On Oct. 18, 2007, Mike Lacey and Jim Larkin were arrested by Maricopa County’s Selective Enforcement Unit. The two men were forcibly taken from their homes in Phoenix, Ariz., and driven away in unmarked vehicles. The order to arrest the two men was given by Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio. The men had written an article against him in Phoenix New Times that exposed his unconstitutional actions against the company. The self-titled “America’s Toughest Sheriff” was furious.
Phoenix New Times had been a long-time critic of Arpaio. The newspaper accused him of inspiring anti-Mexican sentiments, in addition to abuse of power in his position as Maricopa County Sheriff. According to the newspaper, Arpaio was responsible for financial misconduct and political posturing, providing inadequate conditions in his jails, gross mistreatment of inmates, racial profiling and unfair treatment of Latinos. In retaliation, Arpaio had grand jury subpoenas issued to uncover personal details about the newspaper’s editorial staff and readers.
Instead of submitting, Lacey and Larkin decided that they would write to expose how it was an assault on the Constitution for Arpaio to obtain the subpoenas. The sheriff had the two men arrested as a response, but the faulty charges were dropped within 24 hours and they were released. A prolonged court battle was launched as a response to this outrage, centering on First Amendment rights and the abuse of power.
The Ninth Circuit of Appeals decided, “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.” The subpoenas against Lacey and Larkin were invalid since they were obtained illegally, and the court confirmed that the two writers had been detained with no probable cause.
Lacey and Larkin were paid a $3.7 million settlement by Maricopa County in 2013. The money went directly into the creation of Frontera Fund, an organization that benefits Arizona’s ostracized Hispanic community. Lacey and Larkin worked to distribute funds to non-profit groups that were dedicated to championing Hispanic rights.
Michael Lacey and Jim Larkin are Undoing the Damage done by Joe Arpaio
Michael Lacey and Jim Larkin are two of the victims of former Sheriff of Maricopa County, Joe Arpaio.
If you haven’t heard of the name Joe Arpaio, then you probably don’t pay attention to politics. Arpaio is one of the most polarizing figures in politics – for the wrong reason. The fans of Arpaio are generally regarded as a racist group of people. During his time as sheriff, Arpaio discriminated and wrongly incarcerated an endless amount of Hispanics.
In 2007, when he arrest a tourist for no other reason than the color of his skin, he was eventually ordered to stop enforcing federal immigration laws. The tourist, a Mexican citizen, sued Arpaio in civil court. Arpaio was eventually brought up on criminal charges, only to be pardoned by President Donald Trump.
As victims of Arpaio, Lacey and Larkin refuse to let the issue die. Even though Lacey and Larkin have won their lawsuit against Arpaio and won nearly 4 million dollars, they refuse to lay down their literary swords. As reporters and journalists, Lacey and Larkin have the tools necessary to stop Arpaio from ever holding a public service position again.
With the money they earned from the lawsuit, Lacey and Larkin formed Front Page Confidential, a newspaper that aims to stop corrupt politicians from gaining or holding a public position. With Arpaio announced his bid for a Senate seat in November of 2018, you can rest easy knowing that Front Page Confidential is informing voters of the crimes of Joe Arpaio.
The Frontera Fund was another organization that Lacey and Larkin created. This one isn’t a newspaper, its a charity fundraiser. Lacey and Larkin are using the Frontera Fund to give back to the victims of Arpaio. They are using their time and resources in assist the primary targets of Joe Arpaio.