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DOJ: No Precedent For Joe Arpaio Pardon, But Conviction Should Be Dismissed

The federal government is doubling down on its motion to throw out former Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio’s criminal conviction.

Federal prosecutors worked for years to win a criminal conviction against Arpaio for knowingly disobeying a judge’s order to stop enforcing immigration law.

Enter Donald Trump.

The president granted the former sheriff a pardon in August for the conviction and for any other offenses that may arise in the Melendres v. Arpaio case.

In light of the pardon, the Department of Justice asked Judge Susan Bolton to vacate the conviction.

Bolton asked federal prosecutors to explain their motion. On Thursday the government responded, saying while there is no precedent for a pardon issued before sentencing, it would still be appropriate to vacate the conviction.

The government wrote in its response that such an action would not expunge the conviction from Arpaio’s record.

Bolton is scheduled to hear oral arguments in the case Oct. 4.

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Jimmy Jenkins is a senior field correspondent at KJZZ and a contributor to NPR’s Election 2020 and Criminal Justice station collaborations. His work has been featured on Morning Edition, All Things Considered, Marketplace, Here and Now, The Takeaway and NPR Newscasts.Originally from Terre Haute, Indiana, Jenkins has a B.S. in criminology from Indiana State University and a master’s degree in journalism from Indiana University.Much of his reporting has focused on the criminal justice system. Jenkins has reported on Tasers, body cameras, use of force, jail privatization, prison health care and the criminal contempt trial of former Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio.