On July 31, 2017 former Sheriff of Maricopa County Joe Arpaio was found guilty of criminal contempt by Judge Susan R. Bolton, United States District Judge. According to Judge Bolton’s Order, the case arose from a finding of civil contempt by Judge G. Murray Snow. On August 19, 2016, Judge Snow referred Arpaio for an investigation of criminal contempt. Judge Snow previously issued a preliminary injunction preventing the detention of persons based upon the mere perception that they may be in the country illegally. The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals upheld Judge Snow’s preliminary injunction. After nearly a year of continuances, Judge Bolton held a five day bench trial, and on July 31, 2017 issued her Order finding former Sheriff Joe Arpaio guilty of criminal contempt, a misdemeanor. Judge Bolton, in her Order, found “The evidence at trial proves beyond a reasonable doubt and the Court finds that Judge Snow issued a clear and definite order enjoining Defendant from detaining persons for further investigation without reasonable suspicion that a crime has been or is being committed; that Defendant knew of the order; and that Defendant willfully violated the order by failing to do anything to ensure his subordinates’ compliance and by directing them to continue to detain persons for whom no criminal charges could be filed. Because the Court finds that Defendant willfully violated an order of the court, it finds Defendant guilty of criminal contempt.”
Sentencing is scheduled for October 5, 2017 before Judge Bolton.