The very first pardon that Donald Trump doled out was to Joe Arpaio, the former sheriff of Maricopa County in Arizona. He billed himself as the toughest sheriff in the United States and showed a great deal of disdain for following the law which isn’t the good kind of ironic thing for a sheriff.
He committed a lot of terrible acts when he was sheriff including making the decision to wrongfully imprison two local journalists, Michael Lacey and Jim Larkin.
These two journalists had been reporting on the happenings in Maricopa County since 1972. Joe Arpaio was a frequent target of their as he regularly flaunted the law. Learn more about Jim Larkin and Jim Larkin: http://www.laceyandlarkinfronterafund.org/about-lacey-larkin-frontera-fund/michael-lacey/ and https://michael-lacey.com/
Despite being told numerous times it was illegal to arrest people he thought could possibly be in the country illegally he would continue to do so, for instance. He also operated what he called Tent City where he would keep inmates outdoors in the extreme Arizona conditions with some dying from exposure.
Arpaio didn’t like this type of stuff being reported on so he decided to target the owners of the New Phoenix Times who regularly did so, Michael Lacey and Jim Larkin.
The journalists had gotten hold of the proceedings of a grand jury which they decided to publish in New Phoenix Times. Joe Arpaio had them arrested for this and thrown in jail. They were released after a period of time of incarceration and all charges were dropped. Read more: Michael Lacey | Twitter and Michael Lacey | LinkedIn
They made the decision to file a first amendment lawsuit and a judge awarded them almost $4 million in damages. Rather than keep this money they used it to help Hispanic people who face a lot of discrimination in Arizona. This money is doled out through the Frontera Fund and it is provided to Hispanic nonprofits across the state.
Michael Lacey is originally from New Jersey. He moved to Arizona for college but dropped out in his first year. Jim Larkin grew up in Phoenix and was also a college dropout, leaving Arizona State University. They decided to form an alternative newspaper because they saw that the media outlets in Phoenix were very conservative and wouldn’t report the truth about a lot of things. The New Phoenix Times launched in 1972 and it continues to this day to cover social and political issues.
As the owners of the Phoenix New Times, Michael Lacey and Jim Larkin built up a network of 17 alternative newspapers across the country which was eventually named Village Voice.
They sold this company in 2012 to some of the executives that had worked for them for years. At the time they left Village Voice it had 9 million print readers and 56 million views each month online.
They are now practicing journalism on a new website, Front Page Confidential. The primary focus of this website is on providing articles about threats to free speech and other first amendment rights. This website was launched in 2017 and already has a large number of people using it as one of their sources of news and opinion.