Judge Won’t Throw Out Arpaio’s Conviction After Trump Pardon

Judge Susan Bolton will not throw out Joe Arpaio’s racial profiling related conviction immediately because by accepting Trump’s pardon Arpaio admitted his guilt.

The Arizona Republic reported, “Bolton on Tuesday stopped short of throwing out the conviction based solely on Arpaio’s request. Instead she ordered Arpaio and the U.S. Department of Justice, which is prosecuting the case, to file briefs on why she should or shouldn’t grant Arpaio’s request.”

Trump tried to use Hurricane Harvey to distract the country from his pardon of Arpaio, which backfired on him immediately as the President that more national attention is on him during a natural disaster, not less. It turns out that Trump’s pardon will almost certainly keep the racist former sheriff out of prison, but it may not remove the conviction from his record because the legal acceptance of a pardon is an admission of guilt.

If Arpaio is admitting that he is guilty how can a judge overturn his conviction? That’s the question that will be at the center of his October hearing. If Trump had pardoned Arpaio after he was sentenced, the punishment would have been mitigated, but by pardoning him before sentencing, Trump may have only made things more complicated.

None of this matters to the President, whose sole motivation for the pardon was to pander to his base, but Trump may end up having taking a political beating, and Joe Arpaio could remain convicted of a crime.