Brown & Little, P.L.C. » Blog

When to Go Solo

Posts here and here bring up interesting points about going straight into solo practice out of law school. While good reading, for the most part, I don’t agree with them. Adrian and I went into solo (or is it duet?) practice straight out of law school. Throughout law school, I intended to do criminal defense and nothing else. I wanted to fight the big, bad government. My goal, which I made clear to everyone around me, was to immediately hang out a shingle upon receipt of my bar number. I set aside time to watch court. I did a public defender clinic, attended public defender new hire training, spoke with a number of judges, and met as many good criminal lawyers as I could. … Read entire article »

Filed under: Law School, Practice in General, Solo Practice

Discovery Fees

Some Arizona prosecuting agencies charge defense attorneys for copies of police reports and other discovery. For instance, the Maricopa County Attorney’s Office charges $0.25 per page. They have you sign an invoice when you pick up the discovery, then they send you a bill. Most Maricopa County defense attorneys I know have at least one delinquent discovery bill from the county attorney sitting around their office. There’s not much point in writing a check for a dollar or two. A friend of mine told me about a defense attorney who was 90 days delinquent on a bill for $1.50 and wanted to go to the county attorney with $0.55 and ask to be put on a payment plan for the remainder. I don’t like the county … Read entire article »

Filed under: Arizona Constitution, Procedural Rules, Prosecutors

Good Times in Municipal Court

I practice in a number of different courts throughout Arizona. Although I focus on felonies, which means I’m usually in superior court, I handle enough misdemeanors to regularly visit some of the state’s smaller municipal and justice of the peace courts. Sometimes it can be an amusing experience. Recently, I had to do a hearing in a very small municipal court which had just moved locations. As I pulled up to the new court building, I thought I was in the wrong place. I would describe the court as being in a strip mall. At best, it could be called a professional complex. Regardless, you could have put a Quiznos next to the court and it would’ve fit right in. I walked up to the court … Read entire article »

Filed under: Courts

The Myrtle Beach Dilemma

There’s been a good bit of news lately about Myrtle Beach trying to rid itself of bikers. I expected to hear a lot about it from bikers (here’s an account from a biker who engaged in a bit of civil disobedience), but I was pleasantly surprised to see at least one member of the blawgosphere pick up on the story as well (check out posts from Bobby G. Frederick here and here). Anyone who knows me or has had a look around my firm’s website realizes that both Adrian and I are avid bikers. I donate a lot of my time to fellow bikers and bikers’ rights organizations, so this Myrtle Beach business is right up my alley. Strangely, I don’t know what I’d recommend. On one … Read entire article »

Filed under: Bikers' Rights, Government Rants, Legislation

They Were Practically Begging to Be Struck…

A lot of people have been writing about peremptory challenges lately. You can read some interesting posts here and here. In Arizona, the parties each get six peremptory challenges in felony cases not punishable by death. It’s not always easy getting a juror struck for cause, so those six “free” strikes usually feel like far too few. The problem is that most people think they can be fair even when they really can’t be. Who’s willing to admit to a room of strangers that they can’t possibly be fair and impartial? Recently, I learned that when drinking and driving might be involved, the answer is “almost everyone.” I had a trial a couple months ago where there was evidence my client drank alcohol prior to … Read entire article »

Filed under: DUI, Trial

Zealous Representation

In this post, Scott Greenfield at Simple Justice talks about how zealous advocacy will no longer be necessary in New York starting on April 1, 2009. Arizona attorneys haven’t had to zealously advocate for their clients for years. However, most criminal defense attorneys still promise in their fee agreements that they will zealously represent their clients, and there are still quite a few zealous advocates out there. I doubt that changing the language of our ethics rules had much of an effect. Interestingly, at least one Justice on the Supreme Court of Arizona disagrees. Every Arizona attorney is required to take a professionalism course. When I took the course, we watched a video of Chief Justice Ruth McGregor talking about the need to increase civility in … Read entire article »

Filed under: Ethics, Professionalism

Dear Bad Prosecutor:

Your job is not to argue with everything I say. The interests of justice do not always require that my client receives the maximum fine or prison sentence. Many of my clients deserve bail or commutation. You are allowed to concede points when you do not have a good reason to disagree. I promise. Believe it or not, I am not going to lie and cheat in order to gain some kind of advantage. My goal in this pretrial is not to trick you. Although you are just covering, I am not a high school student, and I do not view you as a substitute teacher. I do not intend to do anything to jeopardize my bar license, now or ever. You have looked over … Read entire article »

Filed under: Government Rants, Prosecutors

Some Terrifying New Legislation (Maybe)

One thing Bennett Kalafut mentioned in passing in this post over at Goldwater State caught my attention. Is it really possible that Arizona may soon have a law declaring undocumented aliens to be trespassing? Curious, I had a look at the text of the resolution. Here it is. If that ever became law, it would have pretty much everything any frothing-at-the-mouth anti-illegal-immigration-type could ever want. It would make it so that aliens in this country in violation of the federal improper entry statute would be committing criminal trespass simply by virtue of being in Arizona. It wouldn’t matter whether they’re on public or private land. The first time, it would be a misdemeanor, but after that, it would be a class 4 felony. That’s … Read entire article »

Filed under: Arizona Statutes, immigration, Legislation

We're Already Ridiculous

For the second time in less than a week, I’ve been inspired to write by a post over at the DUI Blog. I guess that Kentucky, my home state, might pass a law allowing a driver who tests positive for traces of marijuana to be convicted of DUI even if he or she is unimpaired. The DUI Blog puts that in the this-is-getting-ridiculous department. Well, here in Arizona, we’ve been ridiculous for a while. Arizona’s DUI law says, “[i]t is unlawful for a person to drive or be in actual physical control of a vehicle in this state . . . [w]hile there is any drug defined in section 13-3401 or its metabolite in the person’s body.” Impairment doesn’t matter, as it’s a strict liability crime. … Read entire article »

Filed under: Arizona Cases, Arizona Statutes, DUI, Government Rants, Legislation

Unusual DUIs

I’m a huge fan of Lawrence Taylor’s DUI Blog. His post yesterday was about police charging a man on a bicycle with driving under the influence. He previously put up a post about a lawn mower DUI. The most offensive DUI case I’ve heard is probably this one, where a poor lady was cited for wheel chair DUI. Every time I hear about someone getting charged with DUI on something other than a car, truck, or motorcycle, I marvel at the stupidity of anti-DUI zealots. How dangerous are these drunk bicyclists and lawn mowers? More importantly, how much more dangerous are they than a drunk person without transportation? Do authorities really think they’re protecting the public by prosecuting that lady in her wheel chair? … Read entire article »

Filed under: DUI, Police

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