On the evening of October 18, 2007, the self-proclaimed “America’s Toughest Sheriff”, Joe Arpaio instigated the arrest of Michael Lacey and Jim Frontera. The Maricopa County sheriff who ran the highly feared “Selective Enforcement Unit” sent deputies to Phoenix areas to arrest the two. Mike and Jim, who are the executives at the Village Voice Media, were forced in black SUVs which had tinted windows and Mexican number plates. The two were later locked up in separate jails which were under the management of Joe.
Cause of the Outrageous Arrest
Through Phoenix News Time newspaper, Mike and Jim had exposed the misdeeds carried out by the sheriff. Among the things reported by the newspaper include the way the sheriff mismanaged his office by punishing any critics of abuse of power of the sheriff office. They also noted the poor conditions of Arpaio jails and the mistreatments and deaths of those held in those jails. It also noted his habit of patriarchal role in encouraging the anti-Mexican fear-peddling and political posturing throughout Arizona. Many Latinos faced unconstitutional detention and racial profiling under the sheriff’s prosecution system. Joe felt offended by those reports and hence leading the arrests.
After the arrest, Joe’s allies at the Maricopa County Attorney’s office unconstitutionally created jury subpoenas that were supposed to collect all details regarding the editors of the newspaper. This included taking IP addresses and all details of the newspaper writers and editors. Instead of feeling threatened by the subpoena, Mike and Jim went ahead to write about it with the aim of further exposing the level of corruption within the system.
The arrest resulted in a national public outcry which resulted in the release of Jim and Mike after spending 24 hours in jail. Consequently, all their charges were dropped immediately. This, however, resulted in a long court battle as the two news editors sought justice after their illegal detention. In 2012, the jury subpoenas that served on Lacey and Larkin were named invalid by the Ninth Circuit since the prosecutor had not followed the required legal procedures. The court, therefore, ruled that Lacey and Larkin were arrested illegally.
$3.7 million Settlement
Jim and Mike received a settlement of $3.7 million which they used to create Frontera Fund. This is a unique initiative that takes the responsibility of protecting the Hispanic Community against civil rights abuse and racial discrimination. Mike and Jim distributed the funds received from the settlement to small nonprofit groups that fight for the rights of the Hispanic Community.
Rising Star: New Site Launch
Jim Larkin and Michael Lacey are two journalists, and entrepreneurs who write and publish their own news publications to bring information to inquiring people. They were arrested in 2007 by the law breaking tyrant, and the sheriff of Maricopa County, Arizona, for publishing information on the criminal activity of the sheriff, Joe Arpaio. When their First Amendment Rights were violated, the two men filed a lawsuit against the county, and the sheriff. They won the lawsuit, after a few years of litigation, and were awarded $3.7 million dollars. Instead of keeping this money for themselves, they used it to establish the Frontera Fund which is designed to help organizations who were helping in the fight for the civil, human, and migrant rights of Arizona citizens.
Larkin and Lacey continued their writing and publishing of newspapers, and online publications. Their focus is in the area of political injustices, and other main stream, conservative issues. They started the New Times, a weekly online newspaper with Lacey as executive editor, and Larkin in advertising. The paper grew in circulation to become among the top free weekly newspaper alternatives. They ultimately embraced the ownership of seventeen newspapers that circulated from the east to the west coast.
They just recently launched their newest endeavor, The Front Page Confidential. This is an online publication that lends itself to all matters that involve, or pertain to free speech. Larkin and Lacey have earned themselves the reputation of being hard core investigative reporters of their featured writing that has a magazine style format. They provide coverage food, music, arts, film, and other interesting local events. In recent calculations, the chain of publications had reached over fifty million online readers, and more than nine million print readers. They continue their success as advocates of the First Amendment Rights of all people.