Appeals Court Reinstates Lawsuit Against AZ Prosecutor For Wrongful Arrests

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit reinstated the portion of a federal lawsuit filed by the owners of Phoenix New Times against the special prosecutor who they claim ordered their arrests under orders from Arizona Sheriff Joe Arpaio. Although the appeals court also ruled that Maricopa County Attorney Andrew Thomas has complete prosecutorial immunity and that there is no case against Arpaio, the judges found that the “arrests showed a definite ‘chilling effect’ on the paper’s right to publish without fear of political and government pressure.” In a partial dissent, Judge Jay Bybee called the case a “sordid tale of abuse of public office” and argued that “Arpaio used his considerable political clout in an attempt to pressure various prosecutors into charging the Phoenix New Times.”