Jim Larkin and Michael Lacey of Village Media

There have been several controversial and unusual presidential pardons throughout the history of the United States. The recent one that is shaping the current social discourse is when president Trump pardoned Joe Arpaio.

Joe is the toughest sheriff in Arizona’s Maricopa County. Joe is known for his notoriety, but mostly his heinous activities include wrongfully imprisoning Jim Larkin and Michael Lacey, the owners of Village Voice.

Ten years ago, agents of Maricopa County Selective Enforcement Unit were knocking on the doors of two homes in Phoenix he agents were under cover of darkness and by order of Joe Arpaio. The homes belonged to Michael Lacey and Jim Larkin. The two gentlemen were hauled out of their houses and imprisoned under the charges of revealing the contents of a grand jury investigation.

Lacey was the executive editor at the Village Voice Media newspaper while Larkin was the CEO. The two had earlier in the day published a piece in a Village Voice Media publication talking about the probe of a grand jury. However, the two were not aware that the investigation was actually about them.

Arpaio was not happy with the way coverage about his overly aggressive enforcement of the law tactics was increasing. Sheriff Arpaio came into office in 1992. The various orders against women and inmates as well as his infamous Tent City had been brought up to the limelight in several occasions through the Village Media publications. Read more: Village Voice Media | Wikipedia and Larkin and Lacey Fruntera Fund | Crunchbase

Since he came into office, there were several times that he had been told about what was admissible and what was not.

Murray Show, a United States District Judge had told Arpaio in 2011 that suspicion of immigrants was not enough ground to have them detained. With no evidence that the immigrant did not have the right status, it is against the constitution to detain them. Learn more about Jim Larkin and Michael Lacey: http://frontpageconfidential.com/michael-lacey-jim-larkin-arpaio-frontera-fund-first-amendment/ and http://releasefact.com/2017/09/jim-larkin-and-michael-lacey-continue-fight-for-latino-rights-after-pardoning-of-joe-arpaio/

Before 2011, some of the Arpaio issues were handled behind closed doors. Eventually, they came out after a lawsuit filed a case against Arpaio roughly ten years ago. The file exposed how Arpaio was mistreating inmates in Tent City, and this led to him being charged with violating the rights of immigrants as well as Latinos.

Joe remained insolent of the charges and continued to encourage racial profiling among his employees until the outcry of people caught the media’s attention. It was when Lacey and Larkin started exposing his characters on publications of Village Media that led to their arrest.

How Frontera Fund Started

In October, 2007 Maricopa County Sheriff’s deputies from the “Selected Enforcement Unit” arrested and jailed Mike Lacey and Jim Larkin, two journalists from the Village Voice Media. They were arrested at their homes. They were put in separate jails. The two men had written articles about Joe Arpaio and his handling of cases in Maricopa County, Arizona.



The Phoenix New Times where the two men worked made accusations about financial irregularities and misdeeds in the sheriff’s office. They reported on deaths in the jails, and attributed them to abuses that were taking place in them. The reports accused Arpaio of racial profiling and unauthorized detention of Latinos.



The journalists were arrested because of stories they had written on how Arpaio allies has issued grand jury subpoenas seeking information about writers, editors and even readers of the Phoenix New Times readers. They wanted browsing histories and IP addresses of people who read the published articles online. Lacey and Larkin refused to reply to subpoenas and instead published more articles revealing what was being asked for.



The two journalists were released from jail in less than 24 hours, and charges against them were dropped. The lawsuit against Maricopa County for the illegal detention, focused on the refusing of the journalists First Amendment rights and the abuse of power by Arpaio and associates.



In 2012, the Court of Appeals in the Ninth Circuit, claimed that the county was guilty of the charges of illegal detention and violating First Amendment rights of the journalists. The grand jury subpoenas had been improperly filed and were therefore illegal. The journalists had been arrested without due cause.



In 2013, Maricopa County settled the lawsuit by paying $3.7 million to Lacey and Larkin. The two used the settlement money to start the Frontera Fun. It is intended to benefit the Hispanic community in Arizona. The fund distributes money to nonprofit groups that advocate for civil rights and other causes of the Hispanic population. Lacey and Larkin are both supporters of immigrant rights and push efforts to help those you have crossed the borders in search of employment and a better life.


Jim Larkin and Michael Lacey Intend to Stop Arpaio in his Tracks


Michael Lacey and Jim Larkin are two journalists from Arizona. The duo made national headlines after an altercation with former sheriff Joe Arpaio. People all over the nation were reading about their illegal arrest in publications like USA Today and The New York Times.


Arpaio must have been very uncomfortable in the national spotlight, especially since the arrest of Michael Lacey and Jim Larkin was over something they published in their paper, The Phoenix New Times. Arpaio went from local corrupt politician to a nationally known figure of political corruption.


This was the first time Arpaio ever bullied people who could fight back. As sheriff, Arpaio victimized the immigrant community for over 20 years. As soon as he illegally detained Lacey and Larkin, his actions were put on notice.


The outcry from the nation resulted in Lacey and Larkin being released in under 24 hours and a lawsuit filed against Joe Arpaio and the county that elected him. Lacey and Larkin went on to win almost 4 million dollars.


With the money gained from Maricopa County, Larkin and Lacey decided to provide relief for the immigrants of Arizona. They created The Frontera Fund, a charitable fundraiser that supports charities like the ACLU of Arizona and many others.


Along side The Frontera Fund, Lacey and Larkin are using their new newspaper called Front Page Confidential to spread awareness of the injustices committed by politicians like Arpaio. Lacey and Larkin are working overtime to ensure that Arpaio doesn’t win the Senate Seat he is running for in November of 2018.


Stopping Tyranny one Dictator at a Time

Billions of people all around the world and in every country suffer from injustices and deplorable human rights mistreatment everyday. From children to the elderly, no one is immune from the tyrannies of dictatorships, greedy governments, and regimes that seek only power. This power is often built on the backs of those less fortunate.

Even though the mistreatment of humans is a deplorable act, there are many groups and organizations out there trying to help those who suffer. Groups like Amnesty International or the Human Rights Foundation (HRF) seek to try and help people. Sometimes it is through demonstrations while other times it is publishing information to bring awareness about situations of human rights mistreatment.

The HRF was founded by a very strong advocate of human rights, Thor Halverssen. Thor descends from both royalty and politicians with roots from Norway and Venezuela. He founded the organization HRF in 2005. The HRF seeks to protect human rights in every country with no disregard for political position or standing.

Those who belong are not passive activist. Many have been imprisoned or even beaten by police or other sovereign authorities in efforts to demonstrate or carry a message of injustice from those less fortunate. Thor Halverssen is often leading the charge by example and is no stranger to danger himself as he has endured physical altercations trying to get the truth of inhumane treatment in different countries.

One of the biggest human injustices is the pain and suffering of North Koreans. Halverssen’s group HRF work tirelessly to help free the North Koreans, through information. HRF seeks to free their minds, from the lies they have been fed their whole lives. HRF tries to smuggle, through various means of information, across the border using giant slingshots, helium balloons, or just smuggling contraband into the country. According to this Buzzfeed article, the hope is that the people of North Korea will learn that they do not have to live that way, and suffer the way they have for 70 years. Halverssen and HRF members continue to smuggle contraband into North Korea even under threats of death from the dictator’s regime.

More information for Human Rights:

Thor Halvorssen Leads The Human Rights Foundation in Securing Human Rights and Freedom Around the World

The Human Rights Foundation, with headquarters in NYC, promotes human rights globally by raising awareness and educating on human rights issues and the importance of freedom around the world, especially in the areas where it is most needed. HRF does this by having several kinds of initiatives such as campaigns for freeing political prisoners, producing films and other types of media on human rights topics, seminars on Capitol Hill, having educational programs in closed societies and sponsoring events to inform the public about human rights issues.

The founder and president of HRF, Thor Halvorssen, is a human rights activist and film producer who founded the organization in 2005. From 1999-2004, he co-founded the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education and served as its Executive Director and CEO. He is also the founder of the Oslo Freedom Forum, patron of a children’s peace movement out of Prague called On Own Feet; The Centipede Children, and has produced several films about freedom and human rights, such as The Singing Revolution, The Sugar Babies, and Hammer and Tickle. The Sugar Babies, about human rights violations of children forced to work on sugar farms in the Dominican Republic, won the Jury Prize for Best Documentary at the Delray Beach Film Festival and was shown by Amnesty International France on their film tour.

Thor Halvorssen, who is of Venezuelan and Norwegian descent, was personally affected by human rights abuses in his own life. His father, a diplomat and ambassador, in August of 1993 was falsely imprisoned and tortured in a Venezuelan jail. His father was only freed because numerous human rights organizations and advocates like Amnesty International and the International Society of Human Rights took on his case. His mother was also shot and wounded at a peaceful public gathering by members of the Venezulan government security in 2004 and his cousin, the Venezuelan politican Leopoldo Lopez, became a political prisoner in 2014. Thor Halvorssen continues to dedicate his time to human rights causes, and since HRF’s founding in 2005 it has secured the release of seven prisoners of conscience.