Arpaio Found Guilty; Will He Ever Do Jail Time?

Now that a federal judge in Phoenix, Arizona has found former Maricopa County Sheriff, Joe Arpaio, guilty of criminal contempt of court, the big question everyone is asking is will the 85 year old former “Toughest Sheriff in America” every see a jail cell.

The short answer is ‘no.’


Before we get to that, let’s talk about the charge for which Arpaio was convicted.

Criminal contempt of court requires a few things to be proven by prosecutors:

  • A valid court order existed
  • The defendant knew of the order
  • The defendant willfully violated it

In this case, a federal judge ordered that Arpaio and the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office stop stopping motorists solely because of racial profiling and that he could not detain people without probable cause to believe that a crime was committed.


Arpaio has always run his mouth to the media. His own statements in interviews made clear that he was not going to change anything he was doing and, in so many words, that he was above the law. In handing down her written decision, Judge Susan Bolton crammed Arpaio’s words down his throat in support of the conviction.

Arpaio also tried to blame his subordinates and his lawyers for not communicating the order to him. This didn’t fly either as Judge Bolton characterized Arpaio’s disregard of the order as “flagrant” and “willful.”

Why Arpaio won’t go to jail:

  • He was convicted of a misdemeanor
  • He was no prior criminal record
  • He’s 85 years old
  • He’s 85 years old
  • He’s 85 years old (in case you missed it the first two times)

An Experienced Criminal Defense Attorney Makes a Big Difference!

While the evidence was stacked against Arpaio, having an experienced criminal defense attorney in Phoenix is critical if you are facing criminal contempt or other white collar charges in federal court. White collar cases are sophisticated and complex, often involving thousands of pages of evidence. With 25+ years of experience and a reputation as one of Phoenix’s most tenacious criminal defense attorneys, Jason Lamm has attained unparalleled results for clients charged in federal court with not only white collar crimes, but drug conspiracy charges as well.

Personal and confidential consultations can be scheduled by calling (602) 663-9100. If you or someone close to you is facing criminal charges in federal court, now is the time to get help. Don’t make the mistakes that Arpaio made.

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