Court lets news execs sue Arpaio for arrest

Maricopa County, Arizona Sheriff Joe Arpaio attends the third day of the Republican National Convention at the Tampa Bay Times Forum on August 29, 2012, in Tampa, Florida. Getty Images

(CBS/AP) PHOENIX - Two newspaper executives who were arrested by Sheriff Joe Arpaio's office after a series of critical articles can sue the man who calls himself America's toughest sheriff.

The 9th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Wednesday overturned a lower court ruling that Phoenix New Times co-owners Michael Lacey and Jim Larkin could not sue authorities for the 2007 arrest. The men were arrested after revealing that Arpaio's allies in the Maricopa County attorney's office obtained a grand jury subpoena to identify sources for articles about the sheriff. Arpaio and the prosecutors eventually backed off.

The court ruled the executives could sue Arpaio for false arrest and violations of their First and 14th Amendment rights, among other claims.

New Times is an alternative weekly that is part of Village Voice Media.

Meanwhile, the ACLU is saying it expects a verdict this week in a civil suit brought by a small group of Latino drivers who accused Arpaio's department of basing some traffic stops on the race of Hispanics.

The lawyers in the case against Arpaio filed written closing arguments last week, reports CBS affiliate KPHO in Phoenix. The plaintiffs said they proved that the Maricopa Country Sheriff's Office violates the rights of Latinos under the Equal Protection Clause and the Fourth Amendment. Lawyers for Arpaio told the federal judge in the case that the plaintiffs failed to prove he and his deputies engaged in unconstitutional racial profiling.

Arpaio also learned this week whom he will be facing in the November election. Retired Phoenix police officer Paul Penzone beat another Democrat by a wide margin for the chance to take on the longtime Maricopa County Sheriff.

Penzone defeated John Rowan in Tuesday's primary with a margin of victory of more than 35 percentage points.

Arpaio is seeking a sixth term in office. The 80-year-old had more than $4 million in his campaign war chest early this month to fend off Penzone and independent Mike Stauffer. Stauffer is a Scottsdale police lieutenant.

Arpaio remains far ahead of three other candidates in fundraising for the Maricopa County sheriff's race.

The Republican sheriff raised $625,000 from June 1 through Aug. 8 and had $4.1 million in his re-election campaign fund at the end of the period. Democrat Paul Penzone raised $89,000 during that time and finished with $72,000 left over.

Independent Mike Stauffer's campaign says it had raised $1,640 and had $852 remaining at the end of the period.

Democrat John Rowan had $3,645 in contributions and had $1,843 at the period's end.

Arpaio has received numerous donations from people living outside Arizona.

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