Arizona congress members urge President Trump not to pardon Joe Arpaio

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(Source: The Associated Press) (Source: The Associated Press)

Three democratic representatives from Arizona sent a letter to President Trump Thursday morning urging him not to pardon former Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio. 

U.S. Representatives Ruben Gallego (D), Raul Grijalva (D) and Tom O'Halleran (D) sent the letter ahead of the president's scheduled appearance at the Phoenix Convention Center next Tuesday.

[RELATED: President Trump announces visit to Phoenix]

Arpaio was convicted of criminal contempt for ignoring a judge's order to discontinue traffic stops that targeted suspected undocumented immigrants.

[READ MORE: GUILTY: Judge rules in former Sheriff Joe Arpaio's criminal contempt case]

Arpaio faces up to 6 months in prison and his sentencing is scheduled for October 5.

[RELATED: Trump mulls pardon of ex-sheriff with same immigration views]

It has been speculated that one of the reasons Trump is coming to Phoenix is to pardon the former sheriff. Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton has publicly asked the president to postpone the visit.

[RELATED: Phoenix mayor criticizes Trump's plan to hold Phoenix rally]

Stanton said in a statement that the visit is not coming at the right time and that if he does pardon Arpaio it will show that the president's intentions are to further divide the country.

Grijalva stated Wednesday that he will be at Trump's Phoenix rally to lead a protest against the president. 

[READ MORE: U.S. Representative Grijalva to lead protest at Trump rally in Phoenix]

All three representatives say in the letter that all public officials should be held accountable when they commit crimes.

Dear President Trump:
We are gravely concerned by reports that you are considering a pardon for Joe Arpaio.  The former Maricopa County Sheriff was convicted of a serious crime and should pay any fine and serve any sentence in full.  We urge you in the strongest possible terms not to grant Mr. Arpaio relief from the penalties he deservedly faces for his illegal conduct and brazen abuse of the public trust.  
Last month, Arpaio was found guilty of criminal contempt of court following his decision to violate a judge's order compelling his department to cease its unconstitutional immigration enforcement actions.  It is worth noting that Arpaio's own statements played a key role in the conviction, as the former Sheriff had repeatedly declared his intention to flout the law by continuing to illegally detain Latinos in our community.  As the judge in the case wrote, "Not only did Defendant abdicate responsibility, he announced to the world and to his subordinates that he was going to continue business as usual no matter who said otherwise."     
Unfortunately, this blatant disregard for the law is consistent with a broader pattern of abusive policing practices under his leadership.  Indeed, during his tenure, Latinos in Maricopa County were up to nine times more likely to be pulled over than non-Latinos.  His department was also determined to have systematically violated the rights of Latinos by the Justice Department in 2011 and by a federal judge in 2013.   
We believe public officials should be held accountable when they commit crimes and that the rule of law should be applied fairly regardless of how powerful an office holder's friends are.  By pardoning Mr. Arpaio, an early supporter of your campaign, you would be sending a clear message that your allies are immune from prosecution.  More importantly, by exempting Arpaio from the consequences of his actions, you would be violating the basic American principle that those who enforce our laws must also personally abide by them. 
Again, we strongly urge you not to grant Mr. Arpaio relief from penalties justly incurred through his own repeated, willful misconduct.   

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