First Amendment Rights Prove Historic With Landmark Case by Michael Lacey and Jim Larkin

As journalists for the Phoenix News Times, Michael Lacey and Jim Larkin knew their First Amendment rights on October 18, 2007. That is the day which they were both arrested by the Selective Enforcement Unit after a series of stories they had written about Sheriff Joe Arpaio, including allegations involving his Deputies. They had written about the racial profiling of Latino’s who were being harassed by the Deputies on the order of Sheriff Arpaio. It was their journalistic duty to report stories as the facts would lead them.

Michael and Jim originally met while attending college at the Arizona State University. They teamed up to bring their journalistic talents together and began a successful and popular readership-following from their news articles with the Phoenix News Times. The two were considered as having editorial influence through their popularity as credible journalists.

As Michael and Jim continued to write about the Sheriff’s Office, they uncovered shocking information relating to financial improprieties, unfair treatment of inmates, racial bias and intimidation, unlawful detention as well as U.S Constitution violations. The facts of the stories were not received very well by Sheriff Arpaio who grew increasingly more annoyed with the information being made public.

As “America’s toughest Sheriff”, Arpaio did not take the stories lightly. Through an attempt of intimidation and blatant abuse of power, Sheriff Arpaio put pressure on the Maricopa County Attorney’s Office to issue Michael and Jim subpoenas in order to get them to release information pertaining to the stories written in the Phoenix News Times by the journalists.

Michael and Jim refused to cooperate with the subpoenas and included that information in subsequent stories written within their news column. They included the facts that the Maricopa County Attorney’s Office was requesting IP addresses, search history and browsing activity of readers who obtained the articles as well as all notes, research and editor material that was used to write the content.

Michael and Jim were arrested on October 18, 2007, and released within 24 hours after an outcry within the Phoenix area. They subsequently filed a lawsuit against the Maricopa County Attorney’s Office and the Sheriff’s Office –including Arpaio– and ultimately settled the case for $3.75 million. In 2013, Michael and Jim formed the Lacey and Larkin Fund with the proceeds from the settlement. The fund is used to fight against injustices within the Latino, immigrant and migrant worker community.

Securus Technologies Puts Customers First

Securus Technologies has made many improvements over the years. Most known for their telecommunication services, the 30-year-old company stretches far beyond its most popular product. Other services include management software, video visitation, monitoring, and now even a device to prevent contraband cell phone calls and messaging. Developed and managed by the recently acquired company of JPay, wireless containment systems are making the institutions safer places to be.

 

WCS devices operate like a cell phone tower, however, they prevent calls and messages from being placed. By blocking the device from connecting to its appropriate network, the call or message is intercepted. The user hears a message stating that the call has been disconnected. Phones are typically smuggled into facilities with visitors, mailed in packages, or even dropped in yards by drones. The use of illegal phones has become so problematic, that an infant was killed as a result of such activity.

 

A prominent advocate for WCS in facilities is Robert Johnson. He is currently a consultant for Securus and has been greatly affected by the dangers of contraband devices. Johnson is a former corrections officer who was shot six times in retaliation for confiscating a package valued at around $50,000. Although the odds of him surviving were greatly stacked against him, he managed to pull through and even save his wife from being harmed in the process. He’s so passionate about the topic that he’s trying to get legislation to make the systems mandatory.

 

While still in the beginning phases, Securus has reported great success thus far. No official number was stated, but it’s believed that well over a billion calls were intercepted, making the project greatly successful. Securus plans to introduce the technology via the JPay brand name into facilities across the country. GovPayNet has also recently joined the Securus family of brands, and also works in the financial services sector. Processing all different types of payments on behalf of the US government, the company is excited to join the family. The company also plans to work alongside JPay to strengthen its influence in the business.

 

Securus Technologies puts its customers first. With over 95 percent customer satisfaction and an “A+” Better Business Bureau rating, Securus is able to substantiate its position. The company also brings affordable alternative products to the table, saving customers both time and money. Connecting inmates to their loved ones is what Securus does best, and it remains a priority in light of all the recent improvements.

 

Jim Larkin: Revolutionary Irish Labor Organizer

Early 20th Century Organizer

“A fair day’s work for a fair day’s pay” was the rallying cry of James Larkin, a labor organizer in Ireland in the early 1900’s. Most often known for his leadership role in the Belfast Dockers and Carters Strike of 1907, his advocacy led to the founding of the Irish Transport and General Workers’ Union (ITGWU) and Britain’s Labour Party. Larkin is celebrated in Ireland for he revolutionized labor organizing by advocating for all workers to be unionized.

Unions Are for All Workers

Growing up in the slums of Liverpool and leaving school at age 11 to work on the docks, Larkin developed into a committed socialist. He believed that workers were mistreated. In 1905 he joined the National Union of Dock Laborers (NUDL) and became a full-time organizer for worker’s rights.

His methods, though, were radical and the NUDL transferred him to Dublin. Larkin formed a union, the Irish Transport and General Workers’ Union (ITGWU). His goal was to combine all Irish Industrial workers, both skilled and unskilled, into one large union. He gave convincing speeches proclaiming that unions “were for all”. Read more: Jim Larkin | Biography and James Larkin | Ireland Calling

His oratory was extraordinary. One member of royalty remarked, “Sitting there, listing to Larkin, I realized that I was in the presence of…some great primeval force rather than a man.” On the strength of his oratory and the power of his message, the union grew to 15, 000 members. The Irish Trades Union Congress recognized the power of the ITGWU, and in 1912 it established the Labour Party.

Larkin’s Legacy

Prior to Jim Larkin’s work in labor organizing, dockers and carters, the men who worked the docks and carried products from the docks in horse-drawn carts, lived in squalid conditions. The dockers and carters were fired and blacklisted if they attempted to organize for better wages or working conditions.

The craft unions were narrowly focused on the needs of each particular trade and excluded what we call today “the rank and file.” Larkin’s legacy is that he transformed the collection of small unions into one large and powerful union that embraced the mass of workers.

He taught them that with numbers they had respect, standing, and political power. Larkin summed up his life when he said, “For years and years I have done the work I was born for.”

Learn more about Jim Larkin:

http://spartacus-educational.com/IRElarkin.htm
http://www.irishexaminer.com/lifestyle/artsfilmtv/books/the-definitive-biography-of-big-jim-larkin-372254.html