In yet another assault on the rights of innocent Americans, Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio orchestrated the arrest of two Village Voice Media executives after they wrote an a scathing article about the Sheriff in the the Phoenix New Times.
Mike Lacey and Jim Larkin were rounded up by Arpaio’s deputies and taken to separate jails where they were booked later that evening.
Arpaio, who dubs himself “America’s Toughest Sheriff,” has a long history of exacting vengeance upon those who challenge him. Both men have written exposes in the Village Times News regarding Arpaio’s illegal activities, which don’t stop at racist, fear-mongering against Mexican Americans and mismanagement at his jail.
While Arpaio’s cronies have defended him by portraying him as a harmless offbeat character, Lacey and Larkin have launched a full on assault exposing Arpaio’s misdeeds, which are extensive.
Arpaio’s questionable behavior includes unhealthy prison conditions; inmate mistreatment; systematic persecution; racial profiling and unconstitutional detentions.
Both men exposed in the Phoenix New Times, how Arpaio, along with his lackey’s in the Attorney General’s Office continually harassed writers, editors and even readers by issuing subpoenas to gain their IP addresses and browsing history.
Lacey and Larkin were both released in under 24 hours after the story went national.
Lacy and Larkin’s illegal detention was noted in 2012 by the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals as the following: “It is hard to conceive of a more direct assault on the First Amendment than public officials ordering the immediate arrests of their critics. And, in this case, there was nothing subtle about their efforts to stifle the New Times.”
It was also noted that due to the prosecutors sidestepping of required legalities, the subpoenas were illegal.
In the end, the men won a $3.7 million judgement against the Maricopa Arizona Sheriff’s Office.
Lacey and Larkin used the funds to promote the Frontera Fund, an initiative to help fight against the abuses perpetrated against Mexican Americans.
“Joe Arpaio mistreated and profiled Mexicans and other people of color. He also helped foster an atmosphere of fear against these people.”
Michael Lacey And Jim Larkin Launch Their Latest Publication
A decade ago two businessmen in the journalism industry, Michael Lacey and Jim Larkin, were illegally arrested for reporting on Sheriff Joe Arpaio. This was in Maricopa County in Arizona and the reason they were arrested was because Joe Arpaio wanted to see their reporter notes about a grand jury that was conducting an investigation into him. The county prosecutors office, who was often an ally of Joe Arpaio’s, could see this had been a violation of Michael Lacey and Jim Larkin’s constitutional rights to free speech. They proceeded to sue the county for violating their first amendment rights and were eventually rewarded $3.75 million. As Latino’s in this county regularly face discrimination and rights violations they set up the Frontera Fund with what they had been awarded, $3.75 million, and now fund many nonprofits across the state of Arizona.
A number of years ago Lacey and Larkin sold the newspaper group they had owned when this all happened and had gone on to other business pursuits. They recently launched a new online publication, though, called Front Page Confidential. The tagline is “Online and On the Record”. They cover political issues with a focus on the right to free speech. When someone in government seeks to restrict people’s free speech it gets reported on in Front Page Confidential. They also cover other political issues such as a recent sex trafficking bill the House recently passed which even the Justice Department warned was unconstitutional. Another recent article addresses the “Free-Speech Zones” that have been set up at many colleges and universities across the nation. U.S. Senator Orrin Hatch is trying to pass a bill he calls the FREE Act which would shut all of these down so that students don’t have a place to make their opinions known.