In October 2007, then Sheriff Arpaio ordered his infamous Selective Enforcement Unit to apprehend two people, Michael Lacey and Jim Larkin, under the cover of darkness.
The men were executives with Village Voice Media. The Village Voice Media publishes the Phoenix News. The Unit arrested the men separately. They were at their homes at the time of their arrest.
Larkin and Lacey were booked into separate jails. Both county jails were managed by Sheriff. If it wasn’t for the public outrage, the men would have remained in county jail. Instead, they were released after 24 hours of imprisonment.
Sheriff Arpaio’s Allegedly Want to Punish Larkin and Lacey
Prior to their arrest, they revealed in Phoenix News Times report that a grand jury subpoenas were issued to target editors and writers. The men had no idea they were the subject those subpoenas. Read more: Michael Lacey | Facebook and Phoenix New Times | Wikipedia
For most of Arpio’s time as sheriff, the men wrote articles focusing on his department and alleged wrongdoing. They exposed his treatment of inmates and exposed how he was discriminatory against Latino and Hispanic people. They were not afraid to take on the sheriff and it nearly cost them their freedom and livelihoods.
Larkin and Lacey for Justice for Themselves by Taking Their Case to Court
They fought the charge with the same gusto they’d fought for others. They filed a lawsuit in court claiming they were illegally detained and their First Amendments rights violated because of their arrest. Their case made its way to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. It was in the appeals court, where history was made.
In 2012, the court ruled that Arpio’s men arrested both Lacey and Larkin without probable cause. Probable cause, or a legal reason to make an arrest, is needed in any situation where police want to make. The court ruled Maricopa County had to pay $3.75 million to Lacey and Larkin for being illegally detained and having their First Amendment right suppressed.
The men decided to create a fund called Lacey and Larkin Frontera Fund. The fund gives grants to migrant-rights organizations throughout the state of Arizona. Lacey and Larkin Frontera Fund also works with non-profit organizations to actively support and assist Hispanics and Latinos who were discriminated against by law enforcement or a public official.
The Future has not been so Great for the Former Sheriff
Larkin, a Phoenix native, dropped out of college in the 1970s. Lacey, originally from New Jersey, also dropped out of college around the same time. They teamed up to publish the Phoenix New Times. In 2012, the men sold their print enterprise for $9 million. Learn more about Michael Lacey and Jim Larkin: http://www.laceyandlarkinfronterafund.org/about-lacey-larkin-frontera-fund/jim-larkin/ and http://www.laceyandlarkinfronterafund.org/about-lacey-larkin-frontera-fund/michael-lacey/
The sheriff did not get into criminal legal trouble for what he did to Larkin and Lacey. However, he lost his last bid for reelection a short time ago. He was also charged with criminal contempt in a separate case.
He was later convicted. The former sheriff was going to be sentenced for his crime, but a couple weeks prior to sentencing he was pardoned by President Trump.