GUILTY: Judge rules in former Sheriff Joe Arpaio's criminal contempt case

Updated:
Former Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio, front right, leaves U.S. District Court on the first day of his contempt-of-court trial Monday, June 26, 2017, in Phoenix. (Source: AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin) Former Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio, front right, leaves U.S. District Court on the first day of his contempt-of-court trial Monday, June 26, 2017, in Phoenix. (Source: AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)
PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) -

U.S. District Judge Susan Bolton on Monday found former Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio guilty of criminal contempt of court, the culmination of a federal trial that was years in the making.

"I am disappointed in the decision but I am not discouraged," Arpaio told our Donna Rossi not long after the verdict was announced. "We have appeals in the works so we will see where this goes. I was very confident during the trial that I would have been exonerated. My deputies and I were just doing our job."

[WATCH: Arpaio responds to criminal conviction]

Arpaio's lawyer confirmed the plans to appeal, saying the goal is to get a jury trial.

"Today, Judge Susan Bolton violated the United States Constitution by issuing her verdict without even reading it to the Defendant in public court. Her verdict is contrary to what every single witness testified in the case. Arpaio believes that a jury would have found in his favor, and that it will," Jack Wilenchik said in a written statement, 

"Judge Bolton found that an order by her fellow Judge G. Murray Snow, who is in the same building and sits on the same Arizona court, clearly said something that it did not even say: that the MCSO was prohibited from turning illegal aliens over to Border Patrol or ICE. Every witness in the case testified that the order was not clear, even though Judge Bolton and her fellow judge say so. Numerous law enforcement agencies also continue to do this. In fact, the DOJ now goes after agencies that refuse to do this." 

It's not clear when the appeal will be filed. 

"Joe Arpaio is in this for the long haul, and he will continue his fight to vindicate himself, to prove his innocence, and to protect the public," Wilenchik said.

“I am in shock to hear the news but glad that people are recognizing the crimes that he has done against our communities," Noemi Romero of Puente Arizona said. "We will not have peace of mind until Sheriff Penzone removes ICE from 4th Avenue Jail.”  

The Maricopa County Sheriff's Office issued a statement on the verdict but did not address the concerns of Puente Arizona as expressed by Romero.

"Although the election in November was a statement by this community to put an end to the prior administration’s practices, the verdict today by U.S. District Court Judge Susan Bolton is a conclusion to the disservice and distractions caused by former Sheriff Joe Arpaio. We have a great respect for the justice system and the process and responsibility to carry out justice.

"As for this office, we remain steadfast in our efforts to serve the needs of public safety, to improve quality of relations with the community and to ensure that the men and women of this organization have the utmost respect for the law and the authority for which we are empowered."

I was very confident during the trial that I would have been exonerated. My deputies and I were just doing our job.

The next hearing in the case is slated for Oct. 5. Arpaio could be sentenced to up to 6 months in jail. 

Arpaio, who was voted out of office in November 2016 after serving six terms, is known for, among other things, cracking down on illegal immigration and using controversial “crime suppression sweeps" to round up those suspected of being in the U.S. illegally. Those operations, which went on for years, are what landed him in court.

[SPECIAL SECTION: Former Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio]

Although a judge ordered Arpaio to stop the traffic patrols that targeted immigrants, the self-styled “America’s toughest sheriff” did not. Arpaio continued to run those operations for nearly 18 months after that order.

[RELATED: Tactics, events that defined Joe Arpaio's career as sheriff]

Last May, Judge Murray Snow found Arpaio, now 85, and three of his top aides in civil contempt.

In a strongly worded 162-page document, Snow wrote that Arpaio's office violated court orders intended to end racial profiling practices by his department.

"They have demonstrated a persistent disregard for the orders of this Court, as well as an intention to violate and manipulate the laws and policies regulating their conduct," Snow said.

[RELATED: Defeated Arpaio has no regrets about immigration crackdowns (Nov. 13, 2016)]

Arpaio, although he had admitted to civil contempt before that ruling, has maintained that he did not intentionally violate the court order.

[READ MORE: Defense: Joe Arpaio didn't intend to ignore court order]

The roots of the case stretch back a decade.

• July 2008: Class action lawsuit alleging racial profiling in 2007 incident filed against then Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio; federal court ruled that the case, Ortega Melendres, et al. v. Arpaio, et al., could proceed in February 2009

• December 2011: Federal Judge Murray Snow issues temporary injunction ordering Arpaio, MCSO to stop racially profiling and detaining people on the basis of their immigration status alone; the order became permanent two years later

• May 10, 2012: Department of Justice files civil rights lawsuit against Arpaio

• May 2013: Ortega Melendres, et al. v. Arpaio, et al.  decided; Snow found Arpaio racially profiled Latinos

• December 2014: Arpaio disbands immigration enforcement unit

• March 18: 2015: Sheriff Arpaio admits to contempt of court

• May 13, 2016: Judge finds Arpaio, 3 top aides in civil contemptDefiant Arizona sheriff has been found in contempt of court

• July 21, 2106: Arpaio gives speech at GOP convention

• Aug. 19, 2016: Judge recommends criminal prosecution of Arpaio in racial profiling case

• Aug. 19, 2016: Judge says victims of racial profiling by Arpaio, MCSO entitled to monetary damages

• Oct. 25, 2016: Arpaio officially charged with criminal contempt

• Oct. 28, 2016: Arpaio enters not guilty plea in criminal contempt-of-court case

• Nov. 10, 2016: Reign ends for Joe Arpaio, once popular immigration enforcer

• March 2, 2017: Judge denies Joe Arpaio's request for a jury trial

•  April 13, 2017: Joe Arpaio wants to call AG Jeff Sessions as witness at his contempt trial

•  May, 19, 2017: Arpaio loses another bid for jury trial on contempt charge

• June 1, 2017: Ex-sheriff Joe Arpaio loses bid to bar campaign comments at trial

• June 15, 2017: Feds can raise Arpaio's acknowledged civil contempt at trial

• June 21, 2017: Arpaio makes last-ditch effort to delay his contempt trial

Originally scheduled for April, Arpaio's criminal contempt trial began on June 26. He had asked for a jury trial, saying that an elected official's actions should be decided by an impartial jury of his peers, not a judge. U.S. District Judge Susan Bolton rejected the argument and denied that request. Arpaio's team appealed the decision, but the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals upheld Bolton's ruling.

Four days into the trial, Arpaio's lawyers filed a motion seeking an acquittal, saying the statute of limitation had passed.

Closing arguments took place on July 6.

While it was Snow who issued the 2011 order that set the events leading up to this trial in motion, the decision rested with Bolton, who has sat on the U.S. District Court for the District of Arizona since October 2000. A registered Independent, she assumed senior status last September.

[RELATED: 'America's toughest sheriff' says 'I did it my way' (Nov. 23, 2016)]

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The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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