Two executives from the company that owns the Village Voice, Denver’s Westword, and a number of other alternative weeklies were arrested Thursday night on charges that a story published earlier in the day in the Phoenix New Times disclosed grand jury secrets.
Michael Lacey, the executive editor, and Jim Larkin, chief executive, where arrested at their [Phoenix] homes after they wrote a story that revealed that the Village Voice Media company, its executives, its reporters and even the names of the readers of its website had been subpoenaed by a special prosecutor. The special prosecutor had been appointed to look into allegations that the newspaper had violated the law in publishing the home address of Maricopa Sheriff Joe Arpaio’s home address on its website more than three years ago.
The weekly and its leadership has been in a long running battle with Mr. Arpaio, after the weekly published a series of stories about his real estate dealings.
It’s important to note that Arpaio and the special prosecutor aren’t just going after journalists;Â they’re seeking personal data regarding the newspaper’s readers as well. This is an egregious violation of the First Amendment that cannot be allowed to stand.