The Power of the Media: Larkin & Lacey and Sheriff Joe

Journalists and co-owners of the media outlet Village Voice Jim Larkin and Michael Lacey gained national attention for serving 24 days in prison on what were later determined to be false charges stemming from the singular fact that they performed their jobs as journalists. Read more: Michael Lacey | Crunchbase and Larkin and Lacey Fruntera Fund | Crunchbase

They were reporting on the racially-motivated misdeeds of Arizona’s Maricopa County sheriff, Joe Arpaio, when Arpaio decided to lock them up on basically made-up charges. This incarceration caused a national outrage and got attention on Arpaio that he didn’t want.

Larkin and Lacey were charged with obstructing a Grand jury convened by Arpaio. They ran a news story on the secret Grand Jury, which Arpaio attempted to turn into obstruction. The Grand Jury had been called to investigate Larkin and Lacey, whom Arpaio hoped to imprison as a way of silencing them.

This was why the two found themselves in prison: Reporting on a Grand Jury that never should have been convened, which was convened to investigate them despite there being no real reason to do so.

Arpaio defended his actions in arresting the two, and continues to do so to this day. After their 24 days in Arpaio’s prisons, Larkin and Lacey were freed by a judges order, who threw out the charges against them and disbanded the Grand Jury on the grounds it was formed illegally.

Larkin and Lacey filed suit against Maricopa County, and won a multi-million dollar settlement. They used this money to start the Frontera Fund, which is a non-profit that seeks to protect the First Amendment rights of Americans, specifically Latinos, the group most harshly targeted by Arpaio’s policies. Learn more about Jim Larkin and Michael Lacey: http://releasefact.com/2017/09/jim-larkin-and-michael-lacey-continue-fight-for-latino-rights-after-pardoning-of-joe-arpaio/ and https://thenewsversion.com/2017/08/the-fall-of-sheriff-joe-arpaio-after-jim-larkin-and-michael-lacey-controversy/

The two continue to speak out against Arpaio, referring people to their breadth of back-reporting as well as continuing to investigate and expose Arpaio’s corruption. Their reporting was partially responsible for Arpaio’s 2016 election loss, when he was voted out of office instead of winning his seventh consecutive term. Arpaio was then brought up on charges and, despite maintaining his innocence of any wrongdoing, convicted.

Before Arpaio could be sentenced for his conviction, President Donald Trump pardoned him. Arpaio had been one of the first to endorse Trump’s run for president, and Trump may have been returning the favor.

Arpaio then launched a bid to succeed John McCain in the U.S. Senate. He failed to gain the Republican nomination for the November election despite being enthusiastically endorsed by President Donald Trump