Journalists Jailed

The executive editor and CEO of Village Voice Media were arrested Thursday night after publishing details of what they call "breathtaking abuse of the constitution" in a grand jury subpoena against their Arizona newspaper, the New Times. The subpoena is part of an attempt to prosecute the paper for publishing articles criticizing Maricopa County sheriff Joe Arpaio's questionable real estate deals. The subpoena demands that the paper turn over "all documents related to articles and other content published by Phoenix New Times newspaper in print and on the Phoenix New Times website, regarding Sheriff Joe Arpaio from January 1, 2004 to the present." In addition, it demands information about all the online readers of the publication, including their Internet domain names and what other Web sites they visited before reading New Times. According to retired judge Kenneth Fields, the subpoena "touches on privacy issues of a lot of people who cannot be the subject of a grand-jury investigation. This is potentially thousands of people." Village Voice reporter Tony Ortega says the arrests show that Arpaio, who has carefully cultivated a "constant parade of television journalists" to build an image as "America's toughest sheriff," is actually a "paranoid despot ... Even those reporters who may have bought Arpaio's line of bull in the past must see what an abuse of power this is, and how it threatens the journalism being done by papers that dare to question public officials."


In the face of a public backlash against his office's prosecution, Maricopa County attorney Andrew Thomas has [ dropped the case] against the New Times and fired its prosecutor.

I find it interesting that some people I intuitively just CAN NOT STAND turn out to be corrupt. I have family in the part of the world so I had business there a few years ago. Every time that man came on the news something just turned my stomach. Well, I am sure that is not his only secret. I am sure he has every reason to be paranoid, but that still doesn't give him a right to subvert the constitution. Karma! The one thing the powers that be CAN'T hide from forever!

Here's the Arizona Republic's report on the county attorney's surrender: