Sheriff Joe Arpaio Enters Not Guilty Plea In Criminal Contempt Case

By Jude Joffe-Block
Published: Friday, October 28, 2016 - 5:51pm
Paul Atkinson/KJZZ
Joe Arpaio

Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio has entered a plea of not guilty in the criminal contempt of court case against him. His criminal defense lawyer is asking to push back the criminal trial, which is slated to start Dec. 6.

Arpaio has waived his right to appear in an arraignment proceeding to enter his plea and his right to a speedy trial.

Currently the only charge filed against Arpaio is a single criminal contempt of court charge for ignoring a judge’s order and continuing to make immigration arrests after the judge said to stop.

But the federal government is still deciding whether to bring obstruction of justice charges against Arpaio and three others.

In a request filed Friday afternoon, Arpaio’s criminal defense lawyer Mel McDonald argued his client should only have to face one criminal trial if there are multiple charges.

McDonald said once the government announces it won’t bring any more charges against his client, then he wants 120 days to prepare for a trial.

In 2015, Arpaio faced a civil contempt of court proceeding that involved more than 20 days of testimony from dozens of witnesses and thousands of exhibits.

“Defendant Arpaio anticipates that a trial in this matter will involve, at a minimum, the same or more witnesses and exhibits that were presented in the civil contempt proceeding,” McDonald wrote.