On October 18, 2007, armed Maricopa County Deputies from Sheriff Joe Arpaio’s Selective Enforcement Unit arrested and handcuffed Jim Larkin and Mike Lacey. The two were executives at Village Voice Media. They were removed from their homes against their will and shoved into SUVs with Mexican plates and tinted windows. They were then booked separately in jails managed by Arpaio.
Arpaio who has dubbed himself the Toughest Sheriff in America initiated and carried out the arrests. He had long been infuriated by articles from Phoenix New Times that uncovered his transgressions. While many mainstream newspapers dismissed Arpaio as an offbeat and benign Arizona character, the Phoenix New Times showed a more sinister side. First they reported on his role in spreading fear mongering and anti-Mexican fear in Arizona. They then uncovered rampant mismanagement and financial irregularities in Arpaio’s office. The more they dug the more they uncovered. They reported on punitive abuses of power against Arpaio’s critics, deaths and mistreatment of inmates in Arpaio’s jails, deficient health standards in jails, illegal detention of Latinos and racial profiling.
Larkin and Lacey were arrested due to their investigative story on Joe Arpaio’s assault to the constitution. The story which was published the Phoenix New Times revealed how the Maricopa County Attorney’s Office in cooperation with Arpaio issued subpoenas seeking information about the paper’s readers, writers and editors. The grand jury subpoena wanted private information such as readers’ IP addresses and their personal browsing histories. Lacey and Larkin decided to write about the subpoenas rather than cave to Arpaio’s demands. A national outcry led to their release in less than 24 hours and all charges being dropped.
Lacey and Larkin’s illegal detention led to a long court case that centered on abuse of power and First Amendment rights. The Ninth Circuit of Appeals wrote that the arrests of the two journalists was a direct assault on the First Amendment. It also noted that the subpoenas were invalid because the Maricopa County prosecutor did not follow the required legal procedures. This led the court to rule that Larkin and Lacy were illegally arrested. The decision by the appellate court led to Maricopa County paying Lacey and Larkin a $3.7 million settlement.
The two journalists used the money form the settlement to start the Frontera Fund. The Fund’s main objective is to assist Arizona’s Hispanic community which has been affected most by civil right abuses and racial abuses by law enforcement in Arizona. In 2016 Arpaio lost reelection as Sherriff after he which he was found guilty of criminal contempt.
In support of Immigrant Rights in the State of Arizona
Michael Lacey and Jim Larkin are the founders of both the Frontera Fund and Front Page Confidential. They were students at the Arizona State University but dropped in different years. They got together to write for the University’s newspaper and changed it to a self-sustaining business. The two focused on the real issues facing the citizens and dug dipper into political and social issues in the United States.
Lacey and Larkin Arrest
On October 18th, 2007, Michael Lacey and Jim Larkin were arrested for publishing an article in the Phoenix New Times that government agencies were targeting journalists, reporters and editors while violating the US constitution. However, due to a public outcry, the two were released without pressing any charges. The then sheriff, Joe Arpaio of Maricopa County Arizona was the man behind the arrest.
Maricopa County was forced to pay a compensation of $3.75 million for wrongful arrest of Michael Lacey and Jim Larkin. The two used the compensation to set up Frontera Fund intended to help Latin-American groups within Arizona. Previously the two had set up First Amendment, Village Voice Media Holdings (VVM), a magazine that published investigative reports. They later sold the VVM to a group of executives within the firm.
Joe Arpaio recently announced that he would be competing for the Arizona Senate seat. He is a great supporter of President Trump and his campaign is based on Trump’s “Make America great again”. Joe Arpaio was pardoned by President Trump when he was found guilty of contempt of court for refusing to follow the orders of a judge for racially profiling Latinos. The pardon came on time just before his sentencing.
Front Page Confidential is an online publication dedicated to providing readers with the latest news on freedom of speech and any violation of the first amendment. The writers Lacey and Larkin with Editor Tom Finkel compare freedom of speech in the past, current trends and what to expect in the future. They also address other issues such as politics and politicians, religion, fake news, censorship, first amendment, campus speech, media, hate speech, section 230, and privacy.
For more information about Frontera Fund and ways you can participate in support of immigrant rights groups, visit this link http://www.laceyandlarkinfronterafund.org/