Brown & Little, P.L.C. » Blog

Ups and Downs

Private practice can be a roller coaster. The turns may widen and the grades may diminish as time passes, but the financial uncertainty never goes away altogether. Your threshold for risk will diminish as your practice grows. Traditionally, summer months are the hardest for me and Adrian, but this summer has been an exception. We’ve seen unexpected growth during a time when we usually hunker down and prepare for the worst. We’re lucky, but even if every month is a relatively good month compared to when you started out, you still never know what the next month holds. A lot of money can pour out of a business very quickly when times are slow. Running a small firm isn’t for the faint of heart. Running it … Read entire article »

Filed under: Marketing, Uncategorized

Poor Guy

Sometimes, I have to respect spammers. Perhaps my favorite spam comment to date comes from “vimax,” who writes as follows: I’m currently being held prisoner by the Russian mafia [penis enlargement] and being forced to post spam comments on blogs and forum! If you don’t approve this they will kill me. [penis enlargement] They’re coming back now. [penis enlargement] Please send help! [penis enlargement] I think I just saved a life by posting this. You can thank me when they free you, vimax. … Read entire article »

Filed under: Marketing

A Victim of the Drug War

I recently had a settlement conference for a client I really like. He’s a nice guy who never ceases to make my days a little brighter each time I see him. When I first met him and asked if he had any criminal history, he told me, “I have a terrible criminal history…terrible!” He said it like he was Richard Pryor in the middle of a stand-up routine, but it turned out he was right. Indeed, he was no stranger to the system. Based on his honesty, however, I knew was going to like him. He had a lot of prior felony convictions. Looking through his past, though, I could see that he never really hurt anyone except himself. He was an addict, and … Read entire article »

Filed under: Clients, Government Rants

What Do You Mean I Can't Complain?

I don’t vote. There are exceptions, of course, but for the most part, I choose not to vote in any local, state, or federal elections. It isn’t because I’m lazy or too busy. It’s because I think the system is broken and find almost every option on almost every ballot so terrible that I would feel overwhelming guilt and remorse if I voted for any of them and they actually won. Every politician is going to do something during his or her time in office that makes life worse for someone. I don’t trust politicians to do what they say they’ll do, and in general, I’m insufficiently educated to know what kind of impact most policies will have on the real world. I’m incapable of figuring … Read entire article »

Filed under: Uncategorized

No Life Experience Needed

I sat in the hallway outside a jail visitation room trying not to listen to the conversation going on inside the room. I really didn’t want to eavesdrop. I just wanted to get in and get out. I had three more visits before the day was over and couldn’t do my visit while the room was occupied. Inside, a probation officer was interviewing a defendant for a presentence report. He pled guilty, and she was getting information for the judge who was going to sentence him. She wasn’t very good at keeping the volume of her voice at a reasonable level and kept saying “okidokie” to the guy’s responses. She was probably in her late twenties, and she was overweight. She had a social … Read entire article »

Filed under: Courts, Government Rants, Practice in General

Paper Tigers

Arizona’s rules of criminal procedure explicitly give courts authority to preclude evidence if a party violates the discovery rules. However, the Supreme Court of Arizona has stated that “preclusion is rarely, if ever, an appropriate sanction for a discovery violation.” As a result of that language, Arizona trial courts almost never preclude evidence, especially when that evidence is a witness who was untimely disclosed or failed to participate in a deposition. I’ve tried arguing that preclusion is frowned upon because most published opinions deal with defendants noticing witnesses at the last minute. Defendants have a Sixth Amendment right to present witnesses, so the courts need to avoid preclusion so as not to infringe on defendants’ constitutional rights. I usually provide a string cite of cases frowning upon … Read entire article »

Filed under: Uncategorized

Where Do They Find These People?

I previously wrote about the Republican contenders for Arizona Attorney General, but I focused on a quirky third candidate, Taj, not Andrew Thomas or Tom Horne. After reading another article about the Republican race at Heat City, however, I began thinking Taj may be the only smart choice. From what I’ve read, it seems Thomas might be the subject of a federal grand jury investigation. Earlier this year, a court apparently found that he prosecuted people for personal political advantage and personal political retribution. The year before, judges supposedly called him unethical. I understand he’s got a pending bar investigation, so his license to practice law may be in trouble. Horne doesn’t seem that much better. He supposedly ran an investment firm that went bankrupt in 1970, … Read entire article »

Filed under: Government Rants

To Plead or Not to Plead?

In Arizona, mentally ill defendants tend go down one of two different paths. Neither path is very appealing, as the system simply isn’t equipped to deal with people suffering from serious mental illness. The first path involves Arizona’s defense of “guilty except insane.” I have never practiced in another state, but I can’t imagine a tougher, more restrictive approach to dealing with defendants whose actions were a result of their mental illness. To get a finding of guilty except insane, the defendant’s problem must be “severe” and prevent him from discerning right from wrong. We aren’t talking about your normal severe mental illness either. Anything that’s momentary, temporary, or arising from the pressure of the circumstances doesn’t count. Neither does moral decadence, depravity, or passion growing out … Read entire article »

Filed under: Clients, Procedural Rules

No Warm Fuzzies Here

The work of a criminal defense lawyer is often thankless.  You can put your heart and soul into something, and at the end of the day, you may be the only human being on earth who knows what good you’ve done, what difference you’ve made. When it looks like you’ve messed up, however, it rarely escapes notice. You’ll get caught. You’ll get called on it whether it’s your fault or not. I got to experience some of the thankless nature of the job yesterday morning. My first hearing was a change of plea. The client is already serving a prison sentence, and he has a couple of years left to go. There’s a decent constitutional issue, so I convinced the prosecutor to make him an … Read entire article »

Filed under: Clients, Courts, Practice in General

New Website

We apologize for the past 24 hours of broken links, repeated postings, and disappearing comments; we just updated our website and are still working out all the little glitches.  Hopefully everything will be sorted out and back to normal soon.  If you come across something that’s broken, please let us know right away.  Thanks! … Read entire article »

Filed under: Uncategorized

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