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Rock Bottom

At a hearing earlier this week, I mentioned to the judge how a police officer unfairly targeted my client. It seemed to me that the cop was clearly out to get him. The judge laughed, “he’s a motor; of course he’s out to get your client, those guys are out to get everyone.” The prosecutor laughed too. The judge then mentioned how he gets extremely nervous every time he’s driving his car and sees a “motor” sitting there on a motorcycle, just waiting to catch someone for something. “I keep my hands at ten and two, go under the speed limit, and only look straight ahead,” he joked. The prosecutor chimed in, “those guys will nail you for anything; they’d give their own mother … Read entire article »

Filed under: Government Rants

Prosecutorial DV Psychosis

Negotiating with prosecutors in domestic violence cases can be impossible, as the mere filing of such a case somehow instantly cements in their minds the roles each person involved the case must play. Fairly often, no amount of rational argument or actual evidence is capable of overcoming that. Even otherwise reasonable prosecutors end up absolutely convinced of their position despite overwhelming cause for doubt. This fascinating but also disturbing loss of contact with reality is something I like to call “prosecutorial DV psychosis.” Let’s start with a hypothetical domestic violence situation where there’s a recanting victim. A girlfriend called the police one night and said her boyfriend broke her cell phone. They were both drunk, and the phone was broken. The boyfriend got angry talking … Read entire article »

Filed under: Domestic Violence, Prosecutors

Let This Be A Lesson

If you read it carefully, the recent opinion from the Arizona Court of Appeals in State v. Woods can tell you a lot about how criminal appeals work in Arizona. In it, the trial court judge did something very unusual and suppressed evidence obtained during a lawful initial stop and subsequent search of a car because the defendant refused to allow the officer to search some boxes and the officer had no information “to suggest a basis for reasonable suspicion as to the transportation of illegal substances.” The officer had first found the boxes in question during a supposed consent search. The appellate court wrote that the trial court “acknowledged” that their “consistency and density” was “consistent with his experience with packaging of illegal substances.” The use of … Read entire article »

Filed under: Arizona Cases, Drugs

A Terrible Idea All Around

It seems that ABATE of Arizona, which I would like to think of as a rights organization, has decided to support a statewide law against texting while driving. The proposed statute would create penalties of $100.00 for a first offense and $300.00 for second and subsequent offenses, and fines of $500.00 where there is an accident and $10,000.00 where death results from the accident. The proposed law is not only pointless and maybe even dangerous, but it is more or less guaranteed to further erode our rights. It is not the sort of thing any purportedly freedom-loving organization should ever support. First, as others have noted before me, we have plenty of laws to deal with the problem already. If your texting results in even the slightest … Read entire article »

Filed under: Uncategorized

It’s Not About DUI At All

Driving around lately, the number of police officers everywhere is absolutely astounding. I’ve seen more people stopped by officers on the side of the road than I ever have before. Cops seem to be lurking around every corner on the freeways, causing people to suddenly slam on the brakes and ram into each other like a game of bumper cars. They’re all over the surface streets too. The Arizona DUI media machine is in overdrive as well, with things like this passing for news: “Super Bowl revelers: Arizona tough place for DUIs” I must admit that it’s adorable when folks here in the valley think people who don’t live here have any interest in reading our shitty newspapers. It’s not so adorable that I live someplace where people are … Read entire article »

Filed under: DUI

A Superbowl Sex Sting Poem

As a warning for those who might think it wise to blog after judging a beer competition, I present without further ado a Superbowl sex sting poem for your enjoyment: ‘Twas the night before the Superbowl, when all through the state, Not a hooker was stirring, who wasn’t a fake; The cops posted their escort ads on the internet with care, In hopes that potential Johns soon would surf there; The police were nestled all smug on their hotel room beds, While visions of entrapped soon-to-be sex offenders danced in their heads; And Adrian straightening his tie, and I in my suit, Had just settled down to field calls about police houses of ill repute, When from our office phones there arose such a clatter, I sprang from my chair to see what was the matter. Away to the jail I … Read entire article »

Filed under: Uncategorized

The Superbowl…Of Sex?

If I took the news here seriously, I’d probably be hiding under my bed right now. I would be filled with terror knowing that hordes of sex-crazed Superbowl attendees are currently descending on our fair state with an unquenchable desire to have sex with prostitutes and even children. Think I’m joking? Fox News reports that strip clubs and homeland security have teamed up “to crack down on sex traffickers as the Super Bowl rolls into town.” Other suspect sources report sex traffickers are coming in “droves.” Even the State Bar has jumped on the bandwagon with a Superbowl sex-trafficking CLE, and there’s an art exhibit about sex trafficking too, just in time for the game. Apparently nobody reads snopes anymore. Even articles that note things … Read entire article »

Filed under: Sex Crimes

Concealed Weapons In Arizona – Apparently Way Too Confusing For Lawyers

An out of state lawyer called me earlier today with questions about Arizona’s concealed carry law. As we spoke, I Googled “misconduct involving weapons az” to pull up the statute. The law was the first result, as it should be. I also noticed law firm websites, some belonging to lawyers I know, made up the majority of the remaining results on the first page. After the call, I clicked through to the lawyers’ websites out of curiosity. The first said “The following are punishable by up to 6 months in jail…carrying a concealed weapon without a permit.” It also included this: “Call us right away, anytime for an evaluation of your case and some expert advice.” The second said “Class 1 Misdemeanor Misconduct Involving Weapons … Read entire article »

Filed under: Arizona Statutes, Marketing

A Big Year For Marijuana DUI

In Arizona, a marijuana DUI used to be a pretty cut and dried thing. The law said it was a crime to be in actual control of a vehicle with marijuana “or its metabolite” in your body, and courts treated it as a strict liability offense for all metabolites, regardless of impairment. Marijuana DUIs were pretty much all charged under two subsections: (A)(1), which requires proof of impairment to the slightest degree, and (A)(3), the strict liability subsection that did not. Luckily, that changed when the Supreme Court of Arizona held last April that drivers cannot be convicted of the (A)(3) offense based merely on the presence of a non-impairing metabolite that may reflect prior usage of marijuana. As the opinion explained, THC is the primary psychoactive component … Read entire article »

Filed under: DUI

How To (Really) Get Through A DUI Checkpoint

An interesting DUI checkpoint video has been circulating lately. In it, the driver gets through without even rolling down his window, passing by with ease thanks to a plastic bag attached to his car with a string. The bag contained his license, registration, insurance information, and a note saying “I remain silent,” “No searches,” and “I want my lawyer.” As clever as it may be, it’s also dangerous to think it will always be that easy. The most important thing any driver or rider can keep in mind when dealing with police is that the law does not exist in a vacuum. It only matters as applied to the facts, and except in the most unusual circumstances, courts are going to adopt whatever “facts” the officer provides. … Read entire article »

Filed under: DUI

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