The Phoenix New Times has long been a critic of notorious Arizona sheriff Joe Arpaio, who famously had a history of unfairly targeting Maricopa County’s Latino population. When the New Times received a subpoena demanding information about its staff and readership, ostensibly due to the publication of Arpaio’s home address by a writer who was investigating his real estate transactions, they suspected the real reason was their opposition to the sheriff. Although the document warned that legal action would be taken if the New Times published it, two of the newspaper’s executives, Michael Lacey and Jim Larkin, did just that. In response, they were arrested in their homes and taken to a jail overseen by Arpaio. Although the outrage that resulted from the arrests forced officials to release the pair later the same day, their ordeal was far from over. Five years later, the Ninth Circuit Court ruled that Lacey’s and Larkin’s arrests were unjustified and their first First Amendment rights had been violated. They were awarded a $3.75 million settlement from Maricopa County.
Lacey and Larkin decided to give that money back to the community they had always championed. First, they founded the Frontera Fund, an organization dedicated to fighting discrimination against the Latino population and awarding grants to Latino rights groups. They also founded Front Page Confidential, a news site that informs the public about current events threatening the First Amendment. Although Arpaio was triumphantly voted out of office in 2016, discrimination against the Latino population and violations against freedom of speech continue, but through these services, Lacey and Larkin hope to do their own small part to reverse the tide however and wherever possible.