In the late evening hours of October 18, 2007, Maricopa County Sheriffs deputies stormed into the homes of Mike Lacey and Jim Larkin. The Selective Enforcement Unit walked into their homes and handcuffed them and placed them in awaiting SUV’s to be carted off to jail. They were booked into two separate jails and awaited a hearing in front of the judge.
Village Voice Media executives are forced to leave their homes and then harassed by police to give up the names of those who log on and who work for the media outlet. When the men reported this violated their first amendment, they were given grand jury subpoenas requesting the information. The story that got the two in trouble in the first place was ran about the wrong doings that the sheriff was taking part in. Because the reports were about the sheriff, the hope was to put an end to the stories and to find out who had actually read about the sheriff on the media outlet.
The cover story that appeared as a front line headline for the Phoenix New Times covered how the grand jury seeked the information on the IP addresses, browsing history, names of editors, readers and followers of the outlet were being sought out. Instead of handing over the information, they opted to instead write a cover story about it. For this reason, it landed them in more trouble.
After being illegally detained, the set of men entered into a lengthy court battle that surrounds the first amendment. It also covered the abuse of power that the grand jury provided by releasing the subpoenas. Several years into the court case, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals handed down a ruling that ruled in the favor of the two men. In the ruling, the officials were appalled by the behavior of the grand jury and how they broke the law in requesting the information in the first place. Because of this, the two men were awarded $3.7 million dollars. This money that was awarded to them would be the start of the Frontera Fund.