Larkin and Lacey

He was nicknamed America’s toughest Sherrif. Yes, over the course of his six-term tenure, Sheriff Joe Arpaio had earned quite the reputation, but it was far from one of tough love.

In fact, if you ask former owners of Voice Media, Michael Lacey and Jim Larkin, they will likely tell you that it was a reign of terror. And they should know because these two individuals experienced Arpaio’s brand of justice first hand.

It was no secret, the New Times’, Larkin and Lacey’s Pheonix publication, was dedicated to exposing the truth behind Arpaio’s antics. They openly admit to being a thorn in the Sheriff’s side, often showing up to press conferences only to be banned by Arpaio or threatened with arrests. But nonetheless, they persisted and often were able to uncover many of his scandals.

The New Times would warn the Maricopa County citizens of how their elected Sherriff was chiefly responsible for the mistreatment of prisoners–feeding them rotted fruit and molded bologna. They would sound the alarm about the humiliation and degradation forced upon them–being made to wear pink underwear and give birth while shackled to their beds.

The publication would even tell of the wrongful deaths that followed denied medication and suffocation by restraint chairs. However, the New Times publication Arpaio’s residential address is what would catch the Sherrif’s attention and give Larkin and Lacey an up close and personal view of his jail system. Read more: Michael Lacey | Facebook and Village Voice Media | Wikipedia

In 2004 John Dougherty, an investigative reporter for the New Times, would publish an article revealing that Arpaio was concealing over $700,000 worth of commercial real estate property. The article centered around the misappropriation of jail funds and happened to include Arpaio’s home address.

Over the next 3 years, the Sheriff would work to have the reporter prosecuted for violating a law which violated his personal safety. And when given a subpoena, Larkin and Lacey published an article on the injustice that was taking place–including the contents of the subpoena.

Larkin and Lacey were taken into custody for revealing grand jury secrets, i.e. the details of the subpoena. However, once the word spread, there was a public outpouring of outrage. In fact, the news was picked up by large publications such as USA today.

Eventually, Maricopa’s attorney, a staunch supporter and advocate of Arpaio, was forced to close the case and deem it an improper arrest. The CEO and executive editor would win a settlement of $3.75 million for the ordeal.

Around the same time, Medrea v Arpaio, a class-action suit which was filed against the Sheriff for the racial profiling of Latinos, ended with a settlement of $70 million. And Arpaio was ordered to make reforms.

However, after failing to comply with the judge’s ruling, he was found in contempt of court. Had Donald Trump not intervened and pardoned Arpaio, one of the biggest supporters of his presidential candidacy, he would have served at least 6 months.

Larkin and Lacey no longer own Voice Media; it was sold years ago. However, they are putting their settlement to good use and have started the Lacey and Larkin Frontera Fund.

This organization gives grants to migrant-rights organizations in the state of Arizona. They’ve also started a new publication named Front Page Confidential.

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