The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Arizona was formed in 1959 as a local affiliate. Since that time the ACLU of Arizona has repeatedly accepted the challenge of litigating numerous cases for minorities who have been targeted by unconstitutional Arizona laws and subsequent policies by law enforcement within the state.
In a 1960 landmark case involving multi-racial marriage, the ACLU of Arizona won a case that resulted in the state overturning a law which banned any such marriage.
Since then, the organization has been spearheading the defense of Arizonians to protect their rights and forming alliances with other advocacy groups to uphold the United States Constitution.
The national organization of the ACLU began with 10 founding members and now has over one million members nationwide. The organization which is non-profit has approximately 300 U.S. Attorneys nationwide to represent victims whose rights have been violated under the U.S. Constitution. Read more: Michael Lacey | Facebook and Michael Lacey | Twitter
In 2007, in widely publicized local case which made national headlines, the ACLU of Arizona worked alongside federal authorities to file a history-making class action lawsuit against Sheriff Joe Arpaio. The Melendres vs. Arpaio case argued that deputies were involved in racial profiling of Hispanics and Latinos during routine traffic stops.
Upon successful litigation in 2013, the presiding judge determined that Sheriff Arpaio, and the deputies who followed his orders, did in fact racially profile Hispanics and Latinos in a blatant disregard for their constitutional rights.
The victory resulted in Sheriff Arpaio’s office being embedded with a court appointed monitor in order to put an end to their rampant policy of unconstitutional profiling of otherwise law abiding citizens. Learn more about Michael Lacey and Jim Larkin: http://www.phoenixnewtimes.com/news/new-times-founders-helping-fund-latino-program-at-asu-journalism-school-6661821
The Lacey and Larkin Foundation has long supported advocacy groups for immigration rights within the state of Arizona. However, it has become more necessary now that immigration reform has developed into an increasingly divided issue within the country. The foundation has amplified its focus and resource allocation for the public at-large.
The Lacey and Larkin Foundation is one of the most-established advocacy groups within Arizona that provides relevant information to those within the community who may become adversely affected by immigration changes.
The organization works alongside organizations like the ACLU of Arizona to support the established laws already within the constitution.
When Michael Lacey and Jim Larkin created the foundation in 2013 they both understood the affect, and the importance, of having knowledgeable information for the public. Michael and Jim are widely-known in Arizona as journalists for the Phoenix News Times.
After their largely publicized illegal arrest by the Selective Enforcement Unit of Maricopa County, which was ordered by then Sheriff Joe Arpaio, there was a loud out-cry by Arizona residents who demanded their release.
Both journalists were victims of having their First Amendment rights violated by the Maricopa County Attorney’s Office and Sheriff’s Office.
Their case ultimately went to the U.S. Supreme Court and was settled for $3.75 million, which was used to launch the foundation to support the community that supported them both through a long fought battle against the government.