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Case against DeCosta Dismissed

The case against David DeCosta has been dismissed. Here is the story, and here is the minute entry. I haven’t seen the state’s motion to dismiss, but Arizona Criminal Attorney Russ Richelsoph tells me the state moved to dismiss without prejudice because there was “no reasonable likelihood of conviction.” I summarized the facts of the case here, but Mark Bennett explained it best: DeCosta was set up by the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office and the Phoenix Police Department, and he was almost certainly factually innocent. When I found out the criminal case against DeCosta was dismissed, my first thought was “it’s about damn time.” My second thought was “what’s he going to do now?” In my daily practice, I see how destructive criminal charges can be. … Read entire article »

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"Looks Like I'm Out of Judges"

I haven’t been blogging because of my schedule. Too much work, not enough time. The end is in sight though. Or rather, the end was in sight. I was supposed to start a six or seven day felony trial this morning, and my schedule looked pretty bearable after that. The case is in Maricopa County Superior Court, and it’s assigned to the master calendar. I’ve complained about RCC before. The master calendar isn’t much better. Whereas RCC seems designed to make sure most lawyers appear lost at all times prior to an indictment, the master calendar seems designed to rush every case to trial after an indictment without letting the parties see the same judge twice. I haven’t figure out why anyone … Read entire article »

Filed under: Courts, Trial

Trial Reflections

I spent last week in trial. My client was charged with one count of aggravated assault. If he had been convicted and the state proved his priors and its allegation that he was on probation, he faced ten to fifteen years. The theory of the state’s case was that my client kicked his live-in girlfriend in the face five or six times, causing her “temporary but substantial disfigurement.” The jury acquitted my client after a four-day trial and an hour of deliberation. Like any trial, it was an interesting experience. A few things stood out though. I only had the case for about ninety days, and I was the client’s fifth or sixth lawyer, depending on whether you count his third (and last) public … Read entire article »

Filed under: Clients, lawyers, public defenders, Trial

Adventures in Expert-Land

I used an expert voice analyst in one of my cases last year. I’ve been thinking about writing about the experience for a while, as it left me with grave doubts about the supposed science of voice elimination. For some reason, I started thinking about it again over the holidays and finally decided to write something. It seemed like a good way to kick off the new year and get back to blawging. The case involved an extensive, multi-jurisdictional wiretapping investigation. My client was accused of conspiring to purchase drugs and using a wire communication to facilitate a felony drug crime. He claimed it wasn’t him on the phone. We wanted to use an expert to eliminate my client as a potential match for … Read entire article »

Filed under: Experts

Arpaio Set to Music

For your amusement, here’s a little song someone wrote about Sheriff Joe: (H/T Kris and Bob) … Read entire article »

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Who Plans These Things?

Maricopa County Superior Court’s Downtown Regional Court Center, or “Downtown RCC” as they call it, may be the most irritating place in the state to handle a case. The Maricopa County regional court centers are where a lot of felony cases end up in their early stages. The cases I’ve had there are ones in which the county attorney has filed a complaint but probable cause has yet to be found for the charges by way of a grand jury indictment or preliminary hearing. When I’m at the Downtown RCC, I usually have to find out what the initial plea offer is and either affirm the preliminary hearing or request a continuance to see about getting a better offer or a dismissal. Downtown RCC is in the … Read entire article »

Filed under: Courts, Practice in General, Prosecutors

The Double-Call

Sometimes one call isn’t enough. That’s what a number of my clients seem to think, at least. My phone will ring, but I either miss it or can’t pick up because I’m busy. Sure enough, the same number will call again after having not left a message moments before. It’s the dreaded “double-call,” a phenomenon every attorney encounters at some point. It isn’t just clients that do it either. Other attorneys, police officers, and legal assistants do it too. Admittedly, the tactic can be helpful. If I miss the first call because I’m a little too slow picking up and the number shows up as unknown, it’s nice to have a second chance. The tactic is less helpful when I’m not picking … Read entire article »

Filed under: Clients

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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