Prosecutor: Joe Arpaio should not be allowed to erase court record

Posted at 10:33 AM, Sep 21, 2017
and last updated 2017-09-21 19:20:10-04

Federal prosecutors now say former Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio should have his criminal case dismissed, but he should not be allowed to erase or seal the court record entirely.

Prosecutors from the U.S. Justice Department filed their opinion in federal court Thursday. It was the most detailed explanation they have provided on the legal issues behind Arpaio's presidential pardon. Arpaio was pardoned by President Donald Trump in August, just weeks after being convicted of misdemeanor contempt of court.

Both prosecutors and defense attorneys agree that the criminal conviction should be vacated and the case dismissed against the 85-year-old former lawman. However, prosecutors argue the "presidential pardon does not require the alteration, destruction, erasure, expungement, or sealing of the record in this case."

A hearing on the pardon's legal issues is set for October 4, one day prior to the day Arpaio was supposed to be sentenced. 

He was charged with misdemeanor contempt of court while he was still sheriff in October 2016.  He lost re-election in November. 

The criminal charge stems from his actions after a 2011 court order in the Melendres civil rights case.