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» Arizona Cases

Legal Strategery in Marikafka County

Adam Stoddard is probably still in jail. If you need some background, catch up here, here, and here. Maricopa County has seen bomb threats and pepper spray incidents that may be related to his detention, as well as a law enforcement rally and vigil showing support for him. Meanwhile, deputy county attorney Tom Liddy, who still seems to be counsel for Stoddard, makes what could at best be called weak offering in his defense. Will disclosing the contents of the documents Stoddard illegally viewed and seized really help get him out any sooner? It seems Liddy, who claims to represent Stoddard and not the sheriff, is more concerned about making a joke out of the fourth, fifth, sixth, and fourteenth amendments than he is about … Read entire article »

Filed under: Arizona Cases, Procedural Rules

Judges Aren't Always Right

A week or two ago, I saw a judge make a ruling completely contrary to the law. It happens, but usually not so obviously. The judge was hearing a number of pleas at once. Two of the defendants were in custody and pleading to aggravated DUI. Pursuant to A.R.S. § 28-1383(D) and (E), certain types of felony DUI require that a defendant spend a certain amount of time in prison before being placed on probation. In Arizona, prison and jail are different. Jails are run by counties and cities, and felony defendants spend their time in county jail pending resolution of their criminal matters. Prisons are run by the state. You can only go to prison if you are sentenced. Both of those pleading defendants were in … Read entire article »

Filed under: Arizona Cases, Arizona Statutes, Courts, DUI

Too Good to Last

You may remember an old post about whether you can get a DUI in a car that doesn’t work. The issue came down to “actual physical control.” That’s because you don’t have to drive to get a DUI in Arizona; you just have to have actual physical control of a vehicle. When Arizona’s Court of Appeals, Division Two came out with a related opinion in State v. Zaragoza, I put up another post about actual control. I was pretty negative about whether the opinion would make a difference. It turns out I was right to be negative, but for the wrong reasons. This summer, the Supreme Court of Arizona vacated the opinion of the Court of Appeals. In Zaragoza, the defendant staggered to his car and got … Read entire article »

Filed under: Arizona Cases, DUI

Arizona DUI Stupidity

Imagine you’re sitting in the comfort of your own home, enjoying a glass of fine single barrel Kentucky straight bourbon whiskey. It’s about midnight, and you’re on your third or fourth when you hear the back window of your home shatter. You can hear that someone is trying to break into the house, and you run to call 911. As you frantically rush through the house, you see someone breaking in through the front window as well. You have no time to think, and not knowing what else to do, you swing open the door leading to your garage and jump in your car. You lock your doors, fire up the engine, open the automatic garage door, and speed off while calling the police. Congratulations, you … Read entire article »

Filed under: Arizona Cases, Arizona Statutes, DUI

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

Your "Privilege" to Drive

A lot of things will get your driver’s license suspended, canceled, revoked or refused here in Arizona. Not paying child support, getting too many tickets, not paying tickets, numerous things involving DUI short of an actual conviction, and convictions for various felonies and misdemeanors will all prevent you from driving. In Arizona, it’s practically impossible to get by without driving. Public transportation is generally inadequate in urban areas, and in rural areas, it’s basically non-existent. Cabs are very expensive. Most people I know who take advantage of buses or the light rail still have to drive a few miles to get to a park and ride. My clients who can’t drive are severely limited in where they can live and work. Not having a car leads to … Read entire article »

Filed under: Arizona Cases, DUI, Government Rants, MVD Hearings

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

My Last Post on Lesser Included Offenses

Okay, I promise this will be the last post I’ll put up on the subject of lesser included offenses. It’s an interesting area to me not only because of cases like this and this, or because and the rule in Arizona is frustrating in general, but also because it can create a strange situation for a defense attorney. Here’s the dilemma: imagine a burglary case where intent is the only real issue. It’s clear the defendant shouldn’t have been there, but it’s tough to know whether he entered or remained unlawfully with the intent to commit a felony or any theft. If the defense attorney gets a lesser included offense instruction on criminal trespass despite the relevant case law, the defendant could be spared a lot of prison … Read entire article »

Filed under: Arizona Cases, Arizona Statutes

More on Victim Interviews

I started responding to some comments on this post, but I ended up writing way too much for one little comment. No harm in putting up another post, right? Anyway, to give you some background (for those of you who don’t like reading blog comments), I brought up in a comment that A.R.S. § 13-4433(B) says “the defendant, the defendant’s attorney or an agent of the defendant shall only initiate contact with the victim through the prosecutor’s office.” Andrew Becke asked: “is there a way to initiate contact with the victim through a motion to the court, thus requiring the prosecutor to respond in a pleading that the victim doesn’t want to talk? That might enhance their desire to be honest.” My answer would be that there are a few … Read entire article »

Filed under: Arizona Cases, Victim's Rights

Another Irritating Non-Lesser Included Offense

Felony flight isn’t the only crime with an irritating non-lesser included offense. In State v. Malloy, the Supreme Court of Arizona decided criminal trespass was not a lesser included offense of burglary. Burglary requires entering or remaining unlawfully with the intent to commit any theft or a felony, and criminal trespass just requires knowingly entering or remaining unlawfully. Although criminal trespass does contain the additional element “knowingly,” the Court in Malloy noted that “knowledge in the sense that the criminal act must have been voluntary” is implicit in all criminal offenses. However, the Court thought the word knowingly in the criminal trespass statute “must have some additional meaning” and decided that, in order to convict someone of criminal trespass, “the prosecution must prove not only that the defendant … Read entire article »

Filed under: Arizona Cases, Arizona Statutes

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