Legal Issues facing the Backpage.com and its Founders

Michael Lacey and Jim Larkin are currently facing legal charges relating to the activities of the Backpage.com.

The FBI arrested the two individuals, some of their possession confiscated and seized backpage.com. In 2012, the pair sold the Village Voice Media but retained the Bacpahe.com. The events were prompted by the allegation that their website was a sex brothel that promoted both prostitution and children sex.

Although the indictment involves seven individuals, it is only Larkin and Lacey who have been charged. The defense attorney has viewed the arrest as being a breach of the First Amendments which warrants freedom of speech and expression.

Jim Larkin and Michael Lacey Background

Although both Michael Lacey and Jim Larkin had joined the Arizona State University, they dropped out and joined the Phoenix News Time. Jim Larkin headed the advertising section while Lacey served as the executive director.

They purchased the Westward Denver, Village Voice, Miami New Times and LA Weekly. Before selling the WM, the chain had more than 9 million print readers and 56 million monthly viewers. The outlets were used to communicate business, politics and social news. Read more:  Michael Lacey | GAtech and Michael Lacey | Wikipedia

Despite their arrest, they are of the view that both Section 230’s grant of immunity for all interactive platforms and the provision of the First Amendment equally applies to the Backpage’s listings.

Any attempt to shut down or seize an avenue of expression is thus regarded as being a violation of the first amendment. In the past, the two Phoenix natives have faced numerous charges but won. Just like in the previous cases, Lacey and Larkin argue that their activities are upheld in the First Amendment.

Events that led to the Creation of Fonterra Fund

The arrest of Larkin and Lacey prompted the creation of the fund in 2007 by County Sheriff Arapio. The arrests were retaliatory attacks to the news that has been published by Phoenix News concerning the misdeeds of the Sheriff. Instead of caving to the demands, the Lacey and Larkin wrote about the events which led to a public outcry and their release.

After the release, the two embarked on the creation of Fonterra Fund which seeks to benefit the Hispanic community that faced numerous instances of civil abuses in Arizona. It can thus be regarded as being a philanthropic initiative towards the local community where both Larkin and Lacey were brought up.