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I Probably Take Myself Too Seriously

In one court, I regularly run into a lawyer who amuses me to no end. He’s a big, boisterous guy with thick gray hair and a deep, booming voice. His general demeanor reminds me of the ghost of Christmas present from the Muppet Christmas Carol. He always wears loud ties, most of which I believe feature some minor Disney character, and he only partially tucks his baggy dress shirts into what I suspect to be a pair of Dickies work pants. It isn’t uncommon for him to wear a jean shirt to court, and I don’t think I’ve ever seen him wear a belt. None of that really sets him apart from a lot of other lawyers though. What really separates him from the rest is … Read entire article »

Filed under: lawyers, Practice in General

What BigLaw Taught Me

I’ve recently had a few opportunities to interact with BigLaw. I was fortunate enough to see a few honest-to-goodness BigLaw lawyers work their magic in an initial consultation, and I even got to experience, through a client, the type of service BigLaw provides. Being the unselfish guy I am, I am going to share with you the five essential lessons I learned watching BigLaw. Follow these, and you’ll be representing clients like BigLaw in no time flat. 1) Don’t Answer Your Phone That’s right, don’t even think about picking it up. This rule doesn’t just apply to famous partners with national reputations, but also to junior associates. Lawyers may know that you don’t go to court very often, if at all, but your clients don’t. I … Read entire article »

Filed under: Practice in General

"This Is Real"

I recently left the country to attend my sister’s wedding. That’s why I didn’t put up a post last week. It was actually the longest I’ve gone without putting in a full day of work since Adrian and I started the firm, and yesterday was my first full day back. Yesterday morning, I had what I consider to be an extremely important hearing. Although I wasn’t away from work for a particularly long time, it was long enough to make some of the feelings I get before big hearings or trials seem slightly foreign. The hour-long commute to court gave me plenty of time to think about what I was feeling. The thrill of going into court and making an argument you believe in on behalf of a … Read entire article »

Filed under: Practice in General

Arizona DUI Stupidity

Imagine you’re sitting in the comfort of your own home, enjoying a glass of fine single barrel Kentucky straight bourbon whiskey. It’s about midnight, and you’re on your third or fourth when you hear the back window of your home shatter. You can hear that someone is trying to break into the house, and you run to call 911. As you frantically rush through the house, you see someone breaking in through the front window as well. You have no time to think, and not knowing what else to do, you swing open the door leading to your garage and jump in your car. You lock your doors, fire up the engine, open the automatic garage door, and speed off while calling the police. Congratulations, you … Read entire article »

Filed under: Arizona Cases, Arizona Statutes, DUI

Happy Fourth of July?

At first blush, my answer is a resounding “no.” Everywhere I look, I see reasons to believe the radical experiment in freedom that is this great nation of ours has failed. As I read and re-read the Declaration of Independence over at Defending People and The Defense Rests, I can’t help but think the average citizen wouldn’t find the King of Great Britain’s repeated injuries and usurpations all that bad. Did they make us safer? On this Independence Day, I intend to celebrate my country. However, I will celebrate with trepidation. I will wonder how much longer we have as a nation before we become indistinguishable from every other country in the world. I will continue to worry that the average citizen loves his country the way … Read entire article »

Filed under: Government Rants

Twitter

For those of you who haven’t noticed yet, we finally gave in and joined the cult of Twitter. Now that we’ve drank the Twitter Kool-Aid, you can follow our commentary there as well as here. Please feel free to comment on our blog posts at either location. We’ve added two new links at the bottom of the sidebar, one to follow each of us. If you don’t feel like scrolling all the way down, follow Matt Brown here and Adrian Little here. Each blog post should appear in both of our twitter pages. … Read entire article »

Filed under: Uncategorized

Buckeye Needs to Update Its Website

In Arizona, both superiors courts and limited jurisdiction courts can hear criminal matters. Limited jurisdiction courts are “limited” in that they only hear misdemeanors, not felonies. We have both county and municipal limited jurisdiction courts. In a county limited jurisdiction court, or justice court, criminal cases are prosecuted by the county attorney. In a city limited jurisdiction court, they usually have their own prosecutor. In some places, it’s your typical prosecutor’s office. Others just contract with private attorneys to prosecute cases. Some town prosecutors are actually defense attorneys with prosecuting contracts. I couldn’t imagine representing defendants half of the time and prosecuting defendants half of the time. Sometimes, there will be a city court and at least one justice court in the same building. … Read entire article »

Filed under: Courts

The Factual Basis

Hang around most Arizona courts for a little while, and you’re likely to see a plea fall through for lack of a factual basis. For those readers who don’t know what I’m talking about, Arizona’s rules of criminal procedure require that a court determine whether a factual basis exists for each element of the crime to which a defendant is pleading before it can enter judgment on a guilty plea. Evidence constituting the factual basis can come from any part of the record or from a defendant’s statements. There’s no reasonable doubt standard for a guilty plea. Instead, the court just has to find strong evidence of guilt. In a few courts, the plea will simply have a provision that says, “factual basis taken from police report … Read entire article »

Filed under: Courts, Practice in General

Another Brilliant Government Idea

Lately, I’ve been hearing a lot about state, county, and municipal budget problems. Both prosecutors and public defenders tell me about hiring freezes, forced unpaid vacations, and pay reductions. Judges seem hesitant to sign off on any order that will cost the court much money. One county’s superior court apparently has a new policy of authorizing no more than $200.00 in initial compensation for contract defense investigators, billable at a rate of $20.00 per hour. I’m sure that’s affected the quality of the investigators on the contract list considerably. That same court has a brilliant new policy involving orders. To give you some background, when filing many types of motions, defense lawyers will attach a proposed order with everything filled out except for the lines where … Read entire article »

Filed under: Courts, Government Rants

Wonder Dog

This story is absolutely unbelievable. At least a judge finally put an end to it, but how many years have people convicted by such blatantly false evidence had to serve? If these people were convicted by overwhelmingly obvious sham evidence, why weren’t all of the jury verdicts overturned? I’m assuming it was the bulk of the State’s evidence in each of the cases, which I think it is a fair assumption. Tracking over water? Picking up a scent six months later? The officer should be in jail, and the prosecutors should be poster children for why absolute immunity is a bad idea. I don’t know all of the details, and I know I’m making the above statements without investigating the cases and writing in anger. … Read entire article »

Filed under: Uncategorized

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