"Breathtaking Abuse of the Constitution"
October 19, 2007 2:12 PM Subscribe
Two executives of the alternative newspaper chain Village Voice Media were arrested last night after running a story about grand jury subpoenas [PDF] they received seeking reporters' notes and information on who visits their Phoenix New Times Web site. The article, titled "Breathtaking Abuse of the Constitution," claims that the grand jury investigation stems from a long-running feud with controversial county sheriff Joe Arpaio (who calls himself "America's toughest sheriff"). The subpoenas demand New Times turn over all notes, tapes and records of the reporters who have ever written about Arpaio. The subpoenas also seek online profiles of anyone who read four specific articles about Arpaio and profiles of anyone who visited the paper's Web site since Jan. 1, 2004. Also sought is information on what Web users did while on the site.
“Reports in the New-Times over more than a decade have detailed Arpaio's backroom dealings, his mistreatment of prisoners under his watch and his general scuminess. Prisoners at his county jail get only two meals a day, must wear pink underwear, and live in tents outside the jail where they work seven days a week in chain gangs, digging graves for the indigent.
An investigation by county prosecutors into the paper's reporting began when New-Times published Arpaio's home address on its website in 2004. A little-known Arizona statute dictates that it's legal to publish the home address of a law enforcement agent in print, or on the radio or television, just not on the Internet; when the print article was uploaded to the New-Times website, prosecutors pounced.”*
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