U.S. District Judge Susan Bolton said she dismissed Arpaio’s criminal contempt case after President Donald Trump decided to issue a pardon. But in an order denying Arpaio’s motion to vacate all records of the conviction, Bolton said not even the president can erase facts.
The no-nonsense sheriff was found guilty in late July. Bolton ruled then that Arpaio had exhibited a “flagrant disregard” of a court order that barred him from rounding up undocumented immigrants. In her ruling, Bolton cited as evidence several comments Arpaio had made to the media.
“Why are they going after this Sheriff? Well we know why. Because they don’t like me enforcing illegal immigration law,” Arpaio was quoted as saying in an April 2012 interview with CBS.
“I’m still going to do what I’m doing,” he told PBS Newshour that same month. “I’m still going to arrest illegal aliens coming into this country.”
After hinting at it during a campaign style rally in August, Trump eventually pardoned the former sheriff. That spared the 85-year-old from up to six months behind bars. But that’s not enough for Arpaio. His lawyers say the pardon entitles him to the erasure of any record of the conviction.
“The President’s pardon moots the case, and it warrants an automatic vacatur of all opinions, judgments, and verdicts related to the criminal charge,” Arpaio’s lawyers wrote in a motion in late August.
Quite the contrary, says Bolton. “The power to pardon is an executive prerogative of mercy, not of judicial record-keeping,” she wrote in her order, citing a previous court case.
Jack Wilenchik, one of Arpaio’s attorneys, told Capitol Media Services that the record of the conviction could be used against the former sheriff in future cases. “We’re not asking to undo facts,” he said.
“We’re not asking for expungement,” he continued. “There’s no such thing in federal law.”
Wilenchik said the pardon functions as if someone had died prior to sentencing or before having a chance to appeal. “The whole case gets undone,” he said.
Bolton disagrees. “Indeed, a pardon ‘carries an imputation of guilt; acceptance a confession of it,’” she wrote, citing earlier court precedent.
“The Court found Defendant guilty of criminal contempt,” Bolton wrote. “The President issued the pardon. Defendant accepted. The pardon undoubtedly spared Defendant from any punishment that might otherwise have been imposed. It did not, however, ‘revise the historical facts’ of this case.”
Arpaio’s lawyers have already filed paperwork to appeal the decision.
“It’s not going to be dropped,” Arpaio said.
Florida Republican U.S. Rep. Carlos Curbelo, who represents the Florida Keys area in Congress, wants to ban bump fire stocks (Photo: House Republican Conference)
Backers hope co-sponsors will join in supporting the legislation “Noah’s Ark-style,” with each lawmaker bringing another from across the aisle.
Florida Republican U.S. Rep. Carlos Curbelo, joined by U.S. Rep. Seth Moulton, a Massachusetts Democrat, announced their proposal Thursday, which aims to prohibit the manufacture, sale, and use of “bump stocks” which have become a hot-button item after their use in the Route 91 Harvest shooting in Las Vegas where a gunman reportedly had as many as a dozen rifles equipped with the devices.
“For the first time in decades, there is growing bipartisan consensus for firearm reform, a polarizing issue that has deeply divided Republicans and Democrats,” Curbelo, who represents the Florida Keys area in Congress, said in a statement. “Common sense legislation that does not restrict Second Amendment rights is an important first step in addressing gun violence in our country. By banning devices that blatantly circumvent already existing law, we can show that Congress is capable of working constructively to make Americans safer.”
Moulton, Curbelo’s opposite from across the aisle, made headlines earlier this week when he refused to participate in a moment of silence on the House floor for the Las Vegas victims. He argued for action instead.
“It’s time for Members of Congress to find the courage to come together and finally do something to help stop the epidemic of mass shootings,” said Moulton.
The new proposal would compete with S.1916 and HR 3947, a pair of partisan bills introduced on Wednesday by Democrats banning both bump and slide-fire style stocks as well as “crank triggers” with exceptions for military and law enforcement use.
While the language of the Curbelo-Moulton act is not available, the Democrat proposal seemingly has no provision outlined to grandfather the thousands of stocks and triggers already in circulation.
Several Republicans have voiced support for a ban on the devices while House Majority Leader Paul Ryan said he was open to a vote on the matter.
It’s not just GOP members in Washington looking to outlaw the ATF-approved accessories which until last week were uncontroversial. Republican governors John Kasich of Ohio and Charlie Baker of Massachusetts also came out this week as backing a prohibition on bump fire stocks with Baker going so far as saying he would sign such a bill “tomorrow” if it was sent to him by lawmakers.
However, there at least a few Republicans are non-committal on an outright ban, with Montana’s entire Congressional delegation– including Democrat U.S. Sen. Jon Tester– shying away from the concept as a block at least until they get more information on the subject.
“I think we should hold a hearing on the issue so we can hear from firearms experts, disability advocates, and law enforcement,” said Tester.
Gun rights groups are wandering in the political landscape on a looming prohibition with NRA Executive Vice President and CEO Wayne LaPierre saying it may be time to “take a look at that and see if it’s in compliance with federal law, and it’s worthy of additional regulation” which some Dems have characterized as a dodge. The more conservative Gun Owners of America, meanwhile, is staunchly against any ban.
Las Vegas Metro Police and medical workers stage in the intersection of Tropicana Avenue and Las Vegas Boulevard South after a mass shooting at a music festival on the Las Vegas Strip in Las Vegas, Nevada, U.S. October 1, 2017.
Share prices for most gun makers ended on a high note Thursday as the ongoing investigation into the Las Vegas shooting triggers swings in the market.
Sturm, Ruger and Co. and Vista Outdoor made small gains after the National Rifle Association said the federal government should reexamine bump stocks — a legal modification to rifles mimicking automatic fire. American Outdoor Brands slipped less than one percent Thursday after posting a 4 percent increase 24 hours after the shooting.
“We didn’t talk about banning anything,” Chris Cox, NRA-ILA’s executive director, told Tucker Carlson during an interview Thursday on Fox News. “We talked about the ATF going back and looking at if these (bump stocks) comply with federal law.”
Bump stocks made headlines this week after the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives confirmed 12 of the modification devices were found in 64-year-old Stephen Paddock’s two-room suite on the 32nd floor of Mandalay Bay and Casino. Paddock perpetrated the deadliest mass shooting in American history Sunday when he fired into a crowded country music festival from the windows of his hotel room, killing 58 and wounding 489 others.
Stocks for ShotSpotter — described as a “global leader in gunfire detection and location technology” on its website — jumped nearly 12 percent Thursday after the NRA’s public statement. Congressional Republicans likewise expressed public support for considering a bump stock ban, or at the very least, a review of the devices.
“Fully automatic weapons have been banned for a long time, apparently this allows you to take a semi-automatic and turn it into a fully automatic, so clearly that’s something we need to look into,” House Speaker Paul Ryan said Thursday.
Authorities still don’t know why Paddock, a retired accountant and frequent gambler, attacked the Route 91 Harvest Festival. Local and federal investigators found no ties to international terrorism while the gunman’s brother, Eric Paddock, insists he wasn’t particularly religious or partisan.
“What we know is Stephen Paddock is a man who spent decades acquiring weapons and ammo and living a secret life, much of which will never be fully understood,” Clark County Sheriff Joe Lombardo said Wednesday. “He meticulously planned on the worst domestic attack in United States history.”
New details in the case have emerged over the last four days indicating Paddock may have planned to target the Life Is Beautiful music festival a week earlier after evidence connected him to an Airbnb rental at a condominium within the festival’s 18-block boundary. Lombardo wouldn’t speculate why exactly the gunman rented the rooms.
He would confirm, however, Paddock checked into his room at Mandalay Bay on Sept. 28 where spent the next three days stocking his room with an arsenal of nearly two dozen firearms, including 12 modified with bump stocks. Authorities also found chemicals used to make explosives and 1,600 rounds of ammunition in his car.
“Our resolve is strong,” FBI Special Agent in Charge Aaron Rouse said during a press conference Wednesday. “We will get to the bottom of this, no matter how long it takes.”
It will now be legal for gun owners in the Sunshine State to temporarily carry concealed handguns without a permit during periods when the sun isn’t shining so bright.
Now law is a measure to allow law-abiding citizens without concealed carry licenses to bear arms during declared mandatory evacuations. A reboot of a failed 2014 bill that was killed in last minute political maneuvering, this session’s effort had an easier go of it after police lobby groups embraced the proposal. It passed the Republican-controlled Senate in an easy 29-10 vote while the House last month approved it by a 86-26 margin.
“As Hurricane Season approaches it’s critical that our rights are protected during natural disasters,” advised Sen. Jeff Brandes, R-Petersburg, in a statement. “With the signing of SB 290, all lawful gun owners will be permitted to carry a concealed weapon if they are complying with a mandatory evacuation during a state of emergency. I’m proud to have sponsored this bipartisan bill ensuring that we have the right to protect our families during these sometimes chaotic times.”
Brandes bill, SB 290, creates an exception to Florida’s prohibition against concealed carry of a weapon without a permit by allowing adults not otherwise prohibited from possessing a firearm to temporally do so while evacuating. The law allows for a 48-hour window that this would be allowed after the evacuation has been ordered. However, the governor can authorize an extension as needed.
Such evacuation orders occur frequently in the state, most often associated with hurricane threats. Florida, with hundreds of miles of coastline in the North Atlantic and Gulf of Mexico, is prone to severe hurricanes. Since 2000, no less than 63 tropical or subtropical cyclones have affected Florida, more than any other state.
Second Amendment advocates in the state refer to the new law as true common-sense gun legislation.
“This bill is a no-brainer, particularly in Florida with our hurricane exposure,” Marion Hammer, president of the Unified Sportsmen of Florida and past president of the National Rifle Association, told Guns.com Thursday. “When you’re ordered to evacuate — to take your kids, your dog and valuables and flee — the last thing you should leave behind is your gun.”
People have a responsibility to defend themselves and their family, “so taking firearms with you is not only your right, it is your responsibly,” said Hammer.
The law was effective Thursday at signing while the Atlantic hurricane season begins June 1.
Michael Bennett, a defensive end for the National Football League’s Seattle Seahawks, said Wednesday that police used racial profiling and excessive force when they pointed guns at him during an incident after the Mayweather-McGregor fight in Las Vegas last month.
Bennett, who is among the most well-known players to sit in protest for the national anthem before games, shared his account of the story in a letter he posted to Twitter on Wednesday. According to his statement, the incident occurred early in the morning on Aug. 27, after the Mayweather-McGregor fight.
While leaving an after party at a casino, Bennett said he was going back to his hotel when a crowd of people heard what sounded like gunshots, and he instinctively ran away from the sound, looking for a safe place to take cover.
Then, Bennett said, “Las Vegas police officers singled me out and pointed their guns at me for doing nothing more than simply being a black man in the wrong place at the wrong time.”
“A police officer ordered me to get on the ground,” Bennett continued. “As I laid on the ground, complying with his commands to not move, he placed his gun near my head and warned me that if I moved he would ‘blow my fucking head off.’”
Another officer then came over and jammed his knee into his back, Bennett claimed, causing him to have trouble breathing. The officer then handcuffed the football star, cinching the cuffs so tight Bennett said he lost feeling in his fingers.
Bennett describes feeling helpless and fearing for his life during the incident. When asking the officers what he had done, he said they replied by telling him to shut up and then took him to the back of a patrol car.
The officers eventually released Bennett, and Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Undersheriff Kevin McMahill said at a Wednesday press conference that his department had launched an investigation into the incident and that Bennett had been detained for a total of 10 minutes.
McMahill said that so far he had found “no evidence that race played any role in this incident” and also noted that both of the officers who detained Bennett were Hispanic. The officers were responding to a call of battery and assault with a gun that had evolved into an active shooter situation.
As officers conducted a search inside and outside of Drai’s nightclub, the area where shots were supposedly heard, the scene became chaotic, with many people running from the club and casino in a panic. The officers then spotted Bennett crouched behind some machines, McMahill said, and Bennett then darted outside with the officers pursing him. The officers then took Bennett down and detained him.
McMahill said the officers explained the situation to Bennett, and at the time Bennett had no problem with how officers handled it, except for putting a gun to his head. During the press conference, McMahill played a video of officers searching the casino, with hordes of people running from the scene. It was later found that there was no shooter in the area and the sound heard was not a gunshot.
A video released by TMZ Wednesday shows an officer handcuffing Bennett. At one point, Bennett yelled to the officer: “I wasn’t doing nothing, man. I was here with my friends. They told us to get out; everybody ran. Can you answer my question, sir?”
McMahill said he did not know why Bennett had been singled out and hoped that the investigation would clarify that. He also said that anyone with video of the incident should send it to police to help the investigation, and urged Bennett to file a formal complaint.
Bennett said he had hired Oakland civil rights attorney John Burris to explore all legal options available to him. Burris also released a statement Wednesday, claiming that his client was an innocent victim of excessive force.
“We think there was an unlawful detention and the use of excessive force, with a gun put to his head,” Burris told The Associated Press. “He was just in the crowd. He doesn’t drink or do drugs. He wasn’t in a fight. He wasn’t resisting. He did nothing more or less than anyone in the crowd.”
The city is looking for a do-over after the courts overturned the District of Columbia’s strict “may-issue” policy for issuing concealed carry permits.
D.C. Attorney General Karl Racine filed a petition with the U.S. Appeals Court for the District of Columbia Circuit asking that it vacate the pro-gun ruling handed down last month by a three-judge panel and rehear it in front of the full court.
“The District’s requirement that those requesting concealed-carry permits must have a ‘good reason’ for doing so is virtually identical to rules in other cities and states – requirements that four other federal appeals courts have left in place,” Racine said in a statement.
The three-judge panel in July issued a permanent injunction prohibiting city authorities from enforcing a “good reason” test as part of its gun licensing program, which has resulted in more permits declined than granted and has effectively barred most people from exercising Second Amendment rights outside their home.
“To be sure, the good-reason law leaves each D.C. resident some remote chance of one day carrying in self-defense, but that isn’t the question,” said Judge Thomas Beall Griffith in his majority opinion. “The Second Amendment doesn’t secure a right to have some chance at self-defense. Again, at a minimum, the Amendment’s core must protect carrying given the risks and needs typical of law-abiding citizens. That is a right that most D.C. residents can never exercise, by the law’s very design.”
Racine disagreed, characterizing the vanquished requirements as “common-sense gun rules” and saying they were in line with Supreme Court precedent on the Second Amendment. The petition argues that Washington, D.C. is unique because its dense population includes “thousands of high-ranking federal officials and international diplomats.”
The ruling came in the combined cases of Wrenn v. DC, backed by the Second Amendment Foundation, and Grace v. DC, backed by the Pink Pistols organization. Both sought to bar the city from applying the vague “good reason” test as part of its gun licensing program.
Alan Gottlieb, SAF founder, and executive vice president said Thursday his group expected the city to file the appeal.
“They have no intention of complying with any court decision that supports the right to keep and bear arms,” Gottlieb said. “It took the Heller decision to force them to allow a gun in your own home for self-defense. It took the Palmer decision, another SAF case, to force them to repeal their total ban on carry and now they are kicking and screaming about losing the Wrenn decision.”
As noted by the Washington Post, D.C.’s Metropolitan Police Department has approved 126 concealed carry permit applications as of July, rejecting another 417.
A majority of 11 judges on the D.C. Circuit, under Chief Judge Merrick Garland, would have to vote to rehear the case, a rarely granted procedure. If denied, the city could continue its appeal to the Supreme Court.
Washington (CNN)President Donald Trump pardoned Joe Arpaio on Friday, sparing the controversial former Arizona sheriff a jail sentence after he was convicted of criminal contempt related to his hard-line tactics going after undocumented immigrants.