Brown & Little, P.L.C. » Arizona Cases

Lenity?

Imagine that you are appearing in front of an Arizona Superior Court judge for your sentencing and are scared to death. Your trial had all sorts of obvious errors, but you were convicted of a felony DUI charge anyway. You are being sent to prison, and you want to appeal. The judge tells you that your notice of appeal must be filed “within 20 days after the entry of judgment and sentence.” If you are like the hundreds or maybe even thousands of people I have represented at sentencing hearings in cases of all sorts, you would probably just be doing everything you could to avoid fainting. Your life is ruined. You probably failed to hear a single thing the judge said. Your reasonable lawyer might … Read entire article »

Filed under: Arizona Cases

Bad Facts + Time = Bad Law

There is an old saying about bad facts making bad law. It is probably true, but luckily, that does not have to be the case. Look no further than the recent Court of Appeals of Arizona case of State v. Lucas and its predecessor for proof. They also show that nearly-identical bad facts will eventually, even before the same court, create bad law sooner or later. The facts of both cases were simple. Victims have a right to refuse interviews in Arizona, and courts can designate a victim’s representative by law when the victim is a minor. In State v. Lucas, the grandmother was the victim’s representative, and the victim reached the age of majority. The defense wanted to interview her. The law provides the … Read entire article »

Filed under: Arizona Cases, Victim's Rights

Crappy Outcome For Doody

I was quite proud of myself for writing a whole post about Jonathan Doody’s case a couple of months ago without making a single poop joke. Trying to write two was tempting fate, so please forgive the title. Anyway, the combined tireless efforts of the Maricopa County Attorney’s Office and its lying admitted-serial-killer pal and star-witness Alessandro Garcia finally paid off when they were able to convict Doody, who may be innocent, after a Ninth Circuit reversal, a mistrial, and five days of jury deliberations well over two decades later. They must be proud. We can now all rest assured that this punk kid won’t ever be at large: He may look like a sad, middle-aged man who has spent every moment of his adult life in prison because … Read entire article »

Filed under: Arizona Cases

Why People Make Jokes About Arizona

Alessandro Garcia is a killer. There’s no doubt about it. By his own ongoing admission, Garcia was part of the infamous Buddhist Temple Massacre that occurred on August 10, 1991. I have no idea what actually happened or who else was involved, but it’s undisputed that Garcia and one or more others killed six Buddhist monks, two young initiates, and an elderly nun. Apparently, they shot all of the victims in the back of the head at close range more than once. The innocent victims were made to kneel on the floor of the temple before being shot dead, one by one. Some had died while praying. All but the first likely witnessed the others being shot. It was part of a robbery, and … Read entire article »

Filed under: Arizona Cases

He Was Screwed No Matter What

In a recent Supreme Court of Arizona case, State v. Duran, the defendant tried to plead guilty but the trial court rejected his plea. The trial court then royally messed up by saying the prosecutor could use statements Duran made in connection with his change of plea if he testified inconsistently with them at trial. It’s important here to keep in mind the fact the trial court was wrong. Duran’s statements never, ever should have been used against him. The trial court made a mistake, and as a result, the defendant was confronted with the dilemma of testifying and bearing the disastrous brunt of the court’s mistake or not testifying and probably making the best of a really bad situation. A conviction would pretty much be guaranteed … Read entire article »

Filed under: Arizona Cases, Courts

Prosecutor of the Year

A wonderful article from the Arizona Republic discusses prosecutorial misconduct in capital cases in Arizona. It’s worth reading in its entirety, but one little part in particular knocked the wind right out of me. It discusses Noel Levy, a former “Arizona Prosecutor of the Year” who seems to have done his best over the years to put people in prison or on death row using every sketchy prosecutor tactic in the prosecution playbook. One particular case involved Ray Krone, who was sentenced to death for a murder he did not commit. Krone was convicted and sentenced to die based on a videotape about bite mark evidence that the defense didn’t have time to review. At Krone’s second trial, Levy got another conviction but only a life sentence. Krone, … Read entire article »

Filed under: Arizona Cases, Death Penalty, Prosecutors

Getting in Their Heads

Eric Turkewitz at the New York Personal Injury Law Blog published a guest post about whether jurors should be allowed to ask questions at trial. Apparently that doesn’t happen in New York. It sure does here in Arizona, as we’ve heard about ad nauseam because of the Jodi Arias trial. The guest-poster, Peter DeFilippis, concluded that increased juror participation would aid their judicial system in achieving the goal of providing justice for all. I can’t say that I disagree. I am a pretty big fan of jury questions because they’re wonderful little spoilers that help you know where to focus. I can also see how they help to connect jurors to what’s happening. The insight into the jurors’ thoughts that a system like ours … Read entire article »

Filed under: Arizona Cases, Juries, Trial

A Waste

From this article at the Arizona Republic: I do wish I could die doing something meaningful. You know, this seems such a waste. Those were a man’s last words. He died soon after without uttering any “official” last words. He liked porterhouse steak, french fries, okra, cauliflower, salad, fruit and ice cream. He liked those things so much they were the last things he ate before we murdered him. The good folks at the prison complex where we killed him, our crackerjack “execution team,” didn’t have an easy job. The doomed man was nice enough, joking with them as they prepared to end his life, but they had a real tough time setting the two intravenous lines intended to deliver fatal toxins. They had to cut into the … Read entire article »

Filed under: Arizona Cases, Death Penalty

Bad Reporting

Someone forwarded me this story recently. They thought I would be interested in the topic because I’m involved in related litigation. I was interested. Unfortunately, what I got from it wasn’t just information about what happened in the case, but also concerns about the abysmal quality of the reporting. “After 6-hour trial, Snowbowl protester still guilty,” the title reads. It’s amazing the words “still guilty” made it through editing. I assume that the author intended to somehow emphasize that, despite what she perceives to be a lengthy trial, the defendant did not prevail. “Snowbowl protester found guilty after 6-hour trial” probably would’ve conveyed that just fine. It also would’ve avoided the frustrating misconceptions that abound from the title she actually chose. Her title suggests the poor guy … Read entire article »

Filed under: Arizona Cases, News

Poor Charlie Brown

I’ve mentioned Anders briefs before. It’s the defense-lawyer equivalent of licking your master’s hand in submission. A creative lawyer can always find some issue somewhere, and filing a brief more or less saying your client should’ve been found guilty based on the record is just embarrassing. If you aren’t sold on not filing Anders briefs solely because they’re humiliating to any competent lawyer, Arizona’s court of appeals recently provided another reason. In an opinion last week, the court disagreed with an appellate public defender’s assessment that only frivolous issues existed on appeal. The lawyer apparently reviewed the record enough to set forth a sufficient background to reveal potential issues, but he didn’t see at least one issue that the court saw. I can’t imagine much worse for a … Read entire article »

Filed under: Arizona Cases, Courts

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