In Arizona, Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio has been a controversial public official for quite some time. The fact that he’s endorsing Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump is the least of his public worries. On Tuesday, Arpaio was criminally charged with contempt-of-court on the grounds that he ignored an order previously given to him by a judge regarding a case involving racial profiling.
The contempt-of-court charge is only a misdemeanor charge which means Arpaio can still serve as a sheriff, even if he gets convicted. This charge also comes at a bad time for Arpaio because he’s up for reelection to seek out a 7th term as sheriff of Maricopa County. If he is reelected on November 8th and then later convicted, he would technically still be able to retain his sheriff title. However, the misdemeanor charge could get him up to 6 months in jail if he is convicted. So, if he does go to jail, he obviously won’t be able to perform his sheriff duties at that point.
Three years ago, Arpaio had to go to court over a case where he was accused of racially profiling Latinos as suspected immigrants. When he lost the case, the judge ordered him to stop his immigration patrols or else he’d be found in contempt of court. Well, Arpaio allegedly continued the immigration patrols which is what led him into this misdemeanor charge.
A political television ad was run by Arpaio last week where he accused President Obama’s Justice Department of planning to have him prosecuted because they don’t like his immigration enforcement tactics. U.S. District Judge Murray Snow created a system funded by taxpayers which compensates all the Latinos who had been detained illegally during the time when Arpaio was ordered not to detain them.