Armed deputies from the “Selective Enforcement Unit” of Maricopa County governed by Sheriff Joe Arpaio arrested Jim Larkin and Mike Lacey on October 18, 2007. The two reporters were removed out of their homes in Phoenix and ushered into SUVs with Mexican number plates and dark tinted windows. The two were taken to two separate jails all under Sheriff Joe. The arrest orders were given by the sheriff who referred to himself as “America’s Toughest Sheriff.” The sheriff was angered by news reports from the Phoenix Times that uncovered his evil deeds.
The Phoenix Times reported on the sheriff’s male-controlled role of instilling and posing political superiority in Arizona. The newspaper also exposed the mismanagement and financial irregularities that were rampant in the Arpaio’s office. Moreover, the newspaper covered reports on the mistreatments and death if inmates, illegal detention and racial profiling of Latinos.
Larkin and Lacey were arrested because of their story at Phoenix New Times that showed how Arpaio violated the constitution. The sheriff’s friends at the office of the Attorney of Maricopa County had issued orders seeking personal details of writer and editors. Larkin and Lacey were later on released after spending 24 hours in jail.
The Maricopa county sued the two Phoenix Time co-founded. The lawsuit basis was on the First Amendment rights and abuse of power. The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals termed the grand jury order of seeking private information of writers and editors of the Phoenix News Times invalid. This is because the prosecutor had violated certain legal procedures in the act. In 2013, the appellate court ordered the Maricopa County to pay Larkin and Lacey a settlement fee of $3.7 million for the illegal detention.
Jim Larkin and Mike Lacey used all the settlement money paid to them to establish the Lacey and Larkin Frontera Fund. The fund organization was set to help the Hispanic community that suffered racial profiling in Arizona. The organization also funds other non-profit organizations that fight for the immigration and civil rights of the Hispanic community. The organization is still continuing to help fight for the rights of the Hispanic people.