Brown & Little, P.L.C. » Blog

What The Hell Do They Want?

A former client of mine contacted me a while back asking for help with a situation that makes my blood boil. He’s a smart guy and a good person, but his life has been a constant struggle, a fight to escape a hard life of poverty and mental illness. He never got any of the luck breaks most of us have had at some point or another. For a while, it seemed like he was on the right track, though. Sadly, he found himself in trouble again. That was when he called. I could’ve been disappointed, but I mostly just felt awful for him. I wanted to give him a hug and go back in time to make everything right, but that’s never going to … Read entire article »

Filed under: DUI

Today’s Lesson From Jail

Walking into Maricopa County’s lovely Fourth Avenue Jail earlier today, it occurred to me that you don’t really see that many fanny packs outside of county jail waiting areas anymore. Sweat pants, too. There was one lady with a wispy brown mustache sporting purple sweat pants and not one, but two fanny packs. One had a broken zipper and a jumbo pack of Zig-Zag rolling papers poking out of a hole. The other was bulging but closed, filled no doubt with all kinds of fascinating objects. She was quite upset she couldn’t bring her fanny packs and their contents into her video visit. That lady would ordinarily be the pièce de résistance of a wait to do a custody visit, but this time I was fortunate … Read entire article »

Filed under: Uncategorized

I Don’t

Forbes, and more recently Oliver Burkeman, have both discussed the important and interesting difference between “I don’t” and “I can’t” when it comes to breaking bad habits. They note that studies have actually shown that saying something like “I can’t eat that extra cookie” is far less effective at preventing you from eating that extra cookie than saying “I don’t eat extra cookies.” It works in all kinds of other areas too, apparently. Although both articles talk about why that is, each explaining in different ways how “I don’t” is a choice while “I can’t” is a restriction, neither touches on a potential deeper reason for the difference or explores its broader implications. Consider the implications about who the “you” is in the statement when you’re saying “I … Read entire article »

Filed under: Uncategorized

Victimless Non-Violent Federal Drug Crimes

I enjoy reading Richard Kopf‘s blog, Hercules and the Umpire. He’s a federal trial judge in Nebraska who mixes self-effacing honesty with humor and the sort of intellect and consistency that tend to be present in the best judges I’ve encountered. It’s a fascinating glimpse into the mind of a man with a lot of power, but it’s also at times a disturbing glimpse into the world of someone who can make the things he believes have real impacts on the real people who appear in front of him no matter how wrong he might be. A post of his from last month asked, “Are drug crimes ‘victimless’?” He previously wrote more about his views in another post entitled “No more bullshit: In the federal courts, there is … Read entire article »

Filed under: Drugs, Judges

More Sleazy Lawyer Marketing

This time, I checked Simple Justice thoroughly before posting something about an email I got from Total Attorneys yesterday. The company seemed familiar, and sure enough, it turned out that Scott Greenfield wrote about its sketchy lawyer marketing practices in 2009 and then again in 2010, when the Connecticut State Bar officially decided its founder wasn’t quite driving the legal profession into the shitter in a specific manner that would have offended their sensibilities too terribly. Either way, they’re still at it, and I’m posting because what I received serves as a great lesson about how these marketing people work. Here’s the email I got from an “Alicia Stevenson” in its entirety, which I’ll break down part by part: Matthew, I figured an email may be the best bet if … Read entire article »

Filed under: Marketing

Attorney At Law Magazine

There’s this thing called Attorney At Law Magazine here in Arizona. It’s a fairly slick-looking magazine I get regularly despite never having subscribed. I just got one last week, in fact. Looking around a bit, I actually realized there are things called Attorney At Law Magazine in a whole bunch of places (like California, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Nevada, New Jersey, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Texas, Utah, and Virginia). What’s going on? Attorney At Law Magazine isn’t really a magazine in what I’d consider the traditional sense at all. The lawyers’ “articles” there are hardly Pulitzer Prize material; they basically make it look like the magazine just keeps realizing how awesome various rotating superstar lawyers with sexy pictures are and decides to report … Read entire article »

Filed under: Marketing

Just Callin’ To Chat

I often get emails with convoluted stories that appear to have nothing to do with criminal defense. For instance, the sender will discuss her sick dad, her faith, and her wicked stepmother. There will be no obvious relevance to my line of work, but when I call, I will invariably speak with an individual charged with embezzling funds from her dad’s savings account and assaulting his new wife but who couldn’t have possibly done it because she’s a pillar of the mega-church she attends whenever she isn’t in the custody of the department of corrections for various financial and violent crimes. I’m making up the example, obviously, but reality isn’t all that different a lot of the time. One recent message and the ensuing conversation left me really … Read entire article »

Filed under: Clients

Quit Making Me Write About You, Avvo

I’ve written far too much about Avvo already, but they went and did it again. After claiming my profile to “earn” a super awesome perfect 10 (Look at me! I’m special!), the emails started pouring in. I immediately became desensitized to the spam about webinars and musings from all kinds of brilliant “lawyers” who are far too smart to do dirty work like practicing law, but something else finally caught my attention. A recent email had the grabbing subject line of “New Case Notification: A traffic ticket case has just been posted.” I hadn’t asked to receive anything of the sort, and as I read the email, I wished I hadn’t. It wasn’t really a traffic ticket at all, but someone charged with a criminal offense. … Read entire article »

Filed under: Marketing

Cracking Down On College

A recent article explained, “Tempe kicks off ‘Safe and Sober’ campaign but without ASU.” The emphasis is mine, but it doesn’t really need it. What were you thinking, ASU? Do you have a problem with safety? Sobriety? The gist of the article is that people visiting Tempe last weekend were going to see a massive police presence as officers from nine agencies teamed up for the “Safe and Sober” campaign, something that as near as I can tell is intended to violate the constitutional rights of hundreds of innocent people in a valiant effort to make college suck. Shamefully, ASU police did not participate. Tsk, tsk. Another article lays out the stats: Total stops: 1,812 Total citations: 919 Total arrests: 486 Arrests for minors in possession of alcohol: 208 Total DUI … Read entire article »

Filed under: DUI

The Life Of A Private Public Defender

Jamison Koehler put up a post this week about prosecutors and professionalism. Here’s the paragraph that resonated with me the most: I am always annoyed by prosecutors who stroll into the courtroom moments before the judge takes the bench. This results in a rush of defense attorneys toward counsel table seeking to speak with the prosecutors before our cases are called. It makes our job that much more difficult. And then the judge chastises us for not having worked out more of these issues in advance. His post was more about prosecutors being discourteous, but I am more interested in the effect on defense lawyers and some major problems with the system in general. There was a time in my career when I took appointed cases and carried a … Read entire article »

Filed under: Courts, Government Rants, Judges, Practice in General, Prosecutors, public defenders

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