RECOMMEND VACATING CONVICTION AFTER PRESIDENTIAL PARDON
by Sharon Rondeau
(Sep. 21, 2017) — Three attorneys and the acting chief of the U.S. Justice Department’s Public Integrity Section have filed a brief in response to a federal judge’s request prior to an October 4 hearing concerning the criminal conviction of former Maricopa County Sheriff Joseph M. Arpaio.
The 85-year-old former six-term sheriff received a presidential pardon on August 25 which precludes sentencing from taking place. However, U.S. District Court Judge Susan R. Bolton scheduled the October 4 hearing to determine whether or not the conviction, which she alone decided to impose, should remain on Arpaio’s record or be vacated, as Arpaio’s attorneys have requested.
“Because Defendant will never have the benefit or opportunity to seek a reversal of the court’s verdict through appeal (and a re-trial by jury), it is only fair that the Court vacate its verdict and all other rulings in the case,” Arpaio’s attorneys wrote in a brief dated August 28, 2017.
One of Arpaio’s attorneys, Mark Goldman of Goldman & Zwillinger, opined that Bolton did not properly convey the verdict to Arpaio “in open court,” which Goldman said involved “violating his constitutional rights to a public trial and to participate in his trial.”
Bolton presented two questions to the Justice Department which she is considering in relation to the October 4 hearing:
While the government had chosen last year to prosecute Arpaio on the misdemeanor criminal contempt charge stemming from a racial-profiling case, its attorneys wrote in their Supplemental Response that “federal appellate decisions from the D.C. Circuit and the Ninth Circuit support vacatur of the Court’s verdict and dismissal of the case because the presidential pardon has mooted the case prior to completion of direct appellate review.”
The Justice attorneys’ conclusion reads: