Joe Arpaio's guilty verdict: What's next?

12 News' reporter Brahm Resnik looks at the sentencing options Joe Arpaio could face from his guilty verdict.

Former Sheriff Joe Arpaio's trial on a criminal contempt-of-court charge lasted five days.

His sentencing after Monday's guilty verdict, and whatever comes after that, could take much longer.

Based on interviews with former federal prosecutors, here's what comes next:

Arpaio's sentencing date: Federal Judge Susan Bolton set Arpaio's sentencing for Oct. 5. The 85-year-old former lawman faces a maximum of six months in jail. There will be a presentence report recommending a punishment. Both sides are likely to present arguments. The Arpaio legal team has proved to be very aggressive at throwing wrenches into the process.

RELATED: Arpaio found guilty of criminal contempt

What matters in sentencing: In imposing a sentence, Bolton can consider Arpaio's entire life in law enforcement, not just the period during which he violated a court order to stop enforcing federal immigration law.

Over the last decade, Arpaio's history includes a federal court ruling that he racially profiled Latino drivers. There was also a political vendetta that resulted in criminal charges -- later dropped -- against Maricopa County judges and elected officials. 

"Joe Arpaio's defense attorneys will be pointing to what they will argue is the life of a stellar law enforcement official with no prior convictions," said Paul Charlton, the U.S. attorney for Arizona from 2001 to 2007.

"It would be fair for the prosecution to point to all that occurred in that long career."

Sheriff vows to appeal: Arpaio's attorneys have vowed to appeal the guilty verdict. Their appeal would revive their so-far-unsuccessful demand for a jury trial.

The Arpaio team's appeal is based on the political calculation that it could persuade at least one member of a jury - all that's needed in the federal system - to vote against convicting Arpaio.

Three courts, including the U.S. Supreme Court, rejected the bid before Arpaio's trial.

In the federal system, an appeal can't be filed until Arpaio is convicted, which occurs at sentencing.

What about a Trump pardon? Joe Arpaio was one of candidate Donald Trump's earliest and most avid supporters.

President Trump and Attorney General Jeff Sessions - whom Arpaio's lawyers tried to subpoena as a witness - could have found a way to drop the criminal-contempt case before the June trial.

They didn't.

Trump appears to have cut off relations with Arpaio since the election. Trump won; Arpaio was crushed in his bid for a seventh term.

Trump could still pardon Arpaio after a conviction. But Arpaio would have to apply for a pardon, and a pardon would not erase Arpaio's conviction.

© 2017 KPNX-TV


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