Larkin and Lacey Frontera Fund came into existence when its two co-founders Jim Larkin and Michael Lacey were arrested on October 18th, 2007. The two had been wrongfully arrested for exposing the Grand Jury subpoenas which were targeting the Phoenix New Times editors, writers, and readers.
The arrest was initiated and carried out by Joe Arpaio, a Maricopa County Sheriff, who turns out is anti-immigrant. The two were released less than 24 hours later due to the public outcry that resulted in the illegal arrest.
The subpoenas were also removed therefore ending the Grand Jury’s inquiry into the paper. After an investigation was launched, the Grand Jury’s warrants were discovered to be fake and were issued by a prosecutor who had a vengeful vendetta towards the paper and did not follow the right legal channels.
Michael Lacey and Jim Larkin sued the county for the violation of their first amendment rights and illegal detainment and on 2013; the county paid the two journalists a total amount of 3.7 million dollars to settle the lawsuit. In 2014, the two started the Lacey and Larkin Frontera Fund, an organization whose primary goal is to fight for the rights of immigrants throughout the US.
The organization also works to fund and support non-profit organizations that fight for the rights of Latinos and Hispanics. It has helped many immigrants who have been discriminated against by law enforcement officers and public officials both directly and indirectly. Learn more about Jim Larkin and Michael Lacey: https://about.me/michael-lacey and http://www.laceyandlarkinfronterafund.org/
In 2012 The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeal ruled that Joe Arpaio and his office had used their power to arrest and fight his critics, which was illegal. This was proven in the case of Phoenix New Times, the local Newspaper that had published several articles against Arpaio and his corrupt policies resulting in him targeting the two journalists. His office also targeted and unlawfully harassed Latino and Hispanic drivers.
During the end of 2017, President Donald Trump pardoned Arpaio few weeks before he was to be sentenced. U.S. District Court Judge Susan Bolton dismissed and closed the case arguing that it was nullified due to the presidential pardon and rejected most of the presented legal arguments including some that were presented by a group of democratic congress members.
Michael and Jim have spoken against this action stating that it was wrong for the president to pardon Arpaio due to the crimes he has committed during the 24 years he has served as the county sheriff. The two are however hoping that in future people who commit crimes such as racial-profiling and harassing immigrants will be brought to justice.
Despite the presidential pardon, the two have continued to fight for immigrants’ rights. They believe that the good that is done by the Frontera Fund will help cancel out the damage that Joe Arpaio has caused to the Arizona community.
Michael and Jim have decided to return to journalism and have launched a website the Front Page Confidential that will be a platform that covers threats to the first amendment and free speech.