Larkin and Lacey vs. Jose Arpaio
Deputies from the Maricopa County Sheriffs Office of Arizona arrested journalists Jim Larkin and Michael Lacey on the night of October 18th, 2007. The charges were interfering with a Grand Jury investigation.
The two, co-owners of Village Voice, which owned the newspaper Phoenix New Times, which ran a story about a secret Grand Jury convened at the request of Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio, had been critical of the sheriff’s office for some time.
Larkin and Lacey were trying to bring national attention to the many violations committed by the Maricopa County Sheriff’s office on the orders of Arpaio. Illegal activities such as search without cause, allowing inmates to die or be injured in custody, illegal detention, racial profiling and more.
Arpaio had indeed formed a secret Grand Jury with the goal of investigating Larkin and Lacey due to their reporting of his violations. The journalists did not know this was the Grand Jury’s purpose; they had only learned that of its existence. But it was formed by Arpaio to target the two in an effort to silence the press in violation of the First Amendment.
The men were taken to different jails and imprisoned for 24 days, causing a national outrage against Arpaio and his department. Eventually a judge threw the charges out and freed the men while also putting an end to the illegally formed Grand Jury. Read more: Village Voice Media | Wikipedia and Phoenix New Times | Wikipedia
Larkin and Lacey filed suit against the county and won $3.7 million. This money was then used to start the Frontera Fund, a civil rights organization aimed at defending the civil rights of all Americans, but especially the Latino population which was the biggest of Arpaio’s targets as a group.
Arpaio was soon brought up on charges of his own. He was declared guilty after losing his 2016 re-election bid for a seventh term as sheriff. In office since 1992, the people of Maricopa County didn’t want any more of his brand of enforcing the law.
Unlike Larkin and Lacey, Arpaio was declared guilty of the charges against him but then President Trump stepped in and used his first presidential pardon to get Arpaio out of jail. Arpaio, who was one of the first figures to endorse Trump’s run for the Presidency even before the primaries, has since announced his intention to run for the U.S. Senate from Arizona. He has in turn been endorsed by Trump for this elected position.