In 2013, a U.S. District Judge found that Sherrif Joe Arpaio was guilty of racial profiling, and on a grand scale. Those involved in the class action suit in the case of Melendres v. Arpaio case were awarded $70 million.
Arpaio was subsequently found in contempt of court after not following the judge’s instructions resulting in a 6-month jail sentence.
However, this outcome came as little surprise to the citizens of Maricopa County. Arpaio had served as sheriff for 24 long years and he had managed to accumulate a long laundry list of allegations, from illegally diverting millions of dollars in funds to being the main source of the wrongful deaths of his prisoners. Learn more about Jim Larkin and Michael Lacey: http://james-larkin.com/ and http://james-larkin.com/about/
But some may say that this victory was short-lived. Due to his pardoning by President Donald Trump, Arpaio never served any of his time. And many believe that this is because each party had something to gain from the other.
While it’s possible that Arpaio backed the president during his election because he wanted to be pardoned, it is also possible that Donald Trump pardoned Arpaio because he wanted to appeal to voters who were similar to the former sheriff.
This is certainly the theory of Jim Larkin and Michael Lacey, the founders of the Phoenix New Times. They got their start on an Arizona State University campus paper but later dropped out.
However, the paper continued to grow and eventually matured into a coast-to-coast chain–one composed of 17 publications. Lacey was the executive editor of Village Voice Media and Larkin was the CEO.
Larkin and Lacey have a very close history with Arpaoi. In fact, they have always been quick to point out his smear campaigns and abuse of power. They were well-informed about the less than edible food that he fed prisoners and the pregnant women whom he allowed to give birth while in handcuffs.
Despite Arpaoi’s network of allies and deputized, citizen posse, they pressed for answers and made him the center of many of their publication. However, there was one publication in general that would strike a chord with the sheriff and lead to their arrest.
This publication talked about Arpaio’s illegal commercial property with over $700,000. What caused Arpaio to press felony charges against their publication’s investigative reporter was the fact that his home addressed was mentioned.
Larkin and Lacy received a subpoena which they deemed unconstitutional and while waiting for the trial, they published a piece which discussed the sheriff’s abuse of power. However, it also discussed the details of the subpoena which Arpaio categorized as a criminal offense.
The two were both arrested and then charged with misdemeanors. The story eventually made national headlines and caught the attention of major news networks, which led to a severe public outcry. Maricopa’s county attorney closed the case and Larkin and Lacey were awarded $3.75 million by the county. Read more: Phoenix New Times | Wikipedia and Jim Larkin | Crunchbase
Larkin and Lacey used this money to start their own fund–the Lacey and Larkin Frontera Fund, mean to organizations that are advocates for migrant-rights throughout Arizona.
They no longer own Voice Media Group; they sold it. However, they are returning to journalism through their newest publication, Front Page Confidential. Their goal is to advocate for free speech and the First Amendment.