Court rules Phoenix New Times execs can sue Arpaio

August 29, 2012

A federal appeals court has ruled that two Phoenix newspaper executives can pursue a civil suit against Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio for violating their First Amendment rights and making a false arrest, among other claims.  From Phoenix, Jude Joffe-Block reports this ruling could open up the county to an expensive settlement.

JUDE JOFFE-BLOCK: In 2007, Phoenix New Times owners Michael Lacey and Jim Larkin were arrested by Sheriff's officers. A special prosecutor was trying subpoena the newspaper to reveal their confidential sources in articles critical of Sheriff Arpaio. After the arrest, Larkin and Lacey tried to sue. But a federal judge found that Arpaio had immunity. The Ninth Circuit Appeals Court disagreed. Attorney Michael Manning represents the newspaper.

MIKE MANNING: What the court of appeals said is you are not going to be immune from that gross misbehavior, you and your family as well as your office may be held liable to people you injure if you retaliate against the First Amendment.

JOFFE-BLOCK: The case goes back to federal district court, where plaintiffs will seek damages.

9 Weeks of Giving, Donate Now!