- - Wednesday, August 16, 2017

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

President Trump is “seriously considering” pardoning Joe Arpaio, the Arizona sheriff who was convicted July 31 of misdemeanor contempt of court for ignoring a judge’s order to quit detaining those he suspected of being illegal immigrants.

“Is there anyone in local law enforcement who has done more to crack down on illegal immigration than Sheriff Joe?” asks Mr. Trump. “He has protected people from crimes and saved lives. He doesn’t deserve to be treated this way.”

Mr. Arpaio is scheduled to be sentenced Oct. 5 and could be subject to six months in prison. He hasn’t asked for a pardon but says he would take it if offered, “because I’m 100 percent not guilty.”

The left is in a dither about prospects of the pardon because the sheriff, who called himself “the toughest sheriff in America,” made his reputation enforcing immigration law when the Obama administration wouldn’t. Cecilia Wang of the ACLU complains that a Trump pardon for Mr. Arpaio “would undo a conviction secured by his own career attorneys at the Justice Department,” and predictably adds that it “would be an official presidential endorsement of racism.”

The prosecution of the sheriff has smelled like politics from the beginning. “This started under Attorney General Eric Holder and President Obama 60 days after they took office,” Mr. Arpaio told a radio interviewer the other day. “Here it is, eight, nine years later, and all they can get me for — which I’m not guilty of — is contempt of court.”

Mr. Arpaio, who lost a bid for re-election to a seventh term as sheriff in November, recalls that “the day before early voting, [the Obama Justice Department] announced they were going to charge me. Two weeks later, they charged me two weeks before [Election Day] so this was a political, political hit job. They got what they wanted. They got rid of me.”

Those on the left who are in a snit at the prospect of a Trump pardon for reversing a prosecution of a previous administration did not object when Mr. Obama’s Justice Department, under the supervision of Eric Holder, dropped charges brought by the George W. Bush administration against members of the New Black Panther Party. The Panthers were accused of intimidating white voters at Philadelphia polling stations at the 2008 election.

The president can expect an angry reaction if he pardons the sheriff. This is the season of angry reactions in a summer of hysteria. He should not let the ritual cry of “racism” deter him if he decides that a pardon is the right thing to do.

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