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What's the Solution?

When Fourthamendment.com calls Maricopa County “a banana republic where the Sheriff can intimidate any official he wants,” it’s a good sign we’ve reached a low point. I don’t disagree with the sentiment, though the sheriff’s willingness to intimidate isn’t limited to officials. It’s depressing. Nobody here is safe, and this should be getting a lot more press. The mainstream, national media seems to be ignoring Maricopa County altogether. I’m still seeing more traffic going to posts about David DeCosta and smoking bans than goes to posts about what could be the breakdown of constitutional government as we know it. It seems no one is listening. Scott Greenfield even started losing interest, but Mark Bennett argued Maricopa matters. That prompted another post from Scott about what … Read entire article »

Filed under: Uncategorized

Donahoe Charged

Holy crap. I’ve written about Judge Donahoe of the Maricopa County Superior Court here, here, here, and here. The county attorney just charged him with three felony counts. I’ve uploaded the complaint, release questionnaire, and probable cause statement here. I have too much work on my desk to comment on it now, but “holy crap” pretty much sums it up. I think my most recent post has become even more relevant. … Read entire article »

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More from the Land of Sheriff Joe (Updated)

Out-of-state bloggers beat me to it again. Bobby Frederick, Jeff Gamso, and Scott Greenfield write about how Judge Donahoe has refused to unseal the documents deputy Stoddard took from a defense lawyer’s file and how Sheriff Joe issued an inaccurate press release attacking Donahoe and has apparently refused to put deputies in the courtroom where all of this started. Also worth noting is the fact that two county supervisors with a supposed history of problems with Sheriff Joe have been indicted on numerous felony charges. I don’t have much to add, as the absurdity of the situation here speaks for itself. We have elected a sheriff who thinks he has unlimited powers and a county attorney who seems to support him. The courts can’t control either … Read entire article »

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Legal Strategery in Marikafka County

Adam Stoddard is probably still in jail. If you need some background, catch up here, here, and here. Maricopa County has seen bomb threats and pepper spray incidents that may be related to his detention, as well as a law enforcement rally and vigil showing support for him. Meanwhile, deputy county attorney Tom Liddy, who still seems to be counsel for Stoddard, makes what could at best be called weak offering in his defense. Will disclosing the contents of the documents Stoddard illegally viewed and seized really help get him out any sooner? It seems Liddy, who claims to represent Stoddard and not the sheriff, is more concerned about making a joke out of the fourth, fifth, sixth, and fourteenth amendments than he is … Read entire article »

Filed under: Arizona Cases, Procedural Rules

No Constitutional Crisis Here

Maricopa County Sheriff’s Deputy Adam Stoddard violated a defendant’s constitutional rights, Superior Court Judge Gary Donahoe held him in contempt, and Stoddard is now in jail after refusing to follow the judge’s order and apologize. The way I see it, the loser here isn’t Stoddard or his boss, the ever-defiant Sheriff Joe. I think Stoddard ends up looking good to most people. Even I’m a little impressed with the guy. He did his job, refused to apologize for doing what he was trained to do, then took one for the team and followed the judge’s order. I tend to have serious problems with blindly following authority, but I can definitely appreciate how far Stoddard is willing to go to do what he perceives to be his … Read entire article »

Filed under: Clients, Courts, Government Rants

You and What Army?

My recent prediction was wrong, and for a moment, being wrong never felt so good. Judge Donahoe of the Maricopa County Superior Court held Deputy Stoddard of the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office in contempt for rifling through a defense lawyer’s file in court. Here is the minute entry. Judge Donahoe’s order was unusual though, as Deputy Stoddard wasn’t fined or sentenced to a definite jail term as a result of his contempt. It wasn’t punitive, criminal contempt. Instead, it was civil contempt. The point was to coerce Deputy Stoddard to hold a press conference and apologize to the defense lawyer. The defense lawyer must be satisfied with the apology in order for Deputy Stoddard to avoid jail. The court’s order was strange, but that wasn’t … Read entire article »

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More on Smoking Bans

This post is a response to the multiple, thoughtful comments on my post yesterday. As I began to write, it got too long and I decided make it a different post altogether. Here are some additional thoughts on smoking bans: I don’t think that cigars in general will be regulated out of existence; Swisher Sweets and other mass-produced, mass-marketed products aren’t going anywhere. The cigars I like though, generally made by smaller operations in unpopulated or largely undeveloped places focusing more on quality and tradition than on marketing and lobbying, probably won’t be able to compete as the laws grow harsher. They will be the ones regulated to death. I also doubt that the government will declare any kind of official tobacco prohibition in the near future. … Read entire article »

Filed under: Government Rants

Banning Good Taste

Given my predilection for the occasional stogie, I’ve considered writing something like this for quite some time. Although the The Stogie Guys beat me to it, strangely, I’m inspired to post something along similar lines. The weather in the Phoenix area right now lends itself perfectly to an evening cigar. I can think of few greater pleasures in life than sitting on my back porch with good company and savoring a delicious, handmade cigar. I’ve had a few nights like that these past few weeks. For an hour or two, I’ve had no place else to be and nothing else to do. Who could have wanted more? Although it isn’t a common indulgence, my life is far richer because of nights like those. I admire … Read entire article »

Filed under: Government Rants

I Hope It's Just The Water

I tried to get through my 1:00 p.m. meeting on Thursday early enough to catch some of the most recent contempt proceedings in this case. You can get additional information about what’s going on here, here, here, here, and here, but I’ll give you a single, run-on-sentence summary of what people are reporting happened: one of Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio’s goons brazenly looked through a defense attorney’s privileged and confidential file during a video-taped sentencing, committed misdemeanor theft stealing papers from the file, and had another henchman make copies before returning the stolen papers to the file, then got caught and perjured himself in subsequent contempt proceedings all the while lucking out with absurd decisions from two judges and a seemingly underwhelming show of outrage from multiple … Read entire article »

Filed under: Government Rants

David DeCosta Revisited

After this post generated a deluge of negative comments attacking me and protesting the case against David DeCosta, I responded with this post. That didn’t help matters, and the angry comments continued. Scott Greenfield at Simple Justice chimed in here, and Jeff Gamso at Gamso – For the Defense discussed the situation in this post. As the battle raged on with comments and emails of widely varying civility and rationality, I began reviewing the police reports in DeCosta’s case. Initially, I dreaded the idea of going over them. I was expecting to find overwhelming evidence of DeCosta’s guilt. After all, almost everyone who was asserting his innocence did so by criticizing me. People who try to make their case by personally attacking their opponent … Read entire article »

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