The History of the Frontera Fund

October 18th in 2007 was a monumental night for Jim Larkin and Michael Lacey. That’s because that’s when they were both arrested by the designated “Selective Enforcement Unit” that was chosen by Joe Arpaio, the sheriff for Maricopa County in Arizona. Larkin and Lacey were two prominent faces who worked for Village Voice Media. They had no choice but to exit their residences. They both resided in the Phoenix region. They were pushed into SUVs (Sport Utility Vehicles) that had no markings at all. These vehicles were equipped with windows that had dark tinting, too. They had license plates that were issued in Mexico. They, after all of that, were placed into two prisons. Both of these prisons were run by Arpaio. He was the man who was behind everything. He was the self-proclaimed toughest sheriff in the United States. He was upset for a number of different factors. He was particularly upset by Phoenix New Times pieces that showcased all of the things he did wrong on a routine basis. This prominent publication alerted the public to many things he did that were potentially problematic. It discussed his office’s plentiful management issues, first and foremost. It delved into his office’s plentiful financial inconsistencies as well.


Larkin and Lacey’s arrests were the result of a Phoenix New Times cover story that talked about Arpaio’s friends who worked for the attorney’s office located in Maricopa County. These people gave out grand jury subpoenas that attempted to get information regarding peoples’ Internet browsing behaviors. These people included readers and newspaper staff members alike. Larkin and Lacey weren’t intimidated, though. They didn’t respond to the subpoenas in the way that Arpaio desired. They made the decision to craft an article about them.


Larkin and Lacey’s arrests made massive waves all around the United States. The pair, because of that, were allowed to leave prison within a span of 24 hours total. Any charges that were placed against them were totally withdrawn, too.


Their arrests brought on a lengthy and time-consuming court fight that was based on power abuses and First Amendment rights. Larkin and Lacey received a settlement that totaled close to $4 million. Maricopa County was responsible for paying the duo. The county did so back in 2013. Larkin and Lacey set aside this money to establish the Frontera Fund. This organization is all about diverse civil rights problems located in Arizona.