Arizona Sheriff Joe Arpaio might want to get ready to spend more time in court defending himself.

The U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled Wednesday that two news executives for the Phoenix New Times can sue the Maricopa County sheriff's office for their 2007 arrests.

The men, newspaper co-owners Michael Lacey and Jim Larkin, were arrested at their homes in the middle of the night after their publication reported the sheriff's office planned to use a subpoena to figure out who was talking to journalists about Arpaio. Arpaio's allies drafted subpoenas that "demanded that the paper reveal its confidential sources as well as produce reporters’ and editors' notebooks, memoranda, and documents" related to stories about Arpaio, according to the court ruling. The New Times refused, leading to misdemeanor charges against Lacey and Larkin of disclosing grand jury inner workings. The charges were dropped the next day.

The two executives attempted to sue Arpaio for $15 million in 2008, alleging that the sheriff's office falsely arrested them, violated their right to due process and targeted them for selective prosecution. A lower court dismissed that lawsuit, a ruling overturned by the federal appeals court.

"Sheriff Arpaio should have known that arresting someone at his home requires a warrant, unless there are exigent circumstances," the appeals court opinion said. "We cannot fathom what exigent circumstances compelled either arrest."

Arpaio spokeswoman Lisa Allen told Bloomberg that Arpaio is unable to comment because he is in Tampa for the Republican National Convention. "Upon his return, I’m certain he will review the court’s decision," she said.

New Times editor-in-chief Rick Barrs applauded the court decision, telling HuffPost that Arpaio will now "have to answer for it in court."

"What Joe Arpaio spearheaded, in cahoots with since-disbarred, ex-County Attorney Andrew Thomas, was a travesty of justice," Barrs said.

The weekly paper, part of the Village Voice network, has reported extensively on Arpaio since the mid-1990s.

Arpaio already faces a lawsuit alleging racial profiling in his department by civil rights groups. The Department of Justice sued Arpaio's office in May, also based on claims of racial profiling.

UPDATE: 6:45 p.m. -- Lacey, the newspaper co-owner, responded to the ruling with this statement:

Sheriff Joe Arpaio's arrest and jailing of journalists is part of a pattern of trying to silence critics. It is an outrageous abuse of power. But he loves the publicity, even when it backfires. Arpaio relishes law enforcement by headline. Today he rounds up Mexicans. Tomorrow's target is anybody's guess.

Also on HuffPost:

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  • The Template: California Proposition 187 (1994)

    California's Proposition 187 was submitted to the voters with the full support of then Republican governor Pete Wilson. It essentially blamed undocumented immigrants for the poor performance of the state economy in the early 1990s. The law called for cutting off benefits to undocumented immigrants: prohibiting their access to health care, public education, and other social services in California. It also required state authorities to report anyone who they suspected was undocumented. <strong>Status:</strong> The law passed with the support of 55 percent of the voters in 1994 but declared unconstitutional 1997. The law was killed in 1999 when a new governor, Democrat Gray Davis, refused to appeal a judicial decision that struck down most of the law. Even though short-lived, the legislation paved the way for harsher immigration laws to come. On the other hand, the strong reaction from the Hispanic community and immigration advocates propelled a drive for naturalization of legal residents and created as many as one million new voters.

  • The Worst: Arizona SB 1070

    The Arizona Act made it a misdemeanor for an undocumented immigrant to be within the state lines of Arizona without legal documents allowing their presence in the U.S. This law has been widely criticized as xenophobic and for encouraging racial profiling. It requires state authorities to inquire about an individual's immigration status during an arrest when there is "reasonable suspicion" that the individual is undocumented. The law would allow police to detain anyone who they believe was in the country illegally. <strong>Status:</strong> The law was signed into law by Arizona Governor Jan Brewer on April 23, 2010. But it has generated a swirl of controversy and questions about its constitutionality. A federal judge issued a ruling that blocked what critics saw as some of the law's harshest provisions. House: 35-31 (4/12/2011)

  • Following Arizona's Footsteps: Georgia HB 87

    The controversy over Arizona's immigration law was followed by heated debate over Georgia's own law. HB 87 required government agencies and private companies to check the immigration status of applicants. This law also limited some government benefits to people who could prove their legal status. <strong>Status:</strong> Although a federal judge temporarily blocked parts of the law considered too extreme, it went into effect on July 1st. 2011. House: 113-56 Senate: 39-17

  • Verifying Authorized Workers: Pennsylvania HB 1502

    This bill, which was approved in 2010, bans contractors and subcontractors employ undocumented workers from having state construction contracts. The bill also protects employees who report construction sites that hire illegal workers. To ensure that contractors hire legal workers, the law requires employers to use the identification verification system E-verify, based on a compilation of legally issued Social Security numbers. <strong>Status:</strong> Approved on June 8th 2010. House: 188-6 (07/08/2010) <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/donkeyhotey/" target="_hplink">Flickr photo by DonkeyHotey</a>

  • A Spin Off of Arizona: Utah HB 497

    Many states tried to emulate Arizona's SB 1070 law. However, most state legislatures voted against the proposals. Utah's legislature managed to approve an immigration law based on a different argument. Taking into consideration the criticism of racial profiling in Arizona, Utah required ID cards for "guest workers" and their families. In order to get such a card workers must pay a fee and have clean records. The fees go up to $2,500 for immigrants who entered the country illegally and $1,000 for immigrants who entered the country legally but were not complying with federal immigration law, <a href="http://articles.latimes.com/2011/mar/06/nation/la-na-illegal-immigration-20110306" target="_hplink">according to the LA Times.</a> <strong>Status: </strong> Law went into effect on 03/15/2011 House: 59-15 (03/04/2011) Senate: 22-5 (03/04/2011)

  • The Most Comprehensive: Florida HB-1C

    Florida's immigration law prohibits any restrictions on the enforcement of federal immigration law. It makes it unlawful for undocumented immigrants within the state to apply for work or work as an independent contractor. It forbids employers from hiring immigrants if they are aware of their illegal status and requires work applicants to go through the E-verify system in order to check their Social Security number. <strong>Status: </strong>effective since October 1st, 2010

  • The Hot Seat: Alabama HB 56

    The new immigration law in Alabama is considered the toughest in the land, even harder than Arizona's SB 1070. It prohibits law enforcement officers from releasing an arrested person before his or her immigration status is determined. It does not allow undocumented immigrants to receive any state benefit, and prohibits them from enrolling in public colleges, applying for work or soliciting work in a public space. The law also prohibits landlords from renting property to undocumented immigrants, and employers from hiring them. It requires residents to prove they are citizens before they become eligible to vote. The law asked every school in the state to submit an annual report with the number of presumed undocumented students, but this part, along with others, were suspended by federal courts. <strong>Status:</strong> Approved June 2nd, 2011 House: 73-28 (04/05/2011) Senate: 23-11 (05/05/2011) <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/longislandwins/" target="_hplink">Flickr photo by longislandwins</a>