Defending the First Amendment
The public needs to know, and the public has a right to know. The public has a right to expression, and the public has a right to privacy. Grand jury laws may bar some individuals and institutions from dispersing some information, and there limit the public’s right to know.
However, such a limitation is a special case and deserves special situations. Such special situations that may limit the public’s right to know may constitute scenarios where the public is not a stakeholder or where obvious harm would come to the public for knowing.
Grand juries have the right, therefore, to challenge the public’s right to know. The public also has the right to challenge a grand jury’s determination of whether or not it may be privy to some information.
This is the basis of which Larkin and Lacey were wrongfully arrested and charged back in 2007. It is the same basis upon which Maricopa County defended itself in a lawsuit that ensued after the arbitrary arrest. It is still the basis upon which Maricopa County lost the lawsuit, got fined punitive damages of 3.75 million dollars, and got its officials fired.
Larkin and Lacey are veteran reporters who have found themselves on the wrong side of the law frequently for protecting their sources. The two attest that the First Amendment of the American Constitution is what has always protected them from abrasive Arizona State officials.
They claim that it is the same First Amendment that guarantees everyone in the United States a right to be heard and to be different. The two have always been adamant in their fights for the First Amendment, and continue to be avid ambassadors of it.
For the gross violation of the First Amendment, affiliates of the Phoenix Times have been known to use any legal and civil means to viciously rebuke and expose the former Maricopa County Sheriff, Joe Arpaio. Read more:Michael Larcey | Twitter
A reporter at the Phoenix Times initiated the onslaught against the corrupt county law enforcer before 2005. Under his bylines, the Phoenix Times published an article raising questions about Mr. Arpaio’s integrity in handling the county’s funds.
The article cited that although the Sheriff’s annual wages summed up to 72,000 dollars; he had made an investment of 690,000 dollars in cash to the local commercial real estate market. The reporter left the Phoenix Times for better career prospects and his bosses, Larkin and Lacey, took up the investigative journalistic case as it appeared worth the while.
The two media personalities had founded the Village Voice Media to supplement the major roles they played in the Phoenix Times. It was easy for them to note that more than 60 inmates had died Maricopa County jails, under the sheriff’s custody.
The deaths had been caused by treatable illnesses that were indicative of abuse, negligence, and exposure to inhumane and dirty conditions. Further investigation unearthed conclusive evidence that the sheriff had been abusing his office to settle personal scores. He had also been accustomed to racially profiling Hispanics and raiding their homes without warranties.
The lawsuit lasted five years as the litigation dragged all the way to the ninth U.S Circuit of Appeals where justice was finally served.
The duo remitted the 3.75 awarded to them as compensation to the Larkin and Lacey Frontera Fund, an initiative meant to safeguard the Phoenix Hispanic community from abuse as well as the First Amendment across the country.