Former Maricopa County, Arizona, Sheriff Joe Arpaio has been found guilty of criminal contempt, court records show.
Arpaio was accused of violating a court order in a racial profiling case by continuing patrols targeting immigrants. US District Court Judge Susan Bolton handed down her ruling in court papers signed on Monday.
US District Court Judge G. Murray Snow first issued a temporary injunction in 2011, barring Arpaio from detaining people solely based on their immigration status. Snow issued a permanent order two years later.
Arpaio has contended the order wasn’t clear and he didn’t intend to violate it. Federal prosecutors alleged his defiance was deliberate, and something he believed he could get away with.
The 85-year-old, who once called himself “America’s toughest sheriff,” could face up to six months in jail when he is sentenced on October 5. His eight-day trial wrapped up earlier this month.