Jim Larkin and Michael Lacey recently learned about the pardon of Sheriff Joe Arpaio. This news was upsetting to both men, and they are now taking their voices to the nation to try to get some kind of justice for the actions of Arpaio. Both men have fought and will continue to fight for the rights of immigrants who are only trying to live a normal life in the country.
Most presidents don’t use the powers that they have to pardon an individual until they are almost to the end of the term or until they have at least been in the White House for a long period of time. President Donald Trump hasn’t been in office a year yet, and he has already pardoned Joe Arpaio. There aren’t many things about President Trump that have made sense or that have followed a typical term in office. The sentencing for Arpaio was supposed to take place on October 5, but President Trump offered his pardon before that date arrived. Since he has been pardoned, he is basically a free man even though there has been a significant amount of evidence against him.
The pardon by Trump was granted in August. However, he did offer a few subtle hints before he made his decision a few weeks earlier when he was in Arizona for a campaign rally. Arpaio lost the bid for sheriff. The people who live in Phoenix have spoken, and they aren’t happy about Arpaio being released from prison. Officials with the White House, including Trump, have done nothing but offer praise and admiration for Arpaio. He is a man who is being praised because he has tried to keep immigrants out of the country and has tried to punish immigrants who are caught here illegally.
There are people, such as Larkin and Lacey, who are opposing the pardon. They claim that Trump did not get approval by the Justice Department before he offered the pardon. However, just because presidents do usually let the Justice Department know of their intent about a pardon, it’s not a requirement that to get approval. The Justice Department seems to be on the side of Trump as members have offered their support and are defending what he did in Phoenix regarding Arpaio.
Arpaio was sheriff for 24 years before being arrested and put in prison. He called himself “America’s Toughest Sheriff.” In 2011, Arpaio was charged with racial profiling. U.S. District Judge G. Murray Snow gave an order to Arpaio and other members of the police force to stop targeting immigrants. For 18 months, Arpaio and his followers continued to do as they wanted and targeted immigrants. They admitted to what they were doing, making it easier for Arpaio to be charged with going against the court order. The officers and Arpaio claimed that they didn’t understand the terms stated in the order. In May 2013, Arpaio was charged with contempt after the judge ruled that he wasn’t following the order set forth. District Judge Susan Bolton declared in July of 2017 that Arpaio did violate the order and arranged for him to be sentenced.
Arpaio tried to run for sheriff at the age of 85 only a few weeks after he had been charged. He lost the bid and faced at least six months in jail if he was convicted. President Trump stepped in before Arpaio could be sentenced and ordered that he wouldn’t have to face the evidence against him by offering the pardon. Arpaio has offered his support for Trump before he entered the White House. Arpaio is known for talking about Barack Obama and where he was born, which is what took him into the spotlight of the rest of the nation.
Larkin and Lacey are only two of the men who are outraged about Arpaio’s pardon because they spent time in jail because of the sheriff’s actions. Deputies arrived at the homes of the two men in unmarked vehicles on October 18, 2007. The vehicles had license plates from Mexico, and the men who entered the homes of Larkin and Lacey weren’t dressed as typical officers. They were arrested and taken to two different jails, each operated by Arpaio. The reason behind the arrests of Larkin and Lacey was because of an article that they wrote for a local newspaper. The two men outed the sheriff’s department for getting grand jury subpoenas so that the officers could have the details about the employees of the newspaper.
People across the United States demanded that Larkin and Lacey be released. They were out of jail in less than 24 hours and back to writing about what they knew best and getting support for the immigrants they help. They were awarded a $3.7 million settlement. Money from the settlement is now being used to help immigrants and their families.