A surprise decision by a US District Judge to pardon Joe Arpaio, the former Maricopa County Sheriff has elicited lots of criticism across the US in view of the accusations leveled against him.
According to the Phoenix New Times report published in November, 2017, Arpaio is culpable of numerous wrongdoings, including ill treatment of inmates, illegal diversion of jail funds and numerous sex crimes, including cases involving minors. In one case of misappropriation of jail funds, Joe is said to have diverted over $100 million meant for inmate services. Read more: Phoenix New Times | Wikipedia and Jim Larkin | Angel.co
In a related count, a Phoenix New Times journalist John Dougherty brought to the public domain revelations that Arpaio and his wife bought several parcels of commercial real estate at exorbitantly high prices. The parcels of land reported to be worth $700,000 were by all accounts priced out of the reach of a public servant who claims to earn $78,000 annually. The Phoenix New Times has also come under heavy fire from the former Sheriff due to its reporting.
Arpaio has on several occasions banned reporters from covering his events and even ignored several incessant appeals by the paper for county records. He has even gone on to threaten New Times reporters with arrest. During the infamous Tent City tragedy of 1993, Arpaio placed inmates in overcrowded jails and exposed them to high summer temperatures of over 133 degrees Fahrenheit.
The inmates were also brutally beaten and maltreated. Expectant women reportedly gave birth while chained to the beds. The pardoning of Joe Arpaio by US District Judge, Susan Bolton on October 2017 came after the Sheriff was let off the hook by President Donald Trump.
The decision by the District Judge came just before a contempt of court hearing was to be heard. In the case, Joe Arpaio was accused of ignoring summons given by a Judge. Two prominent newsmen and civil rights activist Michael Lacey and Jim Larkin joined the voices of those disenchanted by the Judge’s decision.
Lacey castigated the former sheriff for presiding over the worst forms of torture and racism imaginable. Besides the deaths, people’s lives and careers were derailed or distorted completely by his actions.
In spite of the pardon by the President, Lacey strongly believes the 85 year old former sheriff would not have gone to jail in what he terms as a failure of the justice system to uphold the rule of law. Michael Lacey and Jim Larkin began their crusade for civil rights and liberties back in the 70’s. Learn more about Jim Larkin and Michael Lacey: http://www.laceyandlarkinfronterafund.org/about-lacey-larkin-frontera-fund/michael-lacey/ and http://www.bizjournals.com/phoenix/potmsearch/detail/submission/6427818/Michael_Lacey
According to Lacey and Larkin Frontera Fund, the newsmen first met as students at Arizona State University. Before long, they established the Phoenix New Times to counter the antiwar crusade promoted by the ultra-conservative local media.
Lacey took charge as the paper’s Executive Editor while Larkin took the advertising portfolio. At the height of its operations, New Times grew into a multi-million dollar media concern with 17 papers under its fold. The papers included the princely Village Voice of New York City and the Miami New Times.