Federal judge refuses to erase Arpaio's conviction from court records

By Ray Downs  |  Oct. 19, 2017 at 11:17 PM
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Oct. 19 (UPI) -- Former Maricopa County, Ariz., Sheriff Joe Arpaio received a pardon from President Donald Trump, but the judge who found him guilty of criminal contempt has refused to wipe evidence of his conviction off the record.

The presidential pardon assures that Arpaio is protected from prosecution, but his attorneys and the Justice Department had asked Judge Susan Ritchie Bolton to have her rulings vacated from the court.

Bolton denied the request.

"The power to pardon is an executive prerogative of mercy, not of judicial record keeping," she wrote in her ruling. "To vacate all rulings in this case would run afoul of this important distinction. The court found defendant guilty of criminal contempt.

"The pardon undoubtedly spared [Arpaio] from any punishment that might otherwise have been imposed. It did not, however, 'revise the historical facts' of this case."

Arpaio insists he will keep fighting to have the record of his conviction erased.

"It's not going to be dropped," the 85-year-old former sheriff told Capitol Media Services.

Arpaio attorney Jack Wilenchik said his client wants the conviction expunged because he was not entitled to a jury trial -- and if he had been, he believes Arpaio would have won.

Arpaio's team said it will appeal Bolton's ruling on grounds that she misstated facts in a previous presidential pardon case involving former President Bill Clinton, which she used as legal precedent for her ruling.

"We will challenge that order," Wilenchik said.

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