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The Joy of Mid-April

I’m always in a terrible mood around the 15th of April. It’s the time of year when I get to think about just how much money the state and federal governments take from me and my business. I get to remember that, not only do I get to pay taxes, but I also get to pay people to help me pay taxes. I have to answer questions, make calls, send emails, send faxes, and write checks. It’s a waste of time I could devote to more important things, like my clients. I saw Obama on the television giving a speech yesterday. He was short on details, but his message seemed to be that Americans don’t have to make any sacrifices. We don’t have to … Read entire article »

Filed under: Government Rants, Practice in General

Details

Jeff Gamso put up a post today that included, among other things, a portion of a detailed log about what one death row inmate did prior to his execution. For example, at 10:50:23, he asked for grape soda. At 10:55:36, he requested a “special meal” of a T-bone steak with A-1 steak sauce and a “Chief” salad with blue cheese dressing. Details like that make everything feel more real, and in this particular case, those details really humanize that man for me. Knowing his last meal does more to upset me about his execution than all the mitigation in the world. It drives home that the government killed a person. It’s hard for me to think that an evil monster would have a favorite steak … Read entire article »

Filed under: Trial

Reacting to Tragedy

Last Friday marked the start of Arizona Bike Week. Tragically, before the second day of events had ended, the local motorcycling community lost one of its shining stars. Kimmy Chapman, founder of a national publication for bikers and by all accounts a great person, was killed by a 22-year-old in an SUV who claimed he didn’t see the bike she was on when he failed to yield the right of way. ABATE, one of Arizona’s motorcycle rights organizations, issued the following official statement in response to the tragedy: ABATE of Arizona, Inc. 7509 N. 12th St, #200 Phoenix, AZ 85020 ABATE OF ARIZONA STRONGLY CHALLENGES THE DECISION OF ARIZONA LAW ENFORCEMENT IN RIGHT OF WAY COLLISION FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: March 28, 2011 Contact: Ross Rutherford, President, ABATE of Arizona, Inc. president@abateofaz.org (928) 925-4204 On Saturday, March … Read entire article »

Filed under: Bikers' Rights, Legislation

A Letter to Pinal County Sheriff Paul Babeu

Dear Sheriff: I am sure you have heard by now about Sheriff Joe’s recent high-publicity raid in Laveen. In a valiant effort to stop the unlawful raising of chickens for cockfighting, surely the single most serious problem affecting the good citizens of Maricopa County, your neighboring sheriff rolled out his prized tank and showed the community that such animal cruelty will not be tolerated by terrorizing a neighborhood and euthanizing 115 birds. Sheriff Joe’s impressive display of force, which included numerous SWAT officers in full gear, armored vehicles, and a bomb robot, is just the kind of thing your office should do to remind the good people of Pinal County that your office loves animals too. Hopefully I do not have to remind you about the recent frog-fucker debacle … Read entire article »

Filed under: Uncategorized

Outlawing Awesome

Over at Defending People, Mark Bennett posts about a video that’s recently gone viral. In it, a scrawny Australian bully torments a bigger, older victim before getting his ass handed to him. The official response seems to be not just against the bully, but against the victim who fought back. Mark calls it a “Bully Rorschach Test” and says, “I see that giving government a monopoly on the lawful use of force is dangerous to us and corrosive to society.” He asks: “What do you see?” Well, first off, I definitely see what Mark sees. But I also see something dwelling deep within our society that’s now becoming apparent on the surface. I see that the government, just like most people these days, is … Read entire article »

Filed under: Government Rants

Stay on Your Side

In each Maricopa County courtroom, the side of the gallery behind the defense table is for defendants and their families. The side behind the prosecution is for victims, law enforcement, and other people there for the prosecution. When I’ve been in trial, the sides either tend to be equal or they overwhelmingly favor the prosecution’s side. The policy doesn’t seem too ridiculous then, as it makes sense to keep a defendant’s family from sitting right next to the victim’s family. I can see how there might be some potential for trouble. During a court’s regular law and motion calendar, where it’s nothing but scheduling conferences and release hearings, the policy creates a different result. There may be forty out of custody defendants on the calendar. … Read entire article »

Filed under: Courts

Sex, Lies, and Experts' Reports

Representing people charged with sex crimes quickly introduces a lawyer to a new world of tests and a fascinating subculture of experts. Over time, I think I’ve figured out a good bit of how it works. Every doctor who’s ever studied sex offenders has had a test named after him. If he had a partner, the test is identified by both of their names separated by an ampersand. It continues on like that as you add doctors. The tests are published in periodicals that are carefully read by every other doctor in the field, each himself hoping to one day have his doctor-friends talking about and performing his test. Occasionally, doctors don’t like seeing their names in lights, so their tests just get an official-sounding … Read entire article »

Filed under: Sex Crimes

Sexy Sax Man

I have some great clients, but my case load would really be a lot better if I got to defend this guy too: Sax Man Serenade Prank – Watch more Funny Videos H/T Kris … Read entire article »

Filed under: Uncategorized

Stay Classy, Joe

The title comes from Adrian, not me, but it fits. Just the kind of thing you’d expect to see on an official law enforcement vehicle for the sheriff’s office of the fourth largest county in the United States, right? Plastic pink flamingos and junk cars on cinder blocks in the front yard of every county facility are coming soon, I hear. … Read entire article »

Filed under: Police

Scalia and Analogies

Other bloggers have covered Michigan v. Bryant at length. I have no intention of discussing how the United States Supreme Court eviscerated the confrontation clause or even getting to the substance of the opinion itself. Instead, I’d rather think back to Crawford v. Washington after reading this little gem from Associate Justice Antonin Scalia, which Jeff Gamso cited here in a post after Michigan v. Bryant: Dispensing with confrontation because testimony is obviously reliable is akin to dispensing with jury trial because a defendant is obviously guilty. This is not what the Sixth Amendment prescribes. Love him or hate him, you have to admit Scalia is one hell of a writer. I think he really shines when it comes to analogies, with the above analogy definitely counting as … Read entire article »

Filed under: SCOTUS Cases

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