Misdemeanor contempt conviction does not prohibit Arpaio’s Senate run

Jan 9, 2018, 11:00 AM | Updated: 11:05 am

(Twitter Photo)...

(Twitter Photo)

(Twitter Photo)

PHOENIX — After former Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio announced he would run for Senate on Tuesday, some began to question how he was permitted to do so after being convicted of criminal contempt of court.

The answer is quite simple: The United States does not forbid people convicted of a crime from seeking public office.

Related: Timeline of Arpaio’s career | Arpaio announces Senate run

The U.S. Constitution requires that someone running for federal office meet three requirements:

  • They must be of proper age (For the House, this means 25 and for the Senate, 30)
  • House members must have been a U.S. citizen for seven years, while senators have to be citizens for nine
  • They must live in the state where they are elected

If a candidate meets all those requirements — which Arpaio does — he or she can run for and be sworn into office.

Arpaio was pardoned by President Donald Trump in August. The former lawman was found guilty in late July of misdemeanor contempt for continuing his immigration sweeps for 17 months after a judge ordered him to stop.

The pardon essentially made Arpaio an innocent man, though a court refused to wipe the conviction from his record.

Even if Arpaio had been sentenced to jail time, he could theoretically launch a successful campaign from behind bars. At least one person has done so in American history.

Former Rep. Matthew Lyon was elected to Congress in 1798 while serving jail time for violating the Sedition Act. He had been sentenced to four months in prison for publicly criticizing President John Adams.

We want to hear from you.

Have a story idea or tip? Pass it along to the KTAR News team here.

Arizona News


David Veenstra

Arizona gets $10.3M in federal funding to restore ecosystem

The U.S. Department of the Interior is investing $10.3 million to restore Arizona's lands and waters this year.

39 minutes ago

(City of Glendale Photo)...

Police search for suspect after 2 people were shot in Glendale

Police are searching for a suspect who allegedly shot two people in Glendale early Saturday.

3 hours ago

(Facebook Photo/Scottsdale Police Department)...

4 people stabbed during early-morning melee at Scottsdale bar

A suspect is in custody after four people were stabbed early Saturday during a violent altercation at a bar in Scottsdale.

5 hours ago

Paella featuring lobster tail, jumbo prawns, diver scallops, mussels, chorizo, arborio rice, Englis...

David Veenstra

Westin Kierland Resort & Spa in Scottsdale opens new restaurant Faro & Brag

The Westin Kierland Resort & Spa opened its new restaurant, "Faro & Brag," in Scottsdale featuring modern cuisine and outdoor seating.

5 hours ago

View of midtown Phoenix. (Phoenix Business Journal Photo)...

Audrey Jensen/Phoenix Business Journal

Phoenix seeks applicants to turn vacant land into mixed-use development

The city of Phoenix is seeking developers for several infill parcels it owns for new housing and commercial projects.

6 hours ago

Velvet Road is one of the four performances as part of Peoria's Music in March concert series. (Peo...

Arin Ducharme

Music in March concerts return to Peoria every Sunday

Music in March at Paloma Community Park returns to Peoria. The concerts will take place at Paloma Community Park near Lake Pleasant Parkway.

7 hours ago

Sponsored Articles


Collins Comfort Masters

Here’s 1 way to ensure your family is drinking safe water

Water is maybe one of the most important resources in our lives, and especially if you have kids, you want them to have access to safe water.


Fiesta Bowl Foundation

The 51st annual Vrbo Fiesta Bowl Parade is excitingly upon us

The 51st annual Vrbo Fiesta Bowl Parade presented by Lerner & Rowe is upon us! The attraction honors Arizona and the history of the game.


Day & Night Air Conditioning, Heating and Plumbing

Valley residents should be mindful of plumbing ahead of holidays

With Halloween in the rear-view and more holidays coming up, Day & Night recommends that Valley residents prepare accordingly.

Misdemeanor contempt conviction does not prohibit Arpaio’s Senate run