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Memorable New Times Holiday Covers from the Past Decade

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In honor of the holiday season, we decided to look back at the particularly memorable holiday covers of the past 10 years. It was pretty clear from reviewing the covers that holiday garland and the ubiquitous, feel-good "season for sharing" stories don't drive our art decisions.

5. Is Nothing Sacred?: Apparently Not in Joe Arpaio and Andrew Thomas' Wacked Legal World (2009): 

It seems unusually fitting that The Grinch would be wearing a Maricopa County Sheriff's Office uniform. Cover illustration by Brian Zick.

4. Double Exposure: Arizona's finally followed Utah's lead and launched serious action to stop abuses by polygamists (2003): 

Polygamy and Christmas go together like Sheriff Joe Arpaio and bungled sex crime investigations. And with all those moms, you're bound to get a lot of presents; children rejoice! Cover illustration by Brian Stauffer.

3. Payton Curry Plays Reindeer Games (2010): 

Who better to eat on Christmas day than Rudolph the Red-nosed Reindeer? In this year's feature, Payton Curry comes up with some fancy ways to show off the gastronomic possibilities of feasting on Santa's adorable sidekick. Photo by Jamie Peachey.

2. Omar Call Preaches Atheism on Tempe's Mill Avenue (2008) 

Christ, Jesus Christ. When Jesus returns, he'll be packing a Walther PPK fashioned out of a crucifix. Photo by Jamie Peachey.

Here's a brief explanation to a long story from New Times Editor in Chief Rick Barrs:

And who better to wish a merry freakin' Christmas than Sheriff Joe Arpaio, which's what this photo - resulting from a Yuletide, 2006, New Times cover -- was all about.

It's a long story as to how this shot of Joe angrily waving this New Times copy in the air -- beside his pal, now-disgraced former County Attorney Andy Thomas - came about. But it's one worth telling.

It all started with then-staffer John Dougherty's writing a column about Arpaio's vast real-estate holdings, the point being that Joe had redacted information on the commercial property while leaving his home address in public records for anybody to see. What was he hiding, and who was he trying to fool?

Arpaio had blacked out the info under a state statute that allows law-enforcement officials' to hide their addresses because somebody they've arrested could theoretically find them and do them harm. But... why did Joe keep secret the information on his commercial property and leave public his home address? Dougherty posed this question while putting the actual home address in Fountain Hills at the end of his column. If Arpaio didn't care to conceal his real home address (it could be found in county records with the click of a mouse), then why should we?

We didn't know at the time that another state law prohibited publishing law officers' home addresses on the Internet -- the arcane statute, however, made no such prohibition when it came to publishing such addresses in print publications, on billboards, or in broadcast media.

Boiling mad at New Times for listing his home address while questioning how he had acquired millions of dollars in commercial property on a public servant's salary, Arpaio sought charges against us, which caused then-County Attorney Thomas (after another county prosecutor's office had passed on prosecuting New Times) to order an investigation.

When we picked up on Arpaio's seeking the charges, our response was to publish Arpaio's home address on New Times' Christmas cover in the form of a holiday card - which was perfectly legal (since the address only appeared in print this time) and which, naturally, didn't go over well with the sheriff.

Thus, the photo taken later at an Arpaio-Thomas press conference on the investigation.

How did it all end?

Thomas appointed a special prosecutor, Dennis Wilenchik, who sent out subpoenas seeking privileged information about our staff and readers. Our founders wrote a story exposing this tactic, and the evening after the article was published in October, 2007, they were arrested and taken to jail. After his release the next morning, executive editor Michael Lacey spoke to a throng of media we had assembled outside the Fourth Avenue Jail, and the story went viral. By the next afternoon, there had been so much public outrage that Thomas was forced to drop charges of exposing grand jury secrets against Lacey and CEO Jim Larkin and throw out the investigation of New Times.

It was later discovered that no grand jury ever existed (Wilenchik had just ordered up the subpoenas on his own), making the arrests more bogus than ever. A false-arrests lawsuit by New Times against Arpaio, Wilenchik, and Maricopa County is pending.

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