Lawyers Ask Federal Court To Invalidate Joe Arpaio's Pardon

Published: Wednesday, May 8, 2019 - 10:33am
Updated: Wednesday, May 8, 2019 - 10:41am
Alexandra Olgin/KJZZ
Joe Arpaio.

Arizona U.S. Reps. Raul Grijalva and Ruben Gallego are among a large group of Congressional members supporting a legal brief that asks a federal appeals court to invalidate former Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio's pardon.

But, attorneys filing the brief claim it's less about Arpaio than it is about the U.S. justice system.

The 9th U.S. Court of Appeals is currently considering whether to vacate Arpaio's conviction for criminal contempt of court.

Grijalva and Gallego are two of the 24 House Democrats who have argued the federal court must first determine whether the pardon was valid in the first place.

The "friend-of-the-court" brief contends that Arpaio's pardon violates the Constitution's separation of powers and, if upheld, would undermine the Judiciary and the Legislature's ability to enforce their orders.

"If a sheriff can flout the rules and not follow court orders, I think it's going to imperil our basic fundamental democracy and rule of law in America," said Phoenix constitutional law attorney Spencer Scharf, who is also co-counsel on the amicus brief filed this week.

The brief ultimately asks the appellate court send the case back to the trial court and proceed to sentencing Arpaio.

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