Judge Bolton Should Let Someone Make the Argument Against Vacating Joe Arpaio's Conviction

Article/Op-Ed in Lawfare
Christopher Halloran / Shutterstock.com
Sept. 9, 2017

Joshua Geltzer wrote for the Lawfare blog on the upcoming hearing for Joe Arpaio's request to have his conviction for criminal contempt vacated:

On October 4, Judge Susan Bolton will hold a hearing to consider former Sheriff Joe Arpaio’s request that she vacate his conviction for criminal contempt now that President Trump has issued what many have described as a regrettable but valid pardon. This choice is to Judge Bolton’s credit: Instead of simply vacating his conviction, she’s wise to grapple with this unusual and perhaps unprecedented pardon. And, to help her do so, she should appoint an amicus curiae, a “friend of the court.” Without one, Judge Bolton will hear only one perspective: Arpaio, of course, wants to see his conviction wiped away; and his former prosecutors at the Justice Department – the same Justice Department whose Office of the Pardon Attorney formally issued Arpaio’s pardon – surely will no longer take a contrary view, despite at least one valiant plea to do otherwise. Our legal system thrives on adversarial argumentation, and Judge Bolton deserves to hear two sides of the argument, not just one, as she thinks through how to handle Arpaio’s circumstances.