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A Tricky Situation

Article 2, Section 22 of the Arizona Constitution says that “[a]ll persons charged with crime shall be bailable by sufficient sureties, except . . . [f]or felony offenses committed when the person charged is already admitted to bail on a separate felony charge and where the proof is evident or the presumption great as to the present charge.” Knowing that, what do you say when you know your client’s new offense was allegedly committed while he was out on bond for another felony offense and the judge asks, “counsel, do you have any recommendations regarding bond?” Does it matter if the same judge is assigned to the client’s other case and presumably knows that the client was out on bail when he or she supposedly committed the new offense? … Read entire article »

Filed under: Arizona Constitution, Clients, Courts, Ethics, Practice in General, Professionalism, Prosecutors

An Unusual Federal Case

I think this is hilarious. It would be pretty funny if he was doing it to protest the government’s use of his tax dollars or some kind of mistreatment he received, but the fact “he did it because he felt he could get away with it” is priceless. Did he even have to go? I can imagine him standing there day after day, urinating in the corner and in his best evil-villain voice saying, “MUAHAHAHAHA, they’ll never catch me!” H/T: Andrew Becke. … Read entire article »

Filed under: Uncategorized

Double Jeopardy Is Okay…If You Are a Native American

If you are Native American and commit a criminal offense on an Indian reservation, it can be a crime in both the Indian community and the federal system. As a result of the United States Supreme Court’s decisions on the matter, the Indian Civil Rights Act, and subsequent legislation, Indians can go to jail (technically, there are no prisons on Indian reservations) and federal prison for the same crime. They can also be fined twice for the same criminal act. The Supreme Court’s rationale is based on their interpretation of the source of Indian governments’ powers and how they interact with the U.S. Constitution. The Supreme Court was also understandably concerned that an Indian could quickly plead out in an Indian jurisdiction to avoid federal prosecution. This often leads … Read entire article »

Filed under: Indian Law, SCOTUS Cases

Talking to Civil Attorneys

Because my practice is limited to criminal law, I don’t often work with civil practice lawyers. When I do, it’s usually because one of my clients is being sued civilly for something related to his or her criminal case. I have a few clients in that situation right now. When the attorneys involved in those civil matters call me, I know they are civil practice attorneys before they can finish their first sentence. This is because they always introduce themselves as “so-and-so” from “such-and-such, such-and-such, and such-and-such.” They don’t say “from the firm of such-and-such, such-and-such, and such-and-such.” I suspect that’s because their venerable firms are such well-known institutions in the Arizona legal community that I should instantly know just what they’re talking about. The … Read entire article »

Filed under: Practice in General

Another Fumble by Congress, An Awesome Act of Defiance by Malcolm Smith

The Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act of 2008 bans items for children that contain a certain amount of lead. It’s a seemingly great idea to protect kids, but unsurprisingly, the way Congress wrote it causes ridiculous effects. The Act makes it illegal to sell ATVs and motorcycles to children under 12 because the children might eat the battery terminals, the frame, or tear apart the brakes and lick enough lead to kill or harm them. I’m not sure why kids are incapable of eating Mom’s car battery, which in almost all cases would be easier to get to than a bike or ATV battery, but no one asked me. Lead, while obviously a poor meal, is instrumental as an alloy in the manufacturing of certain materials. … Read entire article »

Filed under: Bikers' Rights, Government Rants, Legislation

A Couple of Suggestions

I regularly hear lawyers make the same stupid mistakes. Here are a couple of suggestions to help them avoid two very common mistakes: 1) Don’t argue ineffective assistance on direct appeal You can try, but it isn’t going to work. I’ve seen judges appoint new counsel for a direct appeal because they thought appellate counsel might want to argue ineffective assistance. Lawyers have told me they intend to argue ineffective assistance on direct appeal. Please, have a look at State v. Spreitz, 202 Ariz. 1, 3, 39 P.3d 525, 527 (2002). The Supreme Court of Arizona explained: [I]neffective assistance of counsel claims are to be brought in Rule 32 proceedings. Any such claims improvidently raised in a direct appeal, henceforth, will not be addressed by appellate courts … Read entire article »

Filed under: Arizona Cases, Arizona Statutes, Practice in General

"Gen Y" Lawyers vs. "Gen Y" Clients

Posts here and here over at Simple Justice, as well as related blog posts here and here, provide some interesting discussion on Generation Y attitudes. Admittedly, I had to look up what Generation Y means. Surprisingly, that didn’t give me the clear answer I wanted. I’m pretty sure I’m part of “Gen Y.” I did look to Wikipedia for the definition of Gen Y, didn’t I? Isn’t being tech savvy part of it? Anyway, without a clear answer about what Gen Y is, I’m just going to assume I’m part of it. I’m also going to assume that it encompasses all lawyers under 35. That said, I think a large number of Gen Y lawyers do possess the “all about me” mindset and sense of entitlement … Read entire article »

Filed under: Clients, Practice in General, Solo Practice

Annoying Jail Policies

Their potentially disastrous mistake involving inmate placement isn’t the only complaint I have about the Pinal County Jail. They’ve recently instituted some extremely annoying new visitation policies that sometimes make custody visits impossible. They will not schedule visits from 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. or 4:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. Most of the superior court judges have 8:30 a.m. or 9:00 a.m. morning dockets and 1:30 p.m. afternoon dockets, so it is often impossible to make it from your hearings to jail before visitation ends at 10:30 a.m. and 4:00 p.m. If you want to do a visit at 12:30 p.m., there’s only a short window of time to visit before you will have to leave for afternoon hearings. If you want to do a visit at … Read entire article »

Filed under: jail, Practice in General

Victim Safety

Last year, I had in a Pinal County felony case where the plea agreement stipulated to probation and the state agreed to release my client to pretrial services at the time of the change of plea. After my client entered his change of plea, however, the court refused to release him, citing victim safety and the violent nature of the crime. When I later met with my client, he was irritated by the court’s ruling, but not for the reasons I expected. His question was, “if they’re so worried about the victim, why did they make him my cellmate?” My eyes grew big, and at first, I didn’t believe him. Later on, I found out that, sure enough, the victim had indeed been picked up by the … Read entire article »

Filed under: Clients, Courts, jail, Victim's Rights

ASU No. 1 in Law School Rankings

I’m not talking about those silly U.S. News & World Report rankings. I’m talking about these rankings. Unfortunately, I’m not sure if I should be proud of my alma mater or start telling people I went to U of A. … Read entire article »

Filed under: Law School

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