» Blog

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

It's All Illegal

Years ago, I thought I knew what was illegal and what was not. Now, I know that what I once thought I knew may in fact be unknowable. Take hindering prosecution, for instance. In Arizona, a person commits the offense of hindering prosecution if, with the intent to hinder the prosecution of another person for any felony, the person renders assistance to the other person. A person can render assistance by knowingly preventing by means of deception anyone from performing an act that might aid in the prosecution of the other person. I have a client who was in custody last summer, sitting on the chain in court waiting for a hearing. An officer came to court to get a handwriting exemplar from another inmate on the … Read entire article »

Filed under: Government Rants

Loose Ends

A good friend of mine makes his living managing musicians and musical groups. Driving back to reality after a weekend of fishing and grilling out with his friends last summer, the two of us discussed our respective careers at length. He pieces together very different types of work to make ends meet, and it works very well for him. It keeps things interesting, and he can make his own schedule. Things can get hectic, but things can also be very calm. His work life has obvious goal posts. The next booking or the next concert signifies a clear stop to a given task. He can tie up loose ends before beginning a new project. Although I have one very clearly delineated job, to some extent, … Read entire article »

Filed under: Practice in General

Rethinking the Plea

I work with all kinds of different prosecutors. When it comes to plea bargaining, the differences often become particularly apparent. A lot of prosecutors send out a letter with the first plea offer saying how any subsequent offers will be substantially harsher. They tell you the first offer goes away as soon as they have to do work, and they may view counter-offers as rejections. They have to think about your proposal, don’t they? Plea negotiations are a game where the plea isn’t intended to fairly resolve the case based on its unique facts and the unique history of the defendant, but to minimize workload and maximize the efficient use of state resources. Some prosecutors make offers that plainly indicate they fear trial and will do almost … Read entire article »

Filed under: Prosecutors

Movin' On Up

I haven’t had much time to write these past few weeks due in large part to the fact the firm has moved. We are now located in Tempe, much closer to Phoenix and most of the courts where we usually practice. The move actually happened on the 1st of January, more or less, but the transition was still happening until this week. For all I know, it may well continue happening for weeks to come. I say that because it turns out Brown & Little, P.L.C., is the first business in the history of the world to move offices. I know it seems implausible, but I am certain you’d agree if you got to see how more or less every vendor involved dealt with the … Read entire article »

Filed under: Uncategorized

Not Just Bad TV

Earlier in the week, I watched a TV program I wish I could un-watch. I fought watching it at the beginning. I made fun of it once it started. I even shielded my eyes and covered my ears when I couldn’t handle the stupidity any longer. For most of it, I was so uncomfortable I didn’t know if I could make it through the whole thing. I could feel my IQ dropping, but I couldn’t leave. Oh, the things we do for love! The show was Harry’s Law. The entire thing was terrible, but one part went beyond normal bad TV. The part that transcended the average prime time schlock in awfulness, unfortunately, was the primary storyline itself. The main character, … Read entire article »

Filed under: Courts, Government Rants, Practice in General

Articles Comments

Web Design by Actualize Solutions