Lacey and Larkin: Arpaio did not deserve a pardon
In 2007, Michael Lacey and Jim Larkin, the owners of the Village Voice Media, were arrested by Joe Arpaio. The arrest came after the Phoenix New Times, one of the papers owned by the Village Voice media published a story about a possible corruption case involving Arpaio. Read more: Lacey and Larkin Speak Out on Trump Pardon of Arpaio | Phoenix New Times and Jim Larkin and Michael Lacey Make The List of Civil Rights Protectors | Philly Purge
In the investigative story done by John Dougherty, it was revealed that Arpaio owned real estate property worth about $700,000. He had concealed the ownership of the property such that they could not easily be traced back to him and his wife. Read more: Lacey and Larkin Speak Out on Trump Pardon of Arpaio | Phoenix New Times and Jim Larkin | Crunchbase
The value of the property was too large compared to what he was earning from his position. Annually, he was making $78,000 raising queries on how he could have managed to own such a property legitimately.
It was revealed that Arpaio had used a clause in the Arizona Statue that allows law-enforcement agents to conceal their names from real estate records for their safety. The story about this issue was published by the Phoenix New Times, evoking protest from the sheriff.
Arpaio embarked on a retaliation mission. He wanted the Phoenix New times and the journalist to be punished for going against the statute. He regarded the story as an act of felony because the journalist had revealed the records of his real estate property hence making the sheriff unbearable to threats.
A grand jury was convened illegally by the sheriff to seek permission to search the Phoenix New Times. However, Lacey and Larkin got wind of the impending subpoena and decided to counter it with a story in the Phoenix New Times. They described the matter as “Breathtaking abuse of the Constitution.”
After the story was released to the public, the sheriff ordered his officer to arrest Lacey and Larkin for breaking the law by publishing information from a grand jury. They were charged with using secret information to defend oneself against accusations composed in secret.
The public response after news of the arrest broke out were furious. The mainstream media joined in the outcry forcing the county to release the two media owners and journalists. In less than 24 hours they were released and the cases facing them closed.
The county attorney described the arrest as “improper.” Larkin and Lacey did not take the matter lightly. They sued the state and won. They received a compensation of $3.75 million for the torture they underwent after the illegal arrest.
Michael Lacey and Jim Larkin have been using the funds they received from the state to fund the operations of groups that oppose harassment of immigrants in Arizona. They do not want to see any other person go through the percussion that immigrants during the time of Joe Arpaio had to go through.
Joe Arpaio was convicted in 2017 for cases related to racial profiling and was to serve a sentence of not less than six months. However, this did not happen as expected. President Trump recommended that Arpaio is given a pardon, a request that was validated by U.S District Judge Susan R. Bolton.