Who's Sorry Now?

Andy Thomas eats crow to save his political career, but wants us to apologize to Sheriff Joe. Fat chance

So, even before the Lacey-Larkin article and their arrests, the lawyer was being perceived as a political liability for Thomas, who plans to run for re-election next year and, two years after that, possibly for the governorship.

The Arizona State Bar had already started an investigation into Thomas and Wilenchik's possible ethics violations in their public fight with Superior Court judges. And now, the actions of the duo in the grand jury matter against New Times — including Wilenchik's attempt to have private (or ex parte) communications with the judge in our case, the issuance of an over-broad and likely unconstitutional subpoena, and the vindictive arrests of Lacey and Larkin — have brought them under further State Bar scrutiny.


Lacey tucks in his shirt and puts his belt back on after his release.
Tony Blei
Lacey tucks in his shirt and puts his belt back on after his release.
Shamed by public outrage, Thomas tells a packed room of reporters that he's dismissing the case against New Times.
Pam Mitchell
Shamed by public outrage, Thomas tells a packed room of reporters that he's dismissing the case against New Times.

During the Friday-afternoon press conference, Thomas sounded plaintive, almost hurt, by questions about the State Bar's investigation.

"People don't understand, when you're a lawyer, you can only practice in this state if the State Bar allows you to," he complained. "And that is deeply offensive on First Amendment grounds for . . . the State Bar to gin up what I think will be shown to be trumped-up charges to try to chill my free speech."

The statement seemed highly ironic, as plainclothes MCSO deputies had, just hours before, arrested Lacey and Larkin on misdemeanor charges for exercising their free-speech rights.

Specifically, they were charged with Class 1 misdemeanors that, in the most egregious of cases, could net an offender six months in jail and a $2,500 fine. Needless to say, a misdemeanor infraction does not usually prompt a nighttime raid on citizens' homes.

MCSO flack Paul Chagolla was quoted in an Associated Press article stating that "the arrests came at the requests of the prosecutor." By that, New Times assumed he meant then-Special County Attorney Wilenchik.

Contacted about Chagolla's statement, Wilenchik denied he had asked for the arrests. Asked who did request the arrests, he replied in an e-mail, "Don't know. If I find out, will be back."

However, when Chagolla was e-mailed by New Times with Wilenchik's denial, the sheriff's flack was very specific about who requested the arrests.

"On that day, sheriff's detectives worked with assigned prosecutors from the special prosecutor's office, Mr. William French and Mr. Rob Somers," responded Chagolla. "Detectives were contacted by Mr. Somers, and it was he that asked for the arrests to be made. Sheriff Arpaio had no participation in the decision to make these arrests."

As detailed in Paul Rubin's cover story on Buckeye police chief Dan Saban's unsuccessful lawsuit against Arpaio and the MCSO ("Below the Belt," September 20, 2007), French is a former Maricopa County Superior Court judge who worked for Wilenchik on the suit. Rob Somers also helped Wilenchik on the case. Both men are listed on the "attorney profile" page of one of the Wilenchik & Bartness firm's Web addresses.

Wilenchik denied any wrongdoing and took umbrage at the suggestion that the he had transgressed legal rules.

"The only rule I know that was flagrantly violated was the grand jury secrecy law and court orders," Wilenchik wrote in another e-mail.

More may be revealed if and when the grand jury records are unsealed, as has been requested by the Arizona Republic and Channel 12. As this story went to press, Judge Anna Baca called a hearing for October 24 to hear arguments in the Republic's motion. County Attorney spokesman Barnett Lotstein has indicated that Thomas' office would not object to having the files unsealed.

Whoever is ultimately pinpointed as the source of the complaint against New Times' founders, the entire raid was orchestrated to have the very chilling effect that Thomas decries in the State Bar's relatively discreet investigation of him and Wilenchik.

"Why would [the MCSO] arrest on a misdemeanor in the middle of the night?" asked former County Attorney Rick Romley, a staunch Republican who held Thomas' position for 16 years. "That's unheard of. A misdemeanor?! And there have been criticisms of Arpaio not going after 70,000 warrants of murderers and rapists, and yet he had the resources to do this? That raises a lot of questions."

Some retaliation was anticipated for the bold move of disclosing a grand jury subpoena, and detailing Wilenchik's unethical attempts to influence Judge Baca by having an intermediary call her and try to set up a tête-à-tête with Wilenchik. In the third paragraph of the Lacey-Larkin story, the authors acknowledged the risk in what they were doing.

"It is, we fear, the authorities' belief that what you are about to read here is against the law to publish," they wrote. "But there are moments when civil disobedience is merely the last option."

The exposé had been kept under wraps, with very few Phoenix New Times employees knowing what was about to happen. As the paper was going to press, Lacey called a meeting of the editorial staff to inform them of the pending bombshell. Writers and editors were warned that anything could happen, including a raid of the office or arrests.

The banging on the door of Larkin's Paradise Valley home began around 9:45 p.m. The 58-year-old CEO, who could pass for a banker if you didn't know him better, was asleep, having returned earlier that evening from the Royal Palms Resort and Spa where he, his wife, Molly, and Lacey had celebrated the Larkins' 15th wedding anniversary. By the time the MCSO operatives arrived, everyone was snug in bed, including the Larkins' three small children.

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17 comments
wfji
wfji

when you first look at what has taken place you have to ask your self is this a Joke ? and then Reality sets in and you know that this is not a Joke but some thing that is truely taken place right here in your own city and there is little or nothing that you can do about it but sit back and watch the confusion and stupity run rampant since these yokles have been in our city there has been alot of stupid things taken place and all tha a Phoenian can do is laugh or cry ,presumbly which ever one comes first and you have to ask your selfdid we really vote these clowns into office or did they just sneek in while our heads were turn?I can only say that I think this is only going to get worst because now they have to clean up the mess that they have made ,no matter what it takes or who it hurts ,so keep your eyes and ears open because retaliation is a bitch named ,,,,,,,,,,and ,,,,,,,,,I know that you can fill in the blanks on your own with very little help from me ,be afraid be cautious double check every thing that you do !

wfji
wfji

when you first look at what has taken place you have to ask your self is this a Joke ? and then Reality sets in and you know that this is not a Joke but some thing that is truely taken place right here in your own city and there is little or nothing that you can do about it but sit back and watch the confusion and stupity run rampant since these yokles have been in our city there has been alot of stupid things taken place and all tha a Phoenian can do is laugh or cry ,presumbly which ever one comes first and you have to ask your selfdid we really vote these clowns into office or did they just sneek in while our heads were turn?I can only say that I think this is only going to get worst because now they have to clean up the mess that they have made ,no matter what it takes or who it hurts ,so keep your eyes and ears open because retaliation is a bitch named ,,,,,,,,,,and ,,,,,,,,,I know that you can fill in the blanks on your own with very little help from me ,be afraid be cautious double check every thing that you do !

Andy
Andy

This is just more "liberal media bias," if you ask me.

The US Constituion: Liberal.

The truth: Liberal.

I guess either you believe in the Constituion and the truth, or you believe in Facism and lies.

Or you just live in Arizona, and you don't care.

Tony Lane
Tony Lane

I hope that there is justice in this world and these three will never be in a paper again. I think they would go through withdrawls but that would mean they would not hold office again.

Mikey Danger
Mikey Danger

This case shows the danger of grand juries. They are usually used by the government to jail people for crimes when the government doesn�t have any evidence a crime was committed.

In this case if Sheriff Joe had any �probable cause� that the New Times violated the law by publishing Sheriff Joe�s address on the web he would have arrested them years ago. But he didn�t.

With out the �probable cause� needed to arrest the folks at the New Times it looks like Andrew Thomas and Sheriff Joe where hoping to get a grand jury to give them a lame excuse to jail the folks at the New Times. They would then have said that the �grand jury� thought that the New Times had �kinda, sorta, mighta violated the law� and use that as an excuse to arrest the New Times for a felony and drag them thru the court system, when in fact no �probable cause� has ever existed that the New Times violated the law.

While I don�t like former Arizona governor Fife Symington the same thing happened to him. The Feds used a grand jury to charge him with a whole bunch of crimes, which a judge eventually threw out. Well threw out after he went thru the expensive court process. It seems the Feds didn�t like Fife and wanted to jerk him around in the criminal justice system, which they did. It seems like Andrew Thomas and Sheriff Joe wanted to do the same thing to the New Times.

Tom Trottier
Tom Trottier

The new Keystone Cops... I hope Sheriff Joe and Andrew Thomas like their jail; it looks like they may be spending time there. They seem bent on turning everyone in Maricopa County into criminals, including themselves. This Tough on crime witch hunt has to stop somewhere; we tax payers simply can't afford it. It is even cutting into our tourism industry. Out of town visitors routinely get thrown in jail and unjustly punished, word spreads, this is the worst county to get in a brush with the "law". There is no common sense, they are turning teens into convicts by overcharging offences that leaves only 2 options: Plea bargain and usually it is still a felony count whereby, the defendant gets jail time, even on a first offence, a 17 year old gets charged as an adult. Option #2 is a jury trial, and with the overcharging usually the risk is pretty grim. I know my son was in an automobile accident, and was staring down the barrel of Andrew Thomas shotgun to a tune of 18 years. He was 17 no drinking or drugs involved, he was being perused by an irate motorist and didn't know how to react, and he collided with a meth user driving on a suspended license in the suicide lane trying to escape. These infractions in other states are usually handled with a warning, because in other states their focus is on helping young adults become productive in society, and not on turning them out to the prison system, which is intended for hardened criminals that have to go there, because they are a threat to society, not kids that should get detention. Sheriff Joe and Andrew Thomas are completely incognizant of what they are doing to people as they try to climb the political ladder in county circus arena.

melanie bulseco
melanie bulseco

Arpaio is in denial. He can't accept the fact that he's not going to be around much longer so he's becoming more demented every day; sort of how Hitler was acting when he became aware it was almost over.--Melanie Bulseco

Shay4380
Shay4380

I'm not much of a baseball historian but could this be a foul ball and an error on the same play...? 'Touche to NewTimes........

Fuck Yeah
Fuck Yeah

Love Lacey's line about the Bayonne Bleeder. Mike Lacey for Governor!

Marc V. Ridenour
Marc V. Ridenour

Sheriff �Joke� and his heigh-ho-Silver good buddy the Maricopa County attorney, need to be hauled before a grand jury�in handcuffs, leg-irons and pink underwear (and those black-and-white striped prisoner suits and grilled�over a slow fire�for what they have done!

This is OUTRAGEOUS! If the people of Maricopa County continue to re-elect these two thugs, they deserve what they get!

Cassie
Cassie

Good for you and i hope to hear more about that ass hole in your magazine and online. I also hope The sherif reads all this so he knows how the poeple really feel about his rasist ass! No one hs the right to do what they tried to do and as sherif he should know that the most If not then he needs to quit trying to tell everyone else how the law goes and even more so stop trying to enforse them!

Jim Cozzolino
Jim Cozzolino

Should Arpaio be charged with felony for self-endangerment? Phoenix New Times execs off hook, special prosecutor fired By Linda Bentley Sonoran News

http://www.sonorannews.com/hea...

PHOENIX � Michael Lacey and Jim Larkin, owners of Phoenix New Times, were arrested Thursday night by Maricopa County Sheriff�s Office deputies for revealing the contents of a grand jury subpoena, a class 1 misdemeanor. �We�re being arrested for raising hell. It�s sort of a tradition journalism has,� said Lacey. Less than 24 hours later, Maricopa County Attorney Andrew Thomas stammered his way, uncomfortably, through a press conference where he announced it had become clear to him the investigation had gone in a direction he would not have authorized. Thomas stated all charges would be dropped against Lacey and Larkin and said Dennis Wilenchik would no longer be serving as a special prosecutor on this or any other matters. The subpoena stems from a Phoenix New Times article by John Dougherty published in 2004, in which Dougherty disclosed Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio�s home address, along with the rest of his real estate holdings, while questioning how the sheriff was able to plunk down hundreds of thousands of dollars in cash to make some of those purchases. Thomas called New Times� decision to put Arpaio�s home address on its website �a reckless and foolish thing to do,� and called the results �arguably criminal.� A.R.S. � 13-2401(A) states, �It is unlawful for a person to knowingly make available on the world wide web the personal information of a peace officer, justice, judge, commissioner, public defender or prosecutor if the dissemination of the personal information poses an imminent and serious threat� to that person or the safety of that person�s immediate family and �the threat is reasonably apparent to the person making the information available on the World Wide Web to be serious and imminent.� Violation is a class 5 felony. Arpaio�s not talking. He says he�s the victim here. Lacey and Larkin decided it was important for the public to see the subpoena, which not only requested information and records from reporters, but identification information about everyone who visited the Phoenix New Times website from Jan. 1, 2004 to the present, which pages they accessed and �information obtained from �cookies,� including, but not limited to, authentication, tracking and maintaining specific information about users (site preferences, contents of electronic shopping carts, etc.)� It even asked for visitors� Internet Protocol addresses, the website users visited prior to coming to the Phoenix New Times website, the type of browser they used to access the Phoenix New Times website and the operating system used by each visitor. Thomas continued, �In looking at this matter in its totality over the last 24 hours, it has become clear to me that the investigation has gone in a direction that I would not have authorized � They owe an apology to the sheriff for endangering him. And the New Times owes an apology to the court and the state of Arizona for violating the law by releasing grand jury information and violating a court order in the process. The reality is that they should have been held accountable for those offenses, but at this point, this matter is in such a posture that I�m not going to prosecute it. It has been badly mishandled and we�re not going forward.� A reporter noted, �But here we have two incidents in two weeks in which Mr. Wilenchik has called undue attention to this office,� to which Thomas responded, �Fair enough, for which I accept responsibility.� Aside from the subpoena�s outrageously broad request for information, Wilenchik, who readers may remember as a former Cave Creek Planning Commission Chairman that resigned and left town because he took offense to editorials published about him in Sonoran News, was going after the wrong guys. Arpaio and his wife Ava are the ones who originally published, and continue to publish, their home address on the World Wide Web. If the Arpaios have placed themselves in danger of an imminent and serious threat by making that information available on the Internet, should they be charged with a felony? And, why then would Lacey and Larkin have any reason to believe posting Arpaio�s address on the Phoenix New Times website constituted a serious and imminent threat to Arpaio�s safety? The Arpaios themselves continue to this day to have no qualms about using their home address on their annual reports filed with the Arizona Corporation Commission, readily available on the web, which they�ve been doing since 1995 and as recently as June 2007. Even after Dougherty�s article came out, Arpaio used his home address on his campaign finance reports in 2005, which are posted online at Maricopa County Elections. Arpaio has been posting his home address on the Internet for over a decade. However, while posting his home address on state and county websites, Arpaio abuses another law that allows eligible persons to request the general public be precluded from accessing their residential address and telephone number as contained in instruments recorded by the county recorder or as contained in instruments, writings and information maintained by the county assessor and the county treasurer (A.R.S. ��11-483, 484). Arpaio has extended the meaning of that statute to prevent the general public from accessing information about his commercial real estate holdings, even though there is no such provision under statute.

Tim Newby
Tim Newby

But Your Honor "I DID NOT KNOW"what a heaping load of crap I bet even you Andrew Thomas have said it yourself a million times when you tell defendants not knowing is no defense but I bet you wish it was now . WHO is in charge in your office ? Who makes all the decisions ? I get it you are Passing the BUCK .

Politicians masters of illusion or a better definition is "Masters of Redirection" divert attention away from one point to another by making me think that the second point is more important than the first .

You claim people are furious with you over the immigration , well think again , I am P O'd about all the young children that all Politicians are claiming they want to protect but all I see is you locking away young children up in prison , who is protecting those children , They need to be educated by Educators not criminals in prison . But I see you offering no brochures , billboards , Television commercials educating our children to the pitfalls of sexual behavior and you tell them NOT KNOWING IS NO EXCUSE" You are not solving the problem you are creating a bigger one .

You give NO second chance to our kids , no second chance for you .

Lumping all Sex Offenders into one category saying they are all the same , well to me that is like saying , all shoplifters , petty thieves , crooks , cat burglars , armed robbers are the same , Wake up People , who's kidding who here , they don't care about your children , power and money and greed motivate these people and who do you think out of everyone is the easiest to target and get the upper hand with , just like predators , they are targeting your Children .

And lets not forget the child porn they use as a guise , Officials have no problem tracking down Millions of people who look at this child porn stuff , but they cannot track down the few people who sell this stuff , They don't want those people , those people help keep them in business .

"WAKE UP AMERICA" The Coffee is burning on the Stove ,don't let your house burn down too ,

Alec
Alec

Joe Arpaio and Andrew Thomas are both fascist pigs! I hope they both burn in hell for eternity!

SouthWestern Progressive
SouthWestern Progressive

Newer versions of Joseph McCarthy & the HUAC witch hunts

I am stunned these anti-american right-wing republikkkan fascists who revile and spit on the constitution were allowed to go as far as they did by other officials, lawyers and citizens asleep at the wheel. That is truly scary in and of itself. Where is the progressive community? The regular democrats? Anyone with backbone? What a bunch of scared children they have become -- or maybe always have been.

I am reminded of this:

First they came for the communists, and I did not speak out� because I was not a communist; Then they came for the socialists, and I did not speak out� because I was not a socialist; Then they came for the trade unionists, and I did not speak out� because I was not a trade unionist; Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out� because I was not a Jew; Then they came for me� and there was no one left to speak out for me.

Rev. Martin Niem�r German Pastor Imprisoned at Sachsenhausen and Dachau concentration camps during WWII. +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Erika Page
Erika Page

Andrew Thomas and Joe Arpaio demanded respect for their families and they have no respect for the rest of the world. Andrew Thomas was scared for the safety of his siblings but what about Larking kids feelings when they found out that the Sheriffs were waiting for their dad, but he worst thing was for somthing personal..god..Joe Arpaio has 70000 warrants against criminals and he is spending time of his crew arresting a few corn vendors it is rediculous...I have seen actors turn into politics but these guys want to do the opposite but please dont use my money...use your own resources cause you guys have after all...

Jim Cozzolino
Jim Cozzolino

Thomas and Arpaio were full of shit then and even more so now.They both need to resign. They are disgrace to Maricopa County and the Right to Free Speech...But then again, Most NAZI's are.

 
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