    2. Hello rape apologist.

  22. Just to repeat…if Arpaio’s offense if “petty” in nature – a small-scale offense like dealing in secondhand goods without a license – then it can’t be a Threat to the Constitution and wouldn’t justify all the hyperventilating.

    If the crime is more serious, like a “felony” as the article suggests – then of course there should have been a jury trial prior to conviction.

    So…is this a petty offense like littering or a noise violation…or a felony threat to the Constitution justifying a jury trial?

    1. But, the 6th amendment provides, “[i]n ALL criminal prosecutions ….”

      The words are absolute, not subject to revision by any public sector actor, including the Supreme Court. Thus, the process has been void ab initio and any citation to Supreme Court precedent to the contrary in support of the prosecution of this truly wretched parasite is treason and any public sector actor relying upon the same should be hung – after a trial by jury, of course.

      1. Longstanding case law holds that contempt isn’t a criminal prosecution under the 6th amendment. So what you’re saying is that more than a century of judges deciding this question should defer to your infinite wisdom.

        1. …which is something that Tony never, ever does! EVER! Because he’s not a hypocrite! And he’s humble like that!

        2. Citation Tony. Provide that old case law.

          1. I’m just relying upon the text and it says here that the text is paramount – not judicial departures from the text.

            1. And the precedents go all over the map.

          2. The contention of these parties is that they were entitled to a trial by jury on the question as to whether they were guilty or not guilty of the contempt charged upon them; and, because they did not have this trial by jury, they say that they were deprived of their liberty without due process of law, within the meaning of the fourteenth amendment to the constitution of the United States. If it has ever been understood that proceedings according to the common law for contempt of court have been subject to the right of trial by jury, we have been unable to find any instance of it. It has always been one of the attributes — one of the powers necessarily incident to a court of justice — that it should have this power of vindicating its dignity, of enforcing its orders, of protecting itself from insult, without the necessity of calling upon a jury to assist it in the exercise of this power.

            Eilenbecker v. District Court of Plymouth County, 134 U.S. 31, 36 (1890) (emphasis added). Would you like any more boots up your ass?

            1. Does the 6th amendment provide a contempt of court exception?

              1. Does it provide an exception to long-standing law that apply only to racist tyrants like Joe Arpaio?

                1. No, nor does it for a nihilistic BLM negro.

                  Tony, just where in the constitution does one find a grant of power given to the judiciary to incarcerate people, without a trial, because the court’s “dignity was offended” or because the court was “insulted”?

                  Do you not understand that the vast majority of us here DESPISE Arpaio?

                  I would defend O.J., Obama, Eric Holder, Alcee Hastings, Angela Davis, Floyd “Mo and Mo and Mo Money” Mayweather, Sonny Liston, Rae Carruth, and Joe and shriek if any of them were held in contempt and incarcerated without a jury trial.

                  1. I’m not defending the precedent just noting that it is one. You don’t change constitutional case law by wishing.

        3. Right, Tony. That would be about the time the constitutional bastardization was building momentum through the men in black robes. Kneel before your masters.

          1. What do you propose to do about the reality of judicial review other than bitch?

  23. Most of us, shit, no, all of us, lack the temperament to be a good libertarian judge.

    Just look at the comments.

    Yes, most of us here loathe Arpaio. Nevertheless, the thug did not get a jury trial. That he has urinated on the rights of countless individuals does not mean that a federal judge can piss on our legs and say it is raining.

    1. Most of us, shit, no, all of us, lack the temperament to be a good libertarian judge.

      Wrong – true libertarians can judge others.

      That he has urinated on the rights of countless individuals does not mean that a federal judge can piss on our legs and say it is raining.

      It’s more than just a federal judge – he is being fucked over by the justice system as a whole, which is some sweet karma. Then again it’s not like he is in prison, so it’s not that sweet.

      1. Everyone talks about the abuse of the term “social justice.”

        What about “poetic justice?” That’s not justice at all.

        1. No, and it won’t be in this case anyway, because he is almost certainly going to be pardoned.

  24. Arpaio is notorious for acting above the law in order to humiliate and torture humans based on race, gets slapped on the wrist for continuing to defy the law, probably gets pardoned by fuckwit president. Obviously Arpaio is the real victim in all of this.

    1. We agree that the ends here, i.e., holding Arpaio to account for his long train of abuses, are laudable ends.

      Me, I’m with Solzhenitsyn (“the higher the ends, the higher must be the means”).

      You? You’re with the people that put in him in the gulag.

      1. So the problem is his being treated the same as everyone else in his circumstance for a hundred years?

        I’d say the ball on which our eyes should be kept might be the lunatic president exercising fiat powers to let this psycho off the hook for the specific reason that he’s his kind of racist.

  25. We part company on this. I fail to see how the judicial branch can claim supremacy over the executive. This is a kangaroo court proceeding, brought as a misdemeanor so as to prevent Joe from demanding a jury trial.

    It stinks.

  26. What we are looking at is Herbert Hoover/Harry Anslinger immigration and prohibition policies. Go to the Chicago Tribune and search “dry killer” and you’ll see the same superstitious redneck enforcement of shoot-first xenophobia. It is perpetuated by people who throw away their votes on DemoGOP cronies instead of casting law-changing spoiler votes. Thomas Jefferson complained of these very things and HL Mencken translated that Declaration of Independence into modern English. Memorable: “When the soldiers kill a man, framing it up so that they would get off.”
    Also: “In countries that border on us, he put in bum governments, and then tried to spread them out, so that by and by they would take in this country too, or make our own government as bum as they was.”

  27. The President’s Power of the Pardon is absolute, and unreviewable.
    He can issue a pardon for any reason, or for no reason.
    I’d like to think that Sheriff Joe had a firm reason to hold that court in contempt – seeing as how the Obama Justice Department was out to get his scalp to hang on their lodge-pole in any way they could.

  28. Stupid article, Trump will pardon or not without Sessions opinion.

  29. Depends whether you think Arpaio was a victim of judicial authoritarianism, or an actual criminal.

    But I would go further, as would many on the Right.

    The Left has engaged in judicial authoritarianism for a century.
    Half the Obama administration should be in prison today. They aren’t.
    One way rule of law is subjection.

    Should the Right do the same? Flout the law for their team? Maybe.

    Tit for tat works, abiding by ceasefires that the enemy relentlessly violates does not.

  30. The relevant question is whether pardoning Joe would give Trump Maricopa County in 2020. Given Joe’s proclivity at getting reelected, id say yes.

  31. The OPA guidelines you’ve cited have nothing to do with the law or the Constitution. They are a series of political policies. To suggest it is improper to fail to observe previous administrations’ political policies while exercising a constitutional power is neither accurate not logical. What is “considered fundamental” for clemency is that the offense in question must be against the United States and that it cannot be impeachment. Further, we have no way of knowing that the AG hasn’t stated his opposition to the pardon, but even if he had, there is no reason for him not to process what is a legally and constitutionally proper request, if the President tells him to do so. The decision to pardon Arpaio or not is, for better or worse, largely a political decision.

    One might almost think your stance on open borders and/or animosity towards a proponent of confiscation is blinding you to “reason.”

  32. Sheriff Joe didn’t commit a major crime, he ignored an illegal order by a judge not to enforce the law.

  33. Not complying with court orders, destroying evidence is no longer a crime. Hilary’s server, IRS targeting, e-mails regarding classified info. All ignored, essentially a pardon.

    Maybe Aesop was right. “We hang the petty thieves and appoint the great ones to office”

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