I heard this on NPR this morning, but unfortunately they didn't mention what the charges were. I didn't understand if they were violating some sort of gag order or what. Looking for the story this morning on my standard sites I could not find any information about it. Seems like big news to me.
They were arrested for publishing information about a grand jury request.
Excerpts from the article that got them in trouble
It is, we fear, the authorities' belief that what you are about to read here is against the law to publish. But there are moments when civil disobedience is merely the last option. We pray that our judgment is free of arrogance.
The subpoena in question asked for:
Every note, tape, and record from every story written about Sheriff Arpaio by every reporter over a period of years.
More alarming still, Arpaio, Thomas, and Wilenchik subpoenaed detailed information on anyone who has looked at the New Times Web site since 2004.
Here are some details of what they wanted in the subpoena:
The subpoena demands: "Any and all documents containing a compilation of aggregate information about the Phoenix New Times Web site created or prepared from January 1, 2004 to the present, including but not limited to :
A) which pages visitors access or visit on the Phoenix New Times website;
B) the total number of visitors to the Phoenix New Times website;
C) information obtained from 'cookies,' including, but not limited to, authentication, tracking, and maintaining specific information about users (site preferences, contents of electronic shopping carts, etc.);
D) the Internet Protocol address of anyone that accesses the Phoenix New Times website from January 1, 2004 to the present;
E) the domain name of anyone that has accessed the Phoenix New Times website from January 1, 2004 to the present;
F) the website a user visited prior to coming to the Phoenix New Times website;
G) the date and time of a visit by a user to the Phoenix New Times website;
H) the type of browser used by each visitor (Internet Explorer, Mozilla, Netscape Navigator, Firefox, etc.) to the Phoenix New Times website; and
I) the type of operating system used by each visitor to the Phoenix New Times website."
Was arresting these men just plain stupid?: this is surely a way to attract much more attention to this story and the abuse of civil rights than would have happened if they ignored the article until the decision of the grand jury.
Or perhaps they just believe our society's current diminished view of the constitution allows their bold and irreverent actions.