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Statement of ABA President Hilarie Bass Re: Pardon of former Arizona sheriff Joe Arpaio

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Statement of ABA President Hilarie Bass Re: Pardon of former Arizona sheriff Joe Arpaio

By John Glynn

WASHINGTON, Aug. 25, 2017 – The American Bar Association is disappointed that a pardon was granted to former Arizona sheriff Joe Arpaio. While the Constitution affords the president broad powers to pardon, the ABA believes this authority should be used in a manner that does not undermine the public’s trust in our justice system.

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The crime that Arpaio was convicted of committing -- criminal contempt of court for ignoring a judge’s order – showed a blatant disregard for the authority of the judiciary. As a law enforcement officer who took an oath to uphold the law and respect the courts, he instead chose to substitute his own interpretation of justice.

Granting Arpaio an expedited pardon sends the wrong message to the public. The authority of the courts must be respected if our system is to work. Individual interpretations cannot be swapped for the rule of law.

 Pardoning a law enforcement officer who has disobeyed the courts and violated the rights of people he has sworn to protect undercuts judicial authority and the public’s faith in our legal system.

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With more than 400,000 members, the American Bar Association is one of the largest voluntary professional membership organizations in the world. As the national voice of the legal profession, the ABA works to improve the administration of justice, promotes programs that assist lawyers and judges in their work, accredits law schools, provides continuing legal education, and works to build public understanding around the world of the importance of the rule of law. View our privacy statement online. Follow the latest ABA news at www.americanbar.org/news and on Twitter @ABANews.