What happened to the presumption of innocence? He was never charged or convicted for the entrapment conspiracy. The author linked to a story by John Dougherty, formerly with the Phoenix New Times, who covered Arpaio throughout his time as Sheriff. It’s no secret in Phoenix that Sheriff Arpaio viewed Dougherty and the New Times as “enemy number one” due to their continuous negative coverage of him during his reign. I have no opinion as to the credibility of John Dougherty’s coverage of Sheriff Arpaio but I’m not willing to cast judgement on a man based on allegations published in an editorial.
I agree with you that a Sheriff is accountable for the actions of his subordinates and, accordingly, Arpaio was the subject of a civil lawsuit for their misdeeds. However, his role as Sheriff of Maricopa County was far from ordinary.
In 1999, when the entrapment conspiracy occurred, the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office (MCSO) was one of the largest in the nation covering a jurisdiction of 9,226 square miles, which is roughly equivalent to the size of Maryland or Vermont. The MCSO concurrent jurisdiction also encompassed the city of Phoenix which, at the time, was our nation’s sixth largest city in population. In addition to the hundreds of sergeants, deputies and detectives, the MCSO also was responsible for the nation’s largest volunteer force of more than 60 “posses” with over 2,500 members.
In 1999, the DEA referred to Phoenix as “The City of Coke” due to the large presence of the Sinaloa Cartel. The violent “Crips”, “Bloods”, “Locos” and “Triad affiliated” Asian gangs were also reaping havoc in Phoenix during this period. Sheriff Arpaio, with his chain gangs and infamous “tent city” jail, was a ‘mean’ sheriff but in 1999 he enjoyed an 85 percent approval rating among voters in the county due to his reputation for being tough on crime.
Controversy seems to follow Arpaio but other than the various civil lawsuits his name has been attached to as the Sheriff of Maricopa County, his service record is unblemished. This includes his time in the Army during the Korean War, his record as a police officer in Washington DC and his 32 year service with the DEA where he retired as the head of Arizona’s DEA office.
In my opinion, Mr. Arpaio should be granted the presumption of innocence for the charges alleged by the author. He has been convicted of contempt for violating the order of a federal Judge. He did not refuse the federal order for personal gain. Instead, his motivations were based on his principles as the chief law enforcement officer for the residents of Maricopa County, who he swore a solemn oath to protect.
Prior Presidents have granted pardons and commuted the sentences for individuals convicted of far more serious offenses without the media fanfare or controversy that is being directed at President Trump for his consideration of a pardon for Joe Arpaio’s conviction for contempt. Considering that both men are hated enemies of the left, this was expected.