In 2005, our sister paper, the Phoenix New Times, published Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio's home address on its website and was subsequently threatened with felony prosecution. After an adjoining jurisdiction declined to press charges, the sheriff's political pal, Attorney Andrew Thomas, convened a grand jury to "investigate" charges the paper broke the law when it published the latter.
Last week, we noted that Village Voice Media execs and New Times founders Michael Lacey and Jim Larkin were arrested and jailed (Larkin for a few hours; Lacey overnight) after publishing a story about the grand jury and subpoenas they had received—which demanded every note, tape and record from any Phoenix New Times reporter who had covered the sheriff over the past three years, and bizarrely, detailed information on anyone who visited New Times Web site since 2004.
The media frenzy that was sparked by Lacey and Larkin's arrest created a groundswell of support for New Times, and the charges were dropped less than 24 hours later, with Thomas admitting that his office had made "serious missteps" in the case.
Along with other members of the Association of Alternative Newsweeklies, the OC Weekly is publishing links to some of the many places on the Internet where the home address of Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio is listed.
Check them out after the cut.
Thomas convened a grand jury to investigate the case even though Arpaio's home address was then and continues to be easily accessible on a number of other websites, including the Maricopa County Recorder's official website. (Click "2004 Financial Disclosure Statement" for a PDF.)
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Phoenix New Times has published dozens of stories critical of both Thomas and Arpaio. In fact, the paper maintains an archive on its website of its coverage of Arpaio since he was elected sheriff in 1992.
New Times published Arpaio's home address in a story arguing that he abused a state law that allows law enforcement officials to keep their addresses from being made public. New Times said Arpaio used the law to hide nearly $1 million in cash real-estate transactions.