When Arizona passed the proposition requiring undocumented students to pay an extra out-of-state fee and exempting them from receiving publicly funded scholarships, many students dropped out of school. However, a few others from Arizona State University came out and formed a support group for immigrant youths.
This group of undocumented and unafraid students was the start of the now Arizona Dream Act Coalition. Its main task is to fight for higher education, lower tuition fee, human and immigrant rights. The first founders of Arizona Dream Act Coalition had to compete for a private scholarship so that they can finish their studies.
The Arizona Justice Project is an organization formed in 1998 to help inmates whose cry of wrongful conviction is not heard. They also help inmates who are receiving excessive punishment like ones suffering from a life-threatening condition and are not receiving the care they need to receive and juveniles who have life imprisonment sentence. Learn more about Michael Lacey: http://www.laceyandlarkinfronterafund.org/
When a case is presented to Arizona Justice Project, it is given to a team that includes a staff of the organization or a pro-Bono lawyer and a student from any of the three law schools they work with.
They also have experts investigators responsible for tracking witnesses, finding evidence and information. AJP works with two clinics that specialize in wrongful conviction victims and forensic and DNA experts.
The organization issues newsletter to educate the public on misconceptions of wrongful conviction, keeping lawyers and law students up to date and informing supporters of its current cases and the development made in the old ones.
Lacey and Larkin’s arrest
In 2007, Michael Lacey and Jim Larkin were arrested at midnight and jailed for revealing the existence of grand jury proceedings that sought reporters’ notes on articles covering Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio. The co-founders of Phoenix New Times and Village Voice Media sued the county for violenting their First Amendment rights.
The journalist’s decision
Lacey and Jim finally won when United States Court of Appeals ruled in their favor and received a settlement of $3.75 million. The two have decided to use the money from their settlement to fund groups that are fighting for human, immigrants and civil rights.
Groups that advocate for freedom of speech and civil participation in Arizona will also receive funding. They do not want anybody to go through what they went through and that is how they came up with the idea of Lacey and Larkin Frontera Fund.