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Michael Lacey and Jim Larkin in the forefront in defending the first amendment rights

For anyone who has ever bothered to follow the United States politics and current affairs both at the regional and national stage, the recent presidential pardon that was controversially handed over to Mr. Joe Arpaio by President Donald Trump is a no-brainer. Mr. Joe Arpaio is a former Maricopa County Sheriff who happened to serve for more than 20 years with an iron fist especially when it came to matters immigration.

More than 10 years ago, Mr. Joe Arpaio ordered the agents from Maricopa County Selective Enforcement Unit to make illegal arrests of two media personalities for having exposed an ongoing grand jury investigation into some of his wrongful acts.

In the middle of the night, the law enforcers went to the homes Michael Lacey and Jim Larkin of Village Voice Newspaper and dragged them away in handcuffs humiliatingly.

At that time, Jim Larkin was the Chief Executive Officer of Village Voice Newspaper and Michael Lacey was the executive editor of the company. The Phoenix New Times, one of their publications had published damning reports on an ongoing grand jury investigation into the actions and deeds of the then Maricopa County Sherriff Mr. Joe Arpaio.

The duo did not take it all lying down, they went ahead to press charges against the sheriff and team for having infringed on their first amendment rights. After a long protracted legal battle that lasted for almost a decade, the two journalists prevailed in the court of appeals and the court awarded them more than $3.7 million in settlement which they used to set up the Frontera Fund.

The court found Mr. Joe Arpaio and his team guilty of arresting Mr. Michael Lacey and Mr. Jim Larkin without probable cause. The court actually went a step further to pronounce itself on the matter and said that the sheriff and team were motivated by the need to try and silence the journalists from speaking up against the sheriff and team’s misdeeds particularly to the people of Maricopa County who belong to the Latino and Hispanic communities. Read more: Michael Lacey | Facebook and Village Voice Media | Wikipedia

In late July 2017, the courts again found Mr. Joe Arpaio in criminal contempt and he was convicted. A few weeks later, Mr. Arpaio also lost his bid to be elected Sherriff for the 7th consecutive time. Many of his victims and opponents alike felt that it was finally time that Mr. Joe Arpaio paid his dues for all the transgressions he had committed on his fellow human beings.

However, there was a quick turn of events as the current United States President, Mr. Donald Trump moved in to accord him a presidential pardon shattering hopes of several individuals and their families and friends who have at one time or another found themselves on the wrong side of the said Sherriff.

The action from the president doesn’t come as a surprise as it is widely believed by many commentators to be as a result of their controversial past the two share particularly the famous birther movement which was spearheaded by Mr. Donald Trump and Mr. Joe Arpaio.

Learn more about Jim Larkin and Michael Lacey:

http://www.phillypurge.com/2017/06/23/jim-larkin-michael-lacey-make-the-list-of-civil-rights-protectors/ and http://www.laceyandlarkinfronterafund.org/about-lacey-larkin-frontera-fund/

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  • Danielle Gibson

    By right people should know what implications they bear on having some of the ideas that they currently have. I think knowledge of paper writer will help because it needs a coordinated approach to making the service come with some responsibilities. More than ever making the team take actions will help and create massive support that most people will love for their lives outside the rights that they seek.

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