Even though there have been multiple presidential pardons that were considered unusual and controversial, the most recent one has in effect cause ripples throughout the nation because of its effect on the social discourse we live in. President Trump granted his first pardon to America’s strictest sheriff of Maricopa County, Arizona, Joe Araio.
While his reputation carries a sense of notoriety, his most vengeful acts all stem around the wrongful imprisonment of Jim Larkin and Michael Lacey, the owners of Village Voice.
It was 10 years ago that Maricopa County Selective Enforcement Unit agents arrested Larkin, the CEO of Village Voice Media, and Lacey, the executive director.
On the same day of the arrest, they published an article that discussed a particular poll being conducted by the grand jury against Village voice media publication, which is the Phoenix New Times. Unknowingly of them, it was them that the grand jury had been investigating.
It could be said that the investigation was fueled by Arpaio’s frustration with the frequent coverage concerning his excessively aggressive law enforcement tactics he used from the moment he obtained his seat in office in 1992.
The infamous Tent City, along with various cases brought against women, immigrants and inmates had been the top of the conversations for different publications who decided to report on it. Read more: Jim Larkin | LinkedIn and Jim Larkin | Angel.co
While the sheriff appeared before United States District Judge Murray Snow and which it was declared that Arpaio violated the constitutional rights of immigrants he detained, most of these situations were addressed out of the public’s sight or knowledge prior to 2011.
13 years ago, a lawsuit filed against him brought those case back to the surface in which case Arpaio was finally charged for violating the rights of immigrants, especially those of Latino background.
Nonetheless, the more he remained defiant against the charges while proceeding with profiling Latinos, the more attention the issue gained from reporters.
This is when Lacey and Larkin began investigating the circumstances in which case they exposed the dirty work of Arpaio to the nation. On multiple occasions, they wrote about instances he wears involved in which field confrontations between them and Arpio’s department.
As a result, these two men were arrested after being specifically targeted by a dedicated prosecution team that formed the grand jury reporting on Phoenix New Times .
After 24 days in prison, Lacey and Larkin were released and immediately filed a lawsuit against Arpaio the lawsuit, which would reveal additional information suggesting violations of malpractice and corruption, was quietly settled for $3.7 million.
About Jim Larkin
Jim Larking attended Arizona State University, but he dropped out in 1972 in order to join Michael Lacey and serve as the CEO for the Phoenix New Times.
This weekly campus publication existed to give voice to the ultraconservative voice of anti-war students who often protested. By focusing on the advertising side of the publication, Larkin was able to expand its’ circulation while growing the audience through expiration of various political and social issues in which allowed the paper to gain more prominence.
Larkin, with his partner, created the Lacey & Larkin Frontera Fund, which they funded with the $3.75 million they received from the Maricopa County lawsuit.
About Michael Lacey
As the executive editor of the Phoenix New Times who was born the son of a construction worker, Lacey dropped out of college in 1970 from Arizona State University in order to respond to local media coverage published about the antiwar protests that took place on campus.
After running the publication for four decades, Lacey and Larking sold their business to company executives in 2012. At that time, Village voice Media Holdings the company they so, had garnered 56 million online viewers, 9 million readers of their print publication, and had accumulated dozens of journalistic honors, which includes the Pulitzer Prize.
After the sale, Lacey now runs a website called Front Page Confidential, which aims to protect the first amendment and the right to free speech.
Learn more about Jim Larkin and Michael Lacey: https://michael-lacey.com/ and http://www.laceyandlarkinfronterafund.org/about-lacey-larkin-frontera-fund/michael-lacey/