13 votes

Journalists Win $3.75 Million Settlement Against Sheriff Joe Arpaio For False Arrests


Notorious Arizona Sheriff Joe Arpaio is back in the news again, this time as the grand loser of a $3.75 million settlement to New Times co-founders Michael Lacey and Jim Larkin for their false arrests in 2007. The story between New Times and Sheriff Joe Arpaio, however, begins in 2004.

Writing for New Times at the time, reporter John Dougherty started digging into Arpaio’s numerous commercial real estate transactions. He wondered how a county sheriff carried enough revenue to invest in so much property and why all of the transactions were hidden from the public.

Included in one of Dougherty’s articles on the sheriff was Arpaio’s home address — his one piece of property publicly listed, easily found on a number of government websites. The question then loomed:

Why would Arpaio list his private home, potentially risking his family’s safety, yet keep his commercial properties hidden?

Eventually Andrew Thomas took office as Maricopa County Attorney. At that time, some ten months after Arpaio’s home address had been published in a New Times article by John Dougherty, Arpaio requested charges be brought against the publication for making public information public, basing it on an old state law that bars publishing such information if a “timely threat” to a public servant is imminent.

Again, why then would Arpaio publically list his home address and not his commercial property if he fears a “timely threat”?

To sour the sheriff’s cream a bit more, a Maricopa County Attorney’s Office panel declined to prosecute New Times. In the ten months it took for Arpaio to bring charges against Lacey and Larkin, no such “timely threat” occurred, rendering Arpaio’s argument invalid from the start. The Pinal County Attorney’s Office also later declined to prosecute the publication, lacking evidence and butting up against serious First Amendment issues.

Fast forward two and a half years later and Arpaio’s still carrying that grudge, still working that revenge plot like a convict scheming his next big score once released from the pen. Arpaio conspires with County Attorney Andrew Thomas to appoint Phoenix attorney Dennis Wilenchick as a “special prosecutor” for the sole purpose of starting a New Times witch hunt.

Wilenchick goes after New Times with fervor, allegedly issuing a grand jury’s subpoenas for notes, records, sources of the publication’s reporters and editors for every story relating to Arpaio over a vast stretch of time, including, even, perhaps most disturbingly, the IP addresses for all those having read any of the Arpaio stories. That’s right, folks! Arizona sheriff Joe Arpaio — that crazy anti-immigrant power-monger out west — may have even spied on you, yourself!

Shortly thereafter, Superior Court Judge Anna Baca, presiding over county grand juries then, scolded Wilenchick for attempting to arrange a secret meeting with her regarding the settlement. Baca called Wilenchick’s approach, “absolutely inappropriate”. Fed up with the gross abuse and harassment by Sheriff Arpaio, Lacey and Larkin released a new article through New Times titled, “Grand Jury Targets New Times And Its Readers” (now titled, “Breathtaking Abuse Of The Constitution“).

That same night as the article’s release brought Arpaio’s deputies to the cofounders’ doors, arresting them in the middle of the night in front of their families for allegedly violating grand jury secrecy — a misdemeanor requiring far less dramatic police action than Arpaio ordered. To frost the cake, that “grand jury” supposedly violated turned out to have never even convened.

The backlash that quickly rose the following day, once the public and media caught wind of it, resulted in County Attorney Thomas firing Wilenchick and announcing that the investigation had been closed. Superior Court Judge Baca then stepped back in to affirm that the grand jury subpoenas were invalid due to Wilenchick issuing them himself without notifying or gaining approval from an actual grand jury, or from the court, itself.

Arpaio, of course, along with his loyal sidekick Wilenchick, attempted to seek immunity from prosecution for their gross misconduct, but as of June 9, 2011, they were unsuccessful for obvious reasons. County Attorney Thomas, however, escaped liability due to protections offered by his position when the violations occurred. How fortunate for him, eh? He is, however, currently disbarred.

Co-founder of New Times Michael Lacey is happy with the settlement but still, frankly, stunned by all of it.

It was outrageous! Where in America do you arrest journalists for what they write?

Lacey and Larkin made the following statements in a longer press release regarding the conclusion of the settlement:

Unlike most of Arpaio’s victims, we had the financial wherewithal to defend ourselves in court, and we were able to speak through the newspaper. But the vulnerable and impoverished victims of Arpaio’s ongoing abusive practices have neither the money nor the voice to fight back. We intend to use proceeds from today’s settlement to help those who fight the good fight against government actors who attack the most vulnerable among us. We further intend to help an organization that seeks to preserve and protect free speech on the Internet.

Our decision to settle this case rather than demand our day in court is largely motivated by the knowledge that nothing that can come from a trial will speak as clearly and with as much binding legal force as the Ninth Circuit’s landmark decision in Lacey v. Arpaio.

In a scathing opinion, the appeals court scolded Arpaio and Wilenchik for retaliating against a free press, for grand jury abuse, for false arrest, and for a variety of other conduct. The Court served notice that thuggish behavior by police and prosecutors against journalists strikes at the heart of the Constitution…

As nearly as we can tell, the last American journalist arrested for something he’d written was John Peter Zenger, and that was prior to the American Revolution.

Before his reign of terror subsided, the Sheriff would become notorious nationally for rounding up immigrants as well as for attacks upon the judiciary.

County officials could have curtailed the abuses of the Sheriff years ago… Instead, they looked the other way until Arpaio’s excesses moved from Mexicans to magistrates. With these cash grants, we choose to stand with those who resist.

Toward this end, we will make grants from settlement funds to the following organizations: the American Civil Liberties Union of Arizona, which has successfully litigated against the racial profiling abuses of Sheriff Arpaio’s roundup of Hispanic immigrants; the Florence Project, which defends immigrants detained in confinement; and the grassroots, migrant rights group Puente. We will also be contributing to the Electronic Frontier Foundation, which has taken the lead nationally in fighting in the courts against government intrusion on Internet speech and privacy rights.

The Maricopa County Board of Supervisors voted unanimously Friday to approve of the settlement in Lacey and Larkin’s favor. Click here to read Lacey and Larkin’s full statement regarding the settlement.


Trending on the Web

Comment viewing options

Select your preferred way to display the comments and click "Save settings" to activate your changes.



allegory - ˈalɪg(ə)ri/ - noun - 1. a story, poem, or picture which can be interpreted to reveal a hidden meaning, typically a moral or political one.

Chill, guys!

Let's not attack each other.

While this is good news to to many of us Arizonans, it is bad news to the neos who think they are conservatives. They have been fooled by the posturing of Arpaio.

I was supportive of him, too, until I woke up to some bare nasty facts that just wouldn't go away.

The man who put Arpaio on Obama's BC trail told me personally that Arpaio would not do anything about it. He only exposed the fraud for the same reason the government does not mind being exposed for what it is because the majority of Americans are out of touch and many patriots haven't the courage to do anything about anything anyway!

Also,regarding immigration, Arpaio is just posturing on that issue as well. He does these sweeps for publicity and to keep his base (Republicans) duped. If he was serious, he would do sweeps in my neighborhood, but he doesn't, he would get run out!

I have personally spoken to Arpaio and after doing so came away with the assurance that he was a con man, a fake patriot - all about Arpaio.

So, let's dig in deep for the fight of our lives to awaken more and more people. In the meantime, just because someone is wrong about a deceiver like Arpaio as Iron_Paul or Jawa86 are, both of whom I recall having been strong RP supporters and not trolls, let's give them the right to voice their dismay and use it instead to awaken them to the faults of Arpaio.

After all, if I was a strong supporter of Arpaio, I would cease being so immediately after reading this post.

Corruption knows no side. I am saddened by the fact that Lacey and Larkin are going to be giving a lot of money to the ACLU of Arizona. They're about as unAmerican as you can get, all in the name of civil rights.

So many people to reach, so many principles to teach, the only way to get any where is to keep plugging away and not get distracted with unnecessary skirmishes between patriots.

Guts and Peace

Freedom is the ability to do what you want to do.
Liberty is the ability to do what you ought to do.
"Where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty." 2 Corinthians 3:17

Somehow I got a begging letter

from this piece of shit in my junk mail box a week or two ago. Apparently his re-election campaign was costly and he's trying to raise money. Kept using the word 'patriot' in an awkward and repetitive manner. Somehow I just couldn't find it in my heart to give money to a violent psychopath.

Anyone want to talk about his office now actively investigating

Obama's BC Fraud??


I guess not. We'll just play into all the bullsh*t the media wants us to regarding his office, huh?

If it takes a "thug" to have the balls to be the ONLY Sheriff's office in the Country to investigate the Fraud POTUS then I guess it's better than no one at all.

"We are not human beings having a spiritual experience; we are spiritual beings having a human experience"—Pierre Teilhard de Chardin

Joe Arpaio is a sadist paid by cowards to enforce "law and order

and has subjected countless persons including us patriots to torture.


Oh and his corrupt cohorts lie, cheat, steal, lie again in conjunction with Arizona police, prosecutors and judges.

Come at us. We're Arizona. Paint all of us with this tar brush of "we're criminals and we deserve it" because number one, I'm a smudge pot, I'm already tarred and number two,

you just implied slander on my people. And your butt has some explaining to do and there's a window on this. And it's closing on you fast.

Be brave, be brave, the Myan pilot needs no aeroplane.

They act like this country doesn't see this but every state has

a law enforcement racket just the same, florida has FDLE Arpaios throughout the state enforcing injustices, but when Joe makes a political statement about immigrants that counters the zeitgeist policy he is made into this cartel war lord.

I'm not a fan of Arpaios tactics, but they are commonplace in the U.S.

The US Attorney here plays in a D.C. chuck e cheese for lawyers who care, that's like asking a gorilla at a zoo whether this one squirrel monkey is the king of the jungle... and all the gorilla does is sling terds at you....I smell a lot of terd slinging here is all.


A true flower can not blossom without sunlight and a true man can not live without love.

Joe Arpaio is a thug

always has been, always will be. the sooner this thug is arrested and taken off the streets the better.

Official Daily Paul BTC address: 16oZXSGAcDrSbZeBnSu84w5UWwbLtZsBms
Rand Paul 2016

I want to know about the property and where the money came from

What was his salary? How much property?


As an Arizonan I'd like to thank Jawa for bringing this scumbag

to light as so many seem to worship him.

Be brave, be brave, the Myan pilot needs no aeroplane.

i think he is to nice for his inmates.

remember he does not make the laws he just gives those criminals a place to stay.

His jails are places of punishment

and let's not forget that people incarcerated in his jails and tent cities, many of them are awaiting trial and have yet to be judged.


You have just called us crimials. I personally will not forget this judgement you and people like you have levied against me and my friend John Chester Stuart the originator of the quiet title defense against foreclosure.

You just put us on the other side of your line.

And there you are.

Be brave, be brave, the Myan pilot needs no aeroplane.

people who take stuff from other people are criminals

if i had my way i would shot anyone who steals from me. unfortunately we have a justice system that many of these criminals are awaiting trial.whats sad is they use my tax dollar to feed these folks.

sorry for being a Patriot and thinking as a Libertarian.

Punishment first?

Trial later?

You have things a bit skewed, my friend.

unfortunatly i don't make the law

i wish it was different but it is not. you need to face the current reality my friend. i rather keep a criminal behind bars than having them roam around my neighborhood. hey with your logic lets let the rapist out until proven guilty right? or how about the child molesters? or how about those who steal from others? i have no problem living in your world but make sure you protect my gun rights!

So you agree!

Really! REALLY?! It's ok to punish someone who has been accused of a crime before they have been brought to trial and PROVEN to be guilty? Evidence is not needed? No judge or jury needed? Just a good accusation sets off the punishment?

I'm still reeling...I can't believe you really believe that shite.

if i had my way id do justice myself

unfortunately i don't live in an anarchist society.

Please don't insult anarchists

by claiming to be one. None of us would shoot someone after the fact for theft. And there isn't a genuine anarchist alive that would support the prison industrial complex or this sheriff, who is clearly just a thug that found a state job where victims are delivered to him. No need to even break a sweat finding people to abuse.

Speak for yourself.

Who made you spokesperson? Lol I guess you are clueless or just a small branch from some sort of fringe movement. There will always be a form of governance in any kind of society, directly or indirectly.

Oh Please

You support the death penalty for petty theft and claim to think like a libertarian in the same paragraph? Fuck off, troll.

what are you a bunch of liberal hippies?

why don't you go pound some sand? Hippie troll! :D

and yeah i support the death penalty! come try and see what you get when one try to steal the fruits of my labor.

welcome to the scanner

i will be following you with great interest.

You have a future ahead of you.

Be brave, be brave, the Myan pilot needs no aeroplane.


thanks man. :)

See what happens when someone tries to steal fruits of my labor


Tell us, Mr. Macho Law 'n' Order big shot--Iron Paul-- how many IRS or Arizona State revenue agents have you shot in defense of justly acquired private property by private citizens? How many police thugs have you shot defending yourself or your neighbors against the outrages of "civil asset forfeiture" or against their odious SWAT team home invasions? How many TSA gropers and perverts infesting our airports have you shot defending yourself and your fellow Americans, even women and children, against assault or molestation by these government slime?

In all cases felons in uniform were and are committing acts of theft, extortion, assault,and sometimes even murder!

At the very least they were committing acts of vandalism and trespass! Where has your indignation been? How many such evildoers have you shot, or even threatened? None?? I didn't think so!

Sheriff Arpaio wasn't the only "law enforcement officer" who engaged in such thuggery, and maybe he wasn't even the worst, but it warms my heart to see that he received a small comeuppance for his vile and disreputable misdeeds!

I could go on but I have made my point...

From your favorite liberal hippie troll...OK, I'm not a liberal hippie, but you're no libertarian or patriot!


"The worst thing that can happen to a good cause is not to be attacked successfully, it is to be defended badly". F. Bastiat

"First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, finally they attack you, and then you win"! Mohandas Gandhi

im all for protecting your free speech.

but there you go, i am in constant threat from ignorant's folks voting these politicians in, also got to protect my self from ignorant folks like you. its all about decisions decisions decisions... i hope you protect my free speech.

something i made you might like: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F7wK5qaNOtY


"Protecting free speech..."

"I'm all for protecting free speech". No,Iron Paul, you are not. The only threat to free speech is from the government and its agents and promoters, NOT Ron Paul Constitutionalists, NOT libertarians, and for that matter (except perhaps for their "political correctness" nonsense, even liberal hippies.

No threats to free speech there!

Only the NWO monstrosity on the Potomac, along with their wretched corporate media spokesmen, whether Pox News or CNN, The New Jerk Times or the Washington Pest...! All threats of censorship, restricted information, and disinformation come from those quarters, certainly not here.

As far as "Ignorant folks" like us voting these politicians in... wrong again! NOBODY here on the Daily Paul campaigned for, or voted for either Obama or Hillary, McCain or Romney or for that matter their State or Provincial equivalents like your friend Arpeio in Arizona. Only ignorant folks like you did! Posters here at DP, including myself, never missed an opportunity to excoriate and condemn such politicians!

We "ignorant folks" at the DP strongly disagree with you; "liberal hippies" that we are, (your words, professor) but our disagreements are no threats to your free speech! Guess again!

The only decision for you is: Do you wish to keep making a liar and a fool of yourself pretending to be a Ron Paul supporter in front of an audience of THOUSANDS of REAL Ron Paul supporters, or do you wish to admit that you are (still) a mainstream "law 'n' order" neocon apologist for police brutality and abuse of State power, and then to begin to inform yourself of the pertinent issues, learn about free markets, civil liberties, and the non-aggression axiom (think "golden rule"), and to BECOME a Ron Paul supporter?

Those are YOUR decisions-and choices! Please make good ones.


"The worst thing that can happen to a good cause is not to be attacked successfully, it is to be defended badly". F. Bastiat

"First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, finally they attack you, and then you win"! Mohandas Gandhi

You have the right to believe in what you want

People like us on the daily Paul believe in free speech. But you are just another little troll crying when someone does not agree with you. Hey you can vote for Hilary or Romney all you want but you will never prevent me voting for Ron Paul and rand Paul. Keep trying buddy. Criminals can stay in jail for all I care. :)

You have the right to live in a society with child molesters and rapist but I chose to live in the one that locks them up. And if I had my choice I'd do justice myself. Unfortunately I do not live in your anarchist world. I still believe the rule of law. Go back to playing mine craft in your mothers basement.

Advocating basic human rights

is just a liberal hippie thing? Clearly you're just a boot-licking neo con trolling this site. You're not going to be very successful if you're this obvious.

nice try.

i am Just a good old Ron Paul supporter. ;)

Funny how you "Ron Paul Supporters"…

Who seem to have a bad case of Neo-Conitiis…took years to find this site. It's like a wave of infection hit this blog about 1.5 to 2 years ago….a influx of seemingly clueless "Ron Paul Supporters" who never seem to be able to "Support" Ron Paul's ideals and understandings about government power and abuse.

Wha? .....hey....who stole my country?

go back in you mothers basement.

you sound like my ex gf. The daily Paul is not made for Democrats like your self. you seem confused.