Brown & Little, P.L.C. » Blog

Difficult Clients

When I first considered becoming a lawyer, I asked a lot of lawyers for their thoughts about practicing law. Two of those lawyers told me the same thing: “the practice of law would be perfect if it weren’t for clients.” What was particularly surprising about that comment was that it came from lawyers thousands of miles apart practicing in completely different areas of law. They were clearly kidding (kind of), as they’re both dedicated advocates for their clients, but the advice let me know that representing people may be the reason for going into law, but those same people may also be the primary source of difficulty in the job. I do my best to build strong working relationships with all my clients. They trust me with … Read entire article »

Filed under: Clients, Practice in General

We Made It!

It sure warms my heart when my alma mater (for law school, at least) gets mentioned on national TV. … Read entire article »

Filed under: Law School

Better Ban Spice

According to the Arizona Republic, the Drug Enforcement Administration is giving head shops until Christmas Eve to get rid of all their “Spice.” Spice is a synthetic drug intended to mimic the effects of marijuana. Because its effects are so unpredictable and it is so readily available, the DEA has decided to ban the drug for a year to conduct tests. I didn’t know much about spice before today, but I learned a lot reading the article. Spice is apparently produced by taking chemical compounds from overseas manufacturers and spraying those compounds onto dried herbs. The chemicals bind to the same receptor in a human brain as the active ingredient in marijuana, but it’s more powerful than marijuana. It’s made with a chemical compound more potent … Read entire article »

Filed under: Government Rants, Legislation, News

The Coverage Dilemma

I do my best to personally attend every single hearing for every single client I represent. Every lawyer I respect does the same. Despite my best intentions, however, I admit I’ve had to ask for coverage. I’m sure I’ll have to do it again. Trials sometimes go longer than planned, and judges sometimes set things over my objection. Every judge thinks his or her orders are the most important. When a non-lawyer justice of the peace sets a misdemeanor pretrial opposite a felony jury trial that’s been docketed for five months, you can bet I’ll be sending another lawyer to do that pretrial. I’ll send someone I trust, but it won’t be me. Yesterday morning, the tables were turned when another lawyer asked me … Read entire article »

Filed under: lawyers, Practice in General

Self-Defense, Depublication, and Uncertainty

In Arizona, felons who haven’t had their rights restored can’t possess firearms. It’s a class 4 felony, and because alleged offenders are obviously likely to have at least one historical prior felony conviction, defendants charged with misconduct involving weapons under the prohibited possessor subsection usually face a pretty significant mandatory prison term. What if they possess the firearm in self-defense though? The self-defense statute justifies “threatening or using physical force against another.” It doesn’t necessarily justify possessing a firearm if you’re a prohibited possessor. Another statute justifies the defensive display of a firearm, again not specifically allowing a prohibited possessor to possess a firearm, and the statute governing the use of force in defense of a residential structure or occupied vehicle and the statute governing the use … Read entire article »

Filed under: Arizona Cases, Arizona Statutes, Procedural Rules

The Goal

Being a criminal defense lawyer is a funny thing sometimes. When I look at many of my colleagues, I feel like we live in completely different worlds. Some firms have mascots. Some lawyers put signs up all around the jails saying they guarantee the lowest price around. There’s a guy who does every DUI for a few hundred dollars, a guy with a catchy jingle that constantly plays on Mexican radio stations, and a guy who has a business card with a shark on it. Okay, well maybe two of those guys are same guy, but he’s a hell of a guy. Or so I’ve heard. It’s strange to look at someone who’s doing something so vastly different from what I do and realize that … Read entire article »

Filed under: Practice in General, Professionalism

Just Another Double-Standard

Clients who are interested in a plea usually want a probation plea. It should come as no surprise that most criminal defendants would love to avoid prison, and in Arizona, the potential range of prison for the charge underlying the conviction gets suspended while the defendant completes probation. Violate and you face the original prison sentencing range, but in the end, whether you ever end up facing any prison sentence at all is almost entirely in your hands. Probation isn’t all fun and games though. An Arizona criminal defendant can get up to a year in the county jail as part of probation. That’s especially tough considering that many county jails are terrible. Clients often tell me they’d rather spend a long time in state prison … Read entire article »

Filed under: Arizona Cases, Courts, Probation

Democracy Doesn't Work

After a whirlwind past two weeks, I decided to only work a half-day today. I went to the gym in the afternoon and decided to mix things up and do some cardio in front of a few TVs. Bad idea. One TV was showing a news program about bullying. The news ticker said Obama was thinking about withholding federal education money from states that don’t enact tough anti-bullying laws. Bullying is apparently an “epidemic,” and we need new laws. The point and counter-point seemed to consist of whether we should pass really ridiculously tough laws or really, really ridiculously tough laws. Another TV was showing a program about people blinding aircraft pilots with lasers. Some federal legislator seems determined to make it a federal … Read entire article »

Filed under: Government Rants

So You Want to Go to Law School?

I may be too busy to blog this week and last, but I’m not too busy to post this video: I could do without some of it, but I’ve gotta say that disgruntled young lawyers who got into this profession for the wrong reasons have to be some of the funniest people on earth. H/T Clooch, Koehler … Read entire article »

Filed under: Practice in General

"Cloaked in the Shroud of Innocence"

For the most part, Arizona superior court judges instruct juries from the same basic set of instructions. Cases will have additional, different instructions depending on things like the relevant statutes, the facts of the case, and whether there are any lesser included offenses or special defenses involved, but most instructions are the same from one trial to another. There may be little variations, as many seasoned judges do them from memory or get bored reading verbatim, but any lawyer who tries a lot of cases is going to notice right away if a judge isn’t following the typical script. In every trial I’ve done, the judge has given the jury some variation of Arizona’s standard “Presumption of Innocence” jury instruction. Here it is: The law does not require a … Read entire article »

Filed under: Courts, Trial

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