A crooked sheriff, two vigilant journalists, and a scheme to silence the media may sound like the plot of a discount detective novel, but the story of Larkin and Lacey actually happened. This story isn’t about the how or the why, it’s more about the right and wrong. Read more: Village Voice Media | Wikipedia
Michael Lacey and Jim Larkin were two journalists and the founders of a small town news paper. They ran the truth and saw nothing wrong with informing the public about the goings on in their small town. No one was off limits, not even the Sheriff. This is where they ran into trouble.
See the good sheriff, Joe Arpaio, didn’t take too kindly to the pair revealing the existence of grand jury proceedings that requested notes from journalists that had recently covered the sheriff in articles. He had Larkin and Lacey arrested in the middle of the night and jailed them unjustly.
What happened next was like something out of a movie. The sheriff had picked the wrong journalists to mess with. Shortly after their release from jail, they brought a lawsuit against the county and won. The hefty sum of $3.75 million was awarded them along with the case.
It isn’t surprising that they won. Journalists are a rare breed that don’t give up and also know their rights. The first amendment of the Constitution of the United States clearly protects the right to the freedom of speech. No one can be persecuted or punished for the words that leave their mouths or for the written expression of their ideals and beliefs.
The sheriff was clearly violating Larkin’s and Lacey’s first amendment rights and he paid the price for it. But, justice didn’t stop with the sheriff. The Lacey and Larkin Frontera fund was made possible by the funds won from the lawsuit. The organization is dedicated to protecting and preserving the civil, human, and migrant rights as well as defending the first amendment and civic participation all throughout Arizona including the Mexican Border.
The pair has a message that they would like to spread across the country as well.
There will be times when people abuse the system and will try and infringe upon your rights protected by the Constitution, in these situations it’s important to know that organizations such as the Frontera Fund exist to help you stand up and defend your rights. Power and money doesn’t give anyone the right to ignore the Constitution.