Lacey & Larkin Still Fighting To Protect First Amendment

Michael Lacey and Jim Larkin won’t soon forgot the behavior of disgraced former Maricopa County sheriff Joe Arpaio. Under the orders of Arpaio, the Maricopa County Selective Enforcement Unit sent Lacey and Larkin out of their homes and in handcuffs over releasing the details of an investigation. The two had done an article for the Phoenix New Times on the grand-jury probe.

Arpaio’s actions were done in response to coverage the New Times had provided for years. The publication exposed Arpaio and his department for egregious offenses that seemed to be swept under the rug. One of the many lawsuits brought on by Arpaio’s actions was due to the shackling of an expectant mother during a childbirth. Prisoners in Arpaio’s jails committed suicide at an alarming rate. Learn more about Jim Larkin: and

When Arpaio realized his orders to arrest Lacey and Larkin was a gross violation of the First Amendment, a press conference was held within 24 hours to announce the journalists had been freed and the case was closed. Five years later, Maricopa County paid $3.75 million to the journalists as a result of a settlement. Lacey and Larkin used the money to create the Frontera Fund. The mission of the fund is to protect and uphold the rights of migrants and immigrants.

Back in November, Arpaio lost his position as sheriff after being denied a seventh term by voters. He was then found guilty of criminal contempt. President Donald Trump wasted little time ignoring the misdeeds and pardoned Arpaio. This saved the former sheriff from a potential prison sentence.

All the way back in 1972, Lacey and Larkin teamed up to create the Phoenix New Times. It was created to counter extreme conservative media coverage. Lacey served as the executive editor, while Larkin worked on the advertising. The outlet went from a campus weekly to the nation’s top alternate newspaper. The New Times grew at such a rate that it was able to buy Westword, which was the news-and-arts weekly out of Denver. Read more: Jim Larkin | and Jim Larkin | Crunchbase

Village Voice Media Holdings had gained a reputation for providing investigative coverage. This was in large part due to the commitment of Lacey and Larkin to protect the First Amendment.

The end of 2012 saw Lacey and Larkin sell Village Voice Media Holdings. The company had maintained roughly nine million print readers monthly. A whopping 56 million monthly readers were online. On top of that success, it also earned a Pulitzer Prize.