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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

I Guess This Isn't the Only Profession

Read this passage: [I]t is surpassingly strange that there is no connection between [school] programs, the trainers, and the [businesses] that will employ [graduates]. There is no dialogue about what type of [graduates] schools are preparing, how the paradigm needs to shift, and what new skills [employers] should be considering for the future. I cannot think of another industry where there is no relationship between the employers and the trainers. For the future, this really needs to change and I believe the key words are “partnerships” and “collaborations.” Sounds like a great idea, right? It sure does to me. In fact, it’s the kind of thing I’ve been saying here for a while. Every hiring lawyer I know has been saying it. Smarter law students … Read entire article »

Filed under: Law School

Introducing Arizona's Newest Criminal Defendant…

It’s me! My alleged crime? I’m charged with committing a class 2 misdemeanor in violation of A.R.S. 28-3480. If you’re too lazy to click on the link, it’s the law against operating a motor vehicle in violation of a driver license restriction. The restriction? My license, which expires in 2046 and which I received prior to undergoing eye surgery that left me with better-than-20/20-vision, supposedly restricts me from driving without corrective lenses or glasses. I’m facing four months of jail, two years of probation, and $750 in fines plus an 84% surcharge. The officer involved? One I’ve interviewed before in relation to a case. Coincidence? Who knows! Sometimes I wonder about my decision to live and work in … Read entire article »

Filed under: Uncategorized

Clients, Contracts, and Good Deeds

I could barely understand what she was saying. The woman on the phone was hysterical. She called me that afternoon out of desperation and was so distraught she didn’t make an awful lot of sense. I could piece together that her son was charged with a felony, that his arraignment was coming up very soon, and that he would lose his job if he had to request that day off of work. She insisted I was her son’s new public defender. It didn’t take me long to realize what was happening. Years ago, indigent defense contract work was a key component in our business model. People don’t line up to retain lawyers in their mid-twenties with about ten seconds of experience. Not if … Read entire article »

Filed under: Clients, Practice in General

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