Michael Lacey and Jim Larkin: Report Them, Try Them


It is difficult to reason with some people, especially those with particular biases like racists. Some people who get drunk with power for wielding law enforcement tenures have been known to be high-headed and abrasive.

Yet, if what they do is wrong, they cannot be allowed to prevail: justice always prevails. However, justice always has to be fought for and many people have done so before. There have been groups and individuals that advocate for civil, human and migrant rights before but Larkin and Lacey brought a different edge to do it.

The two human rights activists and veteran journalists took on the oppressive and racist Arpaio reign of tyranny through first reporting its abuse of office and then trying them in courts of law.

For the offense of abusing human rights of immigrants and any critics of his, Sheriff Joe Arpaio came under the scrutiny of the keen eyes of Michael Lacey and Jim Larkin. The two journalists founded the Phoenix Times and then founded the Village Voice Media as its alternative weekly newspaper.

They had also had their fair share of legal trouble for always protecting their sources. The resilient journalists, highly regarded among media personalities from Arizona, conducted their investigations as objectively they could. Read more: Phoenix New Time and Village Voice Media | Wikipedia

They concluded, with comprehensive evidence, that the sheriff was indeed responsible for the suffering of a majority of all members of minority communities. They decided to report the flagrant abuse of the First Amendment of the Constitution that they had observed and investigated in a bid to prevent the sheriff from perpetrating further abuse.

Unfortunately, as stated before, biased minds are difficult to rehabilitate and should be disallowed to operate any public office. True to his nature, Sheriff Joe Arpaio reacted abrasively to his latest critics. Just like he did with other critics who had dared challenge him, he went on to harass Larkin and Lacey with ill-conjured subpoenas. Learn more about Jim Larkin and Michael Lacey: http://www.bizjournals.com/phoenix/potmsearch/detail/submission/6427818/Michael_Lacey

The subpoenas were out rightly in contravention of the First Amendment of the American Constitution. In those subpoenas, the sheriff demanded that the Phoenix Times and Village Voice Media surrender their journalist notes and their sources regarding the publications they had made on corruption his office.

The sheriff also demanded private browsing history of all the people who read the articles on the newspapers’’ websites, including their IP addresses. Lacey and Larkin, true to the American Constitution and their journalist ethics, chose to protect their sources and readership. They declined to comply and were arrested for it.

They sued for wrongful arrest and malicious harassment. The trial could have been averted if the sheriff and his cronies, special prosecutor Dennis Wilenchik and Maricopa County Attorney Andrew Thomas, did not attempt to arm-twist the local media.

Journalists try to report cases to make situations better and some try those who persecute them for it in civil litigation. Larkin and Lacey did exactly that. They exposed the errant law enforcer of

  • The wrongful deaths of over 60 jail inmates who died in his custody due to criminal negligence,
  • The habit he had to intimidate his critics with unjust detentions,
  • Racial profiling of Hispanics,
  • And financial misappropriation of county funds.

By stubbornly issuing unconstitutional subpoenas and making arrests based on personal feuds, the sheriff attracted more liability for himself and his employer, Maricopa County. The sheriff got indicted and Maricopa County was ordered to compensate the duo with 3.75 million dollars.

Larkin and Lacey used the money to found and to fund the Larkin and Lacey Frontera Fund to further report on any abuse of human rights and to try those who perpetrate such abuse.