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Ignoring The Will Of The People

You would never in a million years see an opinion like State v. Hancock in anything but a criminal case. In it, the Supreme Court of Arizona spent its valuable time analyzing a provision that said a certain group authorized to do a certain thing cannot be denied “any right or privilege . . . by a court” for doing that thing. One party was a member of that group, and the other party was trying to have a court deny her the thing a court by law cannot deny her. It might seem like the Supreme Court’s conclusion is beyond obvious, and it surely should be. The problem, however, is that the party arguing the law does not mean what it says is the State of … Read entire article »

Filed under: Drugs

The Enemy Is All Of Us

You’d probably think that Maricopa County Attorney Bill Montgomery’s moral compass is tried and true. It certainly should be, as he leads one of the nation’s largest public prosecutorial agencies. His office chooses who to charge, what to charge, and what pleas to offer in this gigantic county of ours, and for most of the individuals his deputies prosecute, he might as well be omnipotent. Unfortunately, his ability to distinguish right and wrong, and accordingly the good guys from the bad guys, seems deeply flawed. In a recent debate with my friend (and awesome criminal defense attorney) Marc Victor, he called a US military veteran an “enemy” for smoking marijuana. The New Times described the exchange, which occurred during a question and answer session at the … Read entire article »

Filed under: Prosecutors

Calling You Out, Brian Sloan And “The Arizona DUI Team”

As much as I value the information they can provide and respect many of my colleagues who participate in them, I don’t belong to any of the local lawyer listservs. I quickly tire of people bragging about wins, and I find that the ones who brag the most tend to paint less than complete pictures of what really happened. There are occasionally other sorts of misinformation too. Plus, I hate needless drama. It’s exhausting. Earlier today, someone brought to my attention a perfect example of why I’m not involved in listservs. Here it is, a message to a DUI lawyer listserv from lawyer Brian Sloan, who apparently leads “The Arizona DUI Team” (make sure you capitalize the “The,” apparently), trying to “call out” an excellent … Read entire article »

Filed under: Uncategorized

The Story Of A Real Victim

This will be the third time I’ve written about the beloved local law enforcement technique of tricking men who are seeking escorts of legal age into making deals with undercover cops pretending to be underage prostitutes. First, I described the process generally, from the state’s shaky cases to the brutal mandatory minimums that universally secure guilty pleas with ease. Then, I explored my creative side with a little poem. I didn’t talk much about the poor people who get caught up in all of this, though, the only real victims in these cases. One victim stands out more than any other. I got a call one Friday night from a distressed friend of a man who’d been taken into custody that afternoon on what the friend … Read entire article »

Filed under: immigration, Prosecutors, Sex Crimes

The MVD Should Not Be Allowed To Have Nice Things

Arizona’s MVD, our equivalent of what everyplace else seems to call the DMV, has been on a bit of a rampage lately. I used to routinely wait months and months to get a hearing on a license suspension, but now they schedule them with such a quick turnaround that they conflict with other things in my calendar more often than not. This notice arrived in the mail on February 23, 2015: By the time I received it, the hearing was only fifteen days away.  Had my client needed a foreign language interpreter, it would’ve already been too late to request one.  Had it arrived just a few days later, I would’ve gotten it after my deadline to move to continue the hearing it set. Noticing it was dated February 12, 2015, … Read entire article »

Filed under: MVD Hearings

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 … 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 … 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 … 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 … 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 … Read entire article »

Filed under: DUI

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