The self-proclaimed "toughest sheriff in America" Joe Arpaio will soon need some defending of his own. The U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that two news executives for the Phoenix New Times can sue the Maricopa County sheriff's office for their arrests in 2007, according to the Huffington Post.
Newspaper executives (and co-owners) Michael Lacey and Jim Larkin were arrested in their homes in the middle of the night after the newspaper reported the sheriff's office planed to use a subpoena to find out who was dishing the dirt to journalists about the sheriff. The subpoenas called for the paper to reveal its "confidential sources as well as produce reporters' and editors' notebooks, memoranda and documents" related to any and all stories about Arpaio. The New Times refused, and Lacey and Larkin had misdemeanor charges that were dropped the next day.
A lower court had dismissed Larkin and Lacey's suit for $15 million, which alleged that the sheriff's office falsely arrested them, violated their right to due process and targeted them for selective prosecution. That's when they took their case to an appeals court.
"Sheriff Arpaio should have known that arresting someone at his home requires a warrant, unless there are exigent circumstances," the appeals court opinion said. "We cannot fathom what exigent circumstances compelled either arrest."
Lacey, one of the co-owners, told the Huffington Post: "Sheriff Joe Arpaio's arrest and jailing of journalists is part of a pattern of trying to silence critics. It is an outrageous abuse of power. But he loves the publicity, even when it backfires. Arpaio relishes law enforcement by headline. Today he rounds up Mexicans. Tomorrow's target is anybody's guess."
Arpaio was unable to comment as he is in Tampa for the Republican National Convention. He already faces another lawsuit alleging racial profiling in his department.
What do you think of this lawsuit? Should Arpaio resign?