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

Phoenix Rescue Mission...

Phoenix Rescue Mission readies annual heat relief campaign

With the summer heat nearing, Phoenix Rescue Mission is launching its annual heat relief campaign to assist unhoused and at-risk individuals.

1 hour ago

(AP Photo)...

Northbound Loop 101 on-ramp at Shea Boulevard to close for 2 months

The northbound Loop 101 on-ramp at Shea Boulevard in Scottsdale is scheduled to be closed for approximately 60 days, starting Monday.

3 hours ago

Hildale, Utah, is pictured sitting at the base of Red Rock Cliff mountains, with its sister city, C...

Associated Press

Guilty plea by leader of polygamous sect near the Arizona-Utah border is at risk of being thrown out

A guilty plea by the leader of an offshoot polygamous sect near the Arizona-Utah border is at risk of being thrown out.

6 hours ago

Picture of the Mitsubishi Montero that Phoenix police suspect hit an 11-year-old girl in a crosswal...

Damon Allred

Hit-and-run suspect sought in Phoenix after injuring child walking in crosswalk

Officers are searching for a hit-and-run suspect who hit an 11-year-old girl walking in a school crosswalk on Friday, Phoenix PD said.

8 hours ago

(Facebook Photo/Phoenix Police Department)...

2 men die, another critically injured in south Phoenix shooting

Detectives are investigating a shooting that left two dead and another seriously injured in south Phoenix, police said.

10 hours ago

Rattlesnake activity...

Nick Borgia

Warmer temperatures leads to increased rattlesnake activity in the Valley

The Banner Poison and Drug Information Center has seen an increase in rattlesnake activity in the Valley due to warmer weather.

12 hours ago

Sponsored Articles


Midwestern University

Midwestern University Clinics: transforming health care in the valley

Midwestern University, long a fixture of comprehensive health care education in the West Valley, is also a recognized leader in community health care.


Collins Comfort Masters

Avoid a potential emergency and get your home’s heating and furnace safety checked

With the weather getting colder throughout the Valley, the best time to make sure your heating is all up to date is now. 


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