Standing up for yourself, let alone others in the face of intimidation is something that takes a lot of confidence. Fortunately for the residents of Maricopa County in Phoenix, Arizona, journalists Michael and Jim have confidence in abundance.
The two have for the last four years put their money and expertise towards fighting for the rights and freedoms of the disenfranchised in the community through their Frontera Fund.
Owing to the nature of their work as journalists, Michael Lacey and Jim Larkin had over the course of their careers been involved in a few incidents with the sheriff’s office in the county. However, one incident on 18th October 2007 completely stood out.
The two journalists were removed from their homes by officers from the county’s sheriff office, placed under arrest and held in two different cells. A few days earlier the two had defied a subpoena order they considered illegal.
Essentially, therefore, their arrest was unlawful. Following widespread public outcry, the two were released less than a day after being arrested.
However, knowing that their rights had been violated, Michael Lacey and Jim Larkin decided to sue the country and Joe Arpaio, the sheriff. After a six-year court battle, a ruling was made in favor of the two journalists which led the county to issue a settlement of $3.7 million.
Michael Lacey and Jim Larkin were aware that they were not the only people subjected to unlawful treatment by the county and the sheriff. In fact, from their years of journalistic work, they knew that undocumented immigrants in Arizona were often unfairly targeted by the sheriff.
Since most of these immigrants did not know their rights, injustices were often meted to them without legally fighting back. Consequently, Lacey and Larkin unselfishly decided to put their entire settlement money towards helping such disadvantaged groups. Thus, the highly acclaimed Frontera Fund was formed. Read more: Michael Lacey | Crunchbase and Jim Larkin | Crunchbase
One of the organizations that the Frontera Fund supports is the Arizona Justice Project. The organization is equally passionate about justice and thus provides legal services to those in the state that lack the resources to source them for themselves.
Unfortunately, the justice system in the state, and indeed the rest of the country, still has a lot of inefficiencies. Consequently, some of those convicted by the courts are in fact innocent. The Arizona Justice Project is committed to ensuring that these wrongs are quickly rectified.