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Why People Make Jokes About Arizona

Alessandro Garcia is a killer. There’s no doubt about it. By his own ongoing admission, Garcia was part of the infamous Buddhist Temple Massacre that occurred on August 10, 1991. I have no idea what actually happened or who else was involved, but it’s undisputed that Garcia and one or more others killed six Buddhist monks, two young initiates, and an elderly nun. Apparently, they shot all of the victims in the back of the head at close range more than once. The innocent victims were made to kneel on the floor of the temple before being shot dead, one by one. Some had died while praying. All but the first likely witnessed the others being shot. It was part of a robbery, and … Read entire article »

Filed under: Arizona Cases

He Was Screwed No Matter What

In a recent Supreme Court of Arizona case, State v. Duran, the defendant tried to plead guilty but the trial court rejected his plea. The trial court then royally messed up by saying the prosecutor could use statements Duran made in connection with his change of plea if he testified inconsistently with them at trial. It’s important here to keep in mind the fact the trial court was wrong. Duran’s statements never, ever should have been used against him. The trial court made a mistake, and as a result, the defendant was confronted with the dilemma of testifying and bearing the disastrous brunt of the court’s mistake or not testifying and probably making the best of a really bad situation. A conviction would pretty much be guaranteed … Read entire article »

Filed under: Arizona Cases, Courts

99.9996 Percent Of Prosecutors Are Better Than That

I wrote last week about the first of a great series of articles at the Arizona Republic tackling the subject of prosecutorial misconduct. A surprisingly touchy and defensive group, apparently, some of the biggest-name prosecutors in the state shot back with a group response entitled “Hard-working prosecutors don’t deserve this ‘hack job.’” It went on to read, “Attorneys: Let’s set the record straight, in the interest of justice.” As much as the sassy title probably drew an “Aw, snap!” from every prosecutor whose delicate feelings were bruised by the mean old Arizona Republic’s thought-provoking article, the response from prosecutors didn’t really have much going for it after the title. In fact, it lost me in the first paragraph with this ridiculous statement: A prosecutor’s first duty is to justice, … Read entire article »

Filed under: Prosecutors

Prosecutor of the Year

A wonderful article from the Arizona Republic discusses prosecutorial misconduct in capital cases in Arizona. It’s worth reading in its entirety, but one little part in particular knocked the wind right out of me. It discusses Noel Levy, a former “Arizona Prosecutor of the Year” who seems to have done his best over the years to put people in prison or on death row using every sketchy prosecutor tactic in the prosecution playbook. One particular case involved Ray Krone, who was sentenced to death for a murder he did not commit. Krone was convicted and sentenced to die based on a videotape about bite mark evidence that the defense didn’t have time to review. At Krone’s second trial, Levy got another conviction but only a life sentence. Krone, … Read entire article »

Filed under: Arizona Cases, Death Penalty, Prosecutors

I May Be Amazingly Brilliant and Tall And Good-Looking But I Am Still A Nuts-And-Bolts Criminal Defense Lawyer Available To YOU 24/7

Over at a public defender, Gideon wrote yesterday about a fascinating overturned conviction: Michael Skakel has just had his convictions reversed and a new trial ordered by former Appellate Court judge Thomas Bishop, who was designated to preside over and adjudicate Skakel’s petition for writ of habeas corpus. The allegations revolve mostly around Skakel’s representation by famed celebrity lawyer Mickey Sherman, in that Skakel alleges that Sherman did a terrible job representing him. That “famed celebrity lawyer” was actually the subject of a post at Simple Justice in 2010 after he pled guilty to two counts of willful failure to pay federal income taxes. The post was about how being a celebrity comes at a price and noted how Mickey Sherman was alleged to have converted for personal use money intended to … Read entire article »

Filed under: lawyers, Marketing

What The Hell Do They Want?

A former client of mine contacted me a while back asking for help with a situation that makes my blood boil. He’s a smart guy and a good person, but his life has been a constant struggle, a fight to escape a hard life of poverty and mental illness. He never got any of the luck breaks most of us have had at some point or another. For a while, it seemed like he was on the right track, though. Sadly, he found himself in trouble again. That was when he called. I could’ve been disappointed, but I mostly just felt awful for him. I wanted to give him a hug and go back in time to make everything right, but that’s never going to … Read entire article »

Filed under: DUI

Today’s Lesson From Jail

Walking into Maricopa County’s lovely Fourth Avenue Jail earlier today, it occurred to me that you don’t really see that many fanny packs outside of county jail waiting areas anymore. Sweat pants, too. There was one lady with a wispy brown mustache sporting purple sweat pants and not one, but two fanny packs. One had a broken zipper and a jumbo pack of Zig-Zag rolling papers poking out of a hole. The other was bulging but closed, filled no doubt with all kinds of fascinating objects. She was quite upset she couldn’t bring her fanny packs and their contents into her video visit. That lady would ordinarily be the pièce de résistance of a wait to do a custody visit, but this time I was fortunate … Read entire article »

Filed under: Uncategorized

I Don’t

Forbes, and more recently Oliver Burkeman, have both discussed the important and interesting difference between “I don’t” and “I can’t” when it comes to breaking bad habits. They note that studies have actually shown that saying something like “I can’t eat that extra cookie” is far less effective at preventing you from eating that extra cookie than saying “I don’t eat extra cookies.” It works in all kinds of other areas too, apparently. Although both articles talk about why that is, each explaining in different ways how “I don’t” is a choice while “I can’t” is a restriction, neither touches on a potential deeper reason for the difference or explores its broader implications. Consider the implications about who the “you” is in the statement when you’re saying “I … Read entire article »

Filed under: Uncategorized

Victimless Non-Violent Federal Drug Crimes

I enjoy reading Richard Kopf‘s blog, Hercules and the Umpire. He’s a federal trial judge in Nebraska who mixes self-effacing honesty with humor and the sort of intellect and consistency that tend to be present in the best judges I’ve encountered. It’s a fascinating glimpse into the mind of a man with a lot of power, but it’s also at times a disturbing glimpse into the world of someone who can make the things he believes have real impacts on the real people who appear in front of him no matter how wrong he might be. A post of his from last month asked, “Are drug crimes ‘victimless’?” He previously wrote more about his views in another post entitled “No more bullshit: In the federal courts, there is … Read entire article »

Filed under: Drugs, Judges

More Sleazy Lawyer Marketing

This time, I checked Simple Justice thoroughly before posting something about an email I got from Total Attorneys yesterday. The company seemed familiar, and sure enough, it turned out that Scott Greenfield wrote about its sketchy lawyer marketing practices in 2009 and then again in 2010, when the Connecticut State Bar officially decided its founder wasn’t quite driving the legal profession into the shitter in a specific manner that would have offended their sensibilities too terribly. Either way, they’re still at it, and I’m posting because what I received serves as a great lesson about how these marketing people work. Here’s the email I got from an “Alicia Stevenson” in its entirety, which I’ll break down part by part: Matthew, I figured an email may be the best bet if … Read entire article »

Filed under: Marketing

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