Arizona Newspaper Leaders Arrested Over Story on Subpoenas - Mercedes-Benz Forum

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post #1 of 10 (permalink) Old 10-19-2007, 09:33 AM Thread Starter
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Arizona Newspaper Leaders Arrested Over Story on Subpoenas

MESA, Ariz. — The leaders of an alternative newspaper chain were arrested after running a story about grand jury subpoenas they received seeking reporters' notes and information on who visits their Phoenix weekly's Web site.

Michael Lacey, executive editor of Village Voice Media, and Jim Larkin, CEO of the Phoenix-based chain, were arrested at their homes Thursday, the same day their story was published in the Phoenix New Times, a free, weekly alternative paper.

Capt. Paul Chagolla, a sheriff's spokesman, said Lacey and Larkin were arrested on suspicion of violating grand jury secrecy and that the arrests came at the requests of the prosecutor.

The story, titled "Breathtaking Abuse of the Constitution," said Maricopa County authorities want every story New Times has written about Sheriff Joe Arpaio since Jan. 1, 2004, and all the notes, tapes and records of the reporters.

The subpoenas also seek online profiles of anyone who read four specific articles about Arpaio and profiles of anyone who visited the paper's Web site since Jan. 1, 2004. Also sought was information on what Web users did while on the site, the story said.

Lacey told the East Valley Tribune that the New Times was fighting to quash the subpoenas, filed Aug. 24.

"It is just without precedent," Lacey said. "This isn't us overreacting."

The New Times said the subpoenas were issued to Lacey, Larkin and other staff members and stem from the paper's decision to publish Arpaio's home address more than three years ago.

Arpaio, a Republican first elected sheriff in 1992, calls himself "America's toughest sheriff" and has attracted nationwide publicity for steps such as requiring jail inmates to wear pink underwear. Arpaio said he was not allowed to comment on the case, adding, "You do know that I'm a victim in this whole thing."

Lacey and Larkin wrote that authorities would probably believe that revealing the subpoenas was against the law, "but there are moments when civil disobedience is merely the last option."

Disclosing grand jury information is punishable by up to six months in jail, $2,500 in fines for a person and $20,000 for an enterprise.

Lacey was freed on bond after his arrest but Larkin's whereabouts early Friday could not be immediately determined. The main county lockup had no information on him.

Maricopa County Attorney Andrew Thomas declined to comment.

The Phoenix-based company was known as New Times Media until two years ago when it bought the owner of New York's venerable Village Voice and its five sister newspapers. That made it the nation's largest publisher of alternative weekly newspapers with 17 weeklies and a combined circulation of 1.8 million.

Former New Times reporter John Dougherty, whose original story about Arpaio's address sparked the controversy, said: "We're not harboring state secrets, we're not harboring terrorists, we're just straight up reporting on issues they don't want us to report on."

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post #2 of 10 (permalink) Old 10-19-2007, 11:05 AM
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An outrage. Fascism spreads.

Recall that earlier generations faced down fascism and communism not just with missiles and tanks, but with sturdy alliances and enduring convictions. They understood that our power alone cannot protect us, nor does it entitle us to do as we please. Instead, they knew that our power grows through its prudent use; our security emanates from the justness of our cause, the force of our example, the tempering qualities of humility and restraint.

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post #3 of 10 (permalink) Old 10-19-2007, 11:09 AM
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They had it coming for such titles like "Breathtaking Abuse of the Constitution,"; how dare such liberals do that in a free country like ours? Send them to re-education camp I say!

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post #4 of 10 (permalink) Old 10-19-2007, 02:20 PM
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If it was the same paper

I don't know why in the beginning they did not just STFU and file a "motion to quash the subpoenas", the proper legal move.

But, it is a moot point, and they chose to write about them in the paper instead.

I don't see anything wrong with it, personally, whether the subpoenaed newspaper or a third party one "leaked" this one.

Sure sounds like an incursion onto freedom of speech, freedom of the press, the first amendment. Even though grand jury $hit is supposed to stay secret or something.

I am not a lawyer, but doesn't the discussion start out with NY Times vs Sullivan or some case like that?

I don't like restrictions on freedom of speech at all. But there are some real fascist kooks running around in Arizona with their hands on some very REAL power. This could be a case of that.

Puttiong newspaper editors in jail for running articles is something that Nazis and Communists do.

Talk about a "chilling effect" this takes the cake

Bush Cheney and that bunch LOVE secrecy and lack of accountability.

Bunch of people frightening all the sheep with the Homeland Security "Fear of terrorism" excuse, as a justification to wipe out all civil rights.

F**k them, they are fascist/commie bastards

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post #5 of 10 (permalink) Old 10-19-2007, 03:04 PM
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The US is a great place to be anti-American

Gerard Baker, the London Times :today , so just a bit on the right but ...

Anti-Americanism is on the wane at last. All over the world, Americans are being fêted once again as farsighted, liberating heroes.

Al Gore has won a Nobel Peace Prize, an Oscar and an Emmy, the triple crown of recognition from the self-adoring keepers of bien-pensant, elite liberal, global orthodoxy. Michael Moore is treated like a prophet in Cannes and Venice, as he peddles his tales of an America that poisons its poor, sends its blacks off to war and shoots itself. Whenever a loquacious Dixie Chick or a contumacious Sean Penn utters some excoriating remark about the depravity of his or her own country, audiences around the world nod their heads in sympathetic agreement. Bill Clinton, of course, is a god. Though protocol dictates that he may not say things that are too unkind about the country he once led, a nod and a wink will suffice.

It has always amused me that the same people who denounce America as a seething cesspit of blind obscurantist bigotry can’t see the irony that America itself produces its own best critics. When there’s a scab to be picked on the American body politic, no one does it with more loving attention, more rigorous focus on the detail, than Americans themselves.

It has always been this way. The fiercest and most effective opponents of US foreign policy in the 1960s were not the students in Paris or the Politburo in North Vietnam. They were Jane Fonda, Bobby Kennedy and Marvin Gaye.

Today I can only laugh when I see the popular portrayal of George Bush’s America in much of the international media. Supposedly serious commentators will say, without evident irony, that free speech is under attack, that Bush’s wiretapping, Guantanamo-building, tourist-fingerprinting regime is terrifying Americans into quiet, desperate acquiescence in the country’s proliferating crimes.

The truth is that America not only harbours the most eloquent and noisy anti-Americans in its own breast, it provides a safe haven for people to come from all over the world to condemn it.

Take a stroll through almost any American university campus and you will hear a cacophony of voices in a hundred different languages, slamming everything America does, from fast food to hedge-fund capitalism. For years one of America’s most celebrated academics was Edward Said, the Palestinian agitator-cum-professor, who lived high on the hog at Columbia University, near the pinnacle of the American intellectual establishment, dispensing his wisdom about US wrongs in the Middle East.

Hollywood is the global mecca for angry denouncers of everything American. From all over they come, forcing themselves to live in their green-lawned mansions carefully tended by cheap migrant labour from south of the Border. This autumn, unsuspecting Americans (and everyone else, of course) will be treated to an especially unsettling stream of antiwar, anti-American propaganda, much of it produced in Hollywood by foreigners – such as this weekend’s likely box-office hit, Rendition.

And where would the world get its daily media diet of horror stories about what a ghastly country the place is if its reporters weren’t all comfortably pavilioned inside America, where they make a generous living happily devouring the hand that generously feeds them?

It’s true that self-criticism is always more effective than an outsider’s observations. Let’s be honest, how much real moral weight do Vladimir Putin or Mahmoud Ahmadinejad carry when they decry American motives and actions? All but the most unhinged of America’s critics know, deep down, in a part of the brain they try not to consult, that whatever they may think of the Bushitler in Washington, they don’t feel comfortable agreeing with the ex-KGB hatchet man of the Kremlin or the Holocaust-denying Dr Strangelove sitting astride his Islamist bomb. It sounds so much better when Al Gore or Michael Moore says it.

But ask yourself why that is. Isn’t it because they know that only American criticism really carries legitimacy? Only a country that enthusiastically and self-woundingly honours Voltaire’s old dictum about free speech can really be trusted to cast judgment on anything.

There’s another, more important aspect to the world’s affection for those in America who are most critical of it. The Americans who win global approbation in Oslo or at the UN are not simply critics of current American policy. They want to construct an international system that will for ever prevent the US from pursuing its own objectives, a system designed to dilute, counterbalance and constrain America’s ability to govern itself. They prefer a world in which American democracy is subordinated to a kind of global government, rule by a global elite, tasked to make decisions on everyone’s behalf in the name of multilateralism.

Al Gore wants the US to give up its economic autonomy and submit to rule by binding international obligations to curb its carbon emissions. Some of the Democratic candidates for the presidency want to tie down the American Gulliver under a web of global treaties. The British Government, if recent speeches by ministers are to be believed, is now apparently seriously committed to the idea that only the UN has the legitimacy to determine how nations should behave. In other words, that a system that gives vetoes to China and Russia and honours the human rights contributions of countries such as Syria or North Korea should be accorded a full role in the promotion of the dignity of mankind.

There’s a larger irony in all this. Even as the US demonstrates the openness of its own society, its unrivalled capacity for self-examination and self-correction, a free system based on the absolute authority of the rule of law, it is told it must submit itself to the views of Moscow, Beijing, and Brussels.

Fortunately, while the American system may be forgivingly tolerant of people with wild and dangerous ideas, it doesn’t generally let them run the country.

The inconvenient truth about Al Gore
A Stormy Climate
Michael Moore's healthy scepticism
A convenient Nobel prize for politics
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post #6 of 10 (permalink) Old 10-19-2007, 03:15 PM
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post #7 of 10 (permalink) Old 10-19-2007, 10:04 PM Thread Starter
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Newspaper Execs Avoid Charges for Story

PHOENIX - Two newspaper executives who published details of a secret grand jury subpoena seeking reporters' notes and lists of Web site readers won't face charges following a deluge of criticism about their arrests, the county attorney announced Friday.

"It has become clear to me that the matter has gone in a direction that I would not have authorized," Maricopa County Attorney Andrew Thomas said. "The case cannot go forward. It has been compromised."

But he said he still believes the Phoenix New Times "arguably" broke the law when on Thursday it published details from the Aug. 24 subpoena, which stems from the investigation into the paper's 2004 article that included the home address of Sheriff Joe Arpaio.

State law prohibits online publication of law enforcement members' home addresses "if the disclosure poses an imminent and serious threat" to the safety of officers or their families.

But the subpoena went far beyond the 2004 article, seeking documents and other material related to preparation and publication of numerous stories on Arpaio. It also sought Internet addresses of all people who visited the New Times Web site and any Internet addresses those people may have visited before reading the stories.

The paper executives, Michael Lacey and Jim Larkin, wrote they regarded the article published Thursday as an act of civil disobedience, and called the subpoena a "breathtaking abuse of the United States Constitution."

Lacey, executive editor of Village Voice Media, and Larkin, CEO of the Phoenix-based chain, each were arrested on a misdemeanor charge of disclosing grand jury information.

Disclosing grand jury information is punishable by up to six months in jail, $2,500 in fines for a person and $20,000 for an enterprise.

Lacey, who said he was held in custody for seven hours before being released early Friday, welcomed Thomas' decision to drop the case.

"It certainly took some courage for him to do that," Lacey said. "It is great news for the First Amendment and the Constitution and our readers."

Special prosecutor Dennis Wilenchik, who had issued the subpoenas, did not immediately return calls for comment Friday.

First Amendment advocates, journalist groups and the libertarian-oriented Goldwater Institute blasted the prosecutor for the arrests and the subpoena.

"It is stunningly overbroad," said David Bodney, a First Amendment lawyer who represents media clients.

"This in some ways strikes at the heart of a free press and creates what we call a chilling effect," said Joseph A. Russomanno, an Arizona State University associate professor of journalism who co-authored a recently published text on journalism law.

Clint Bolick, a civil-liberties advocate with the Goldwater Institute, said he stood shoulder to shoulder with the journalism executives.

"It is difficult to conceive any wrong that could justify such a sweeping inquiry, not only into the files of New Times but into the Internet browsing habits of tens of thousands of innocent readers," Bolick wrote in an e-mail.

Phoenix-based Village Voice Media, formerly known as New Times Media, is the nation's largest publisher of alternative weekly newspapers. Lacey and Larkin founded the Phoenix paper in 1970.

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post #8 of 10 (permalink) Old 10-19-2007, 10:14 PM
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Please forgive my impudence, but I feel compelled to state that subpoenas is certainly the second gayest word in all the English language.
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post #9 of 10 (permalink) Old 10-19-2007, 11:11 PM
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It doesn't seen all that long ago that I was growing up in Phoenix and regularly reading NTW. We had a teacher in high school that took the paper away if he caught you with it. Even if you weren't reading it in class.
No, it wasn't Sheriff Joe, but apparently he wasn't a fan either.
Not only were they one of the first to give Matt Groening a shot, but I am glad to hear they are still good at pissing people off in their own inimitable way.

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post #10 of 10 (permalink) Old 10-19-2007, 11:25 PM
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The whole thing begs to ask the question, Just what kind of radicals, Seditious Subversives and insubordinates do they have in that town of Phoenix?
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