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Former Arizona AG says Arpaio pardon could undermine faith in judiciary

Former Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio, second from right, leaves U.S. District Court on the first day of his contempt-of-court trial with attorney Mark Goldman, left, Monday, June 26, 2017, in Phoenix. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)

LISTEN: Grant Woods, former Arizona Attorney General

PHOENIX — A former Arizona attorney general said Wednesday that President Donald Trump’s pardon of former Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio could undermine the public’s faith in the court system.

“It has the potential to undermine the public’s faith in the judiciary,” Grant Woods told KTAR News 92.3 FM’s Bruce St. James and Pamela Hughes, adding that the decision could have negative consequences.

“It’s dangerous to have people actively undermining [the judiciary].”

Woods, a Republican, said the pardon was unusual because one was not typically granted unless the person had exhausted the appeals process and showed remorse.

“It was totally out of the norm for pardons,” he said, adding that a commuted sentence seemed a more appropriate measure.

Arpaio’s sentencing hearing was scheduled for Oct. 5. Woods also said Arpaio had yet to show remorse.

“The former sheriff was convicted of [flouting] the rule of law,” he said. “He [flouted] it, really, over and over. He was ordered to stop doing what he was doing and he said, ‘I’m going to do it anyway.'”

Woods took part in a bipartisan gathering of lawyers this week outside the federal courthouse in downtown Phoenix to denounce the pardon.

“We have to stand up for the rule of law here and lawyers are uniquely situation to do that,” he said.

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