Jim Larkin & Michael Lacey: Defending First Amendment Rights For All

The Phoenix New Times, a publication run by Michael Lacey and Jim Larkin, was initially created as a response to the uber-conservative publications in the area. Lacey functioned as executive editor while Jim Larkin was CEO and highly focused on driving progress through advertising.

Growth did not take long for the duo and their free, spirited weekly publication. It was quickly among the ranks of the most popular alternative newspapers in the country. The fact that the First Amendment was near and dear to the hearts of Lacey and Larkin was easy to see.

One of the topics that the Arizona publication covered involved the tactics of Sheriff Joe Arpaio. The sheriff was cited as having been racially profiling Latin American citizens, as well as illegal immigrants. He was also becoming known throughout the country for his atypical tent city prison conditions. Learn more about Jim Larkin and Michael Lacey: https://michael-lacey.com/press/ and http://www.laceyandlarkinfronterafund.org/about-lacey-larkin-frontera-fund/jim-larkin/

The tent city prison system has been noted to evoke strong feelings in American citizens. Many find it admirable to run a system for prisoners that reflects a time when manual labor and comforts afforded in current prisons were not the norm.

A large group citing opposition to such abnormal behavior for current times have been quite vocal as well. Having exposed what they believed to be abuse of power through Arpaio’s position as sheriff, the sheriff then began to experience conflict with the owners and employees of the publication.

On October 18, 2007 the Phoenix New Times revealed that there existed a list of grand jury subpoenas pursuing the editors and writers of the paper and, most shockingly, its readers as well.

Michael Lacey and Jim Larkin were arrested in their respective homes on that day and immediately jailed. Joe Arpaio, well-known for his unusual tactics as acting sheriff of Maricopa County, Arizona, was the individual who initiated and executed the arrests.

Local public and even widespread groups in other areas rallied against the arrest and all charges were dropped. In fact, all of the subpoenas were eliminated; therefore, putting a swift finish to the inquiries of the intended grand jury.

Lacey and Larkin brought suit against Maricopa County and won $3.75 million in a settlement for wrongful arrest. The gentlemen used the settlement money to create the Frontera Fund. The Frontera Fund is a group which assists in the protection of Latino rights and the First Amendment rights of all citizens. Read more: Lacey and Larkin Frontera Fund and Michael Lacey | Crunchbase

Arpaio ran a campaign for sheriff again, but did not win re-election. In fact, despite the revelation of many misdeeds and a charge of criminal contempt, Arpaio was pardoned by President Donald Trump.

An early supporter of Trump, there were hints dropped in a campaign speech that such a pardon might occur if President Trump were to be elected. As the pardon is now completely official, it may be an interesting road ahead for Arpaio.

While he certainly has a group of supporters, there are many sources making known his misdeeds in hopes of successfully curbing Arpaio’s agenda for good.