Ninth Circuit Revives Claims by Publishers Jailed Over Story

By: Kenneth Ofgang |

The publishers of a weekly newspaper, arrested late at night after publishing the contents of purported grand jury subpoenas, can sue the prosecutor who allegedly ordered their arrests, the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled yesterday.


Partially reversing a district judge’s decision, the panel said by Michael Lacey, Jim Larkin, and Phoenix New Times, LLC have alleged sufficient facts to state claims against former special prosecutor Dennis Wilenchik for malicious prosecution, violation of the First and Fourth Amendments, and malicious prosecution.


The panel, however, upheld District Judge Susan Bolton’s dismissal of the claim that Wilenchik deprived the publishers of equal protection by singling them out as targets of a grand jury investigation into whether they violated state law by publishing private information about Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio.

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