» Government Rants

Guilt v. Shame

A witness and I each had pretty remarkable breakthroughs at the same time earlier today. We both suddenly understood things we’d never really considered. When she had her revelation, she shook her head in disgust. On the other hand, I just thought yet again about how ridiculous our justice system really is. To say the witness and I have different backgrounds would be an understatement. We’re generations removed, and even if we shared a birth date in the same year, it would hardly even begin to bridge the cultural gap. On top of that, she’s mostly deaf and entirely mute. An ASL interpreter did not work out, and her writing is very difficult to understand. The “interview” today involved a pen and some paper. … Read entire article »

Filed under: Government Rants, Uncategorized

Rock Bottom

At a hearing earlier this week, I mentioned to the judge how a police officer unfairly targeted my client. It seemed to me that the cop was clearly out to get him. The judge laughed, “he’s a motor; of course he’s out to get your client, those guys are out to get everyone.” The prosecutor laughed too. The judge then mentioned how he gets extremely nervous every time he’s driving his car and sees a “motor” sitting there on a motorcycle, just waiting to catch someone for something. “I keep my hands at ten and two, go under the speed limit, and only look straight ahead,” he joked. The prosecutor chimed in, “those guys will nail you for anything; they’d give their own mother … Read entire article »

Filed under: Government Rants

Our (Embarrassing) Contribution To The Dialogue

While the rest of the country protests the killing of unarmed black men by police, a group of conspicuously non-black demonstrators in Phoenix had themselves a little “pro-police rally.” The head boot licker organizer offered his enlightened opinion: He said cooperating with police would have prevented each of the incidents that protesters have been demonstrating about. “It’s simple. Don’t go out and commit crimes. Obey the laws,” he said. “If a cop tells you to stop, you do it. If a cop tells you to move to the side of the road, do it. Don’t strike an officer. Don’t get in a physical altercation with her. It’s going to end badly for you.” For those of you who don’t live here, now you know pretty much everything you need to know about … Read entire article »

Filed under: Government Rants

More Than Race

I’m hesitant to write a post making a similar point to my last one, but as one article after another comes out discussing racism in this country in the wake of another white cop avoiding indictment after murdering an unarmed black man, this time with clear video, I worry we’re only having part of the conversation. Race is part of problem. It may even be most of the problem right now. It’s also the reason why most people are even thinking about the issue of police violence. Unfortunately, I worry that it’s not the part of the problem we can fix. Although I’m not as optimistic or congratulatory about our progress, Chris Rock makes some amusing and likely accurate observations about race relations in this country: “When we … Read entire article »

Filed under: Government Rants

When It Isn’t A Cop

Police officer Darren Wilson wasn’t indicted for shooting Michael Brown. You shouldn’t be surprised, as Rick Horowitz concludes. Scott Greenfield explains the big lie too many people still believe, the idea that the grand jury in the case isn’t just an indictment machine built into a Potemkin Village of due process for just one case so the masses can go on about their lives. Gideon explores the racial aspect, and Jeff Gamso addresses the silliness of one grand jury dog and pony show promoter. Me? I’m just envious. Here in Arizona, the accused has a due process right to a fair and impartial presentation of the evidence before a grand jury. When the state fails to do that, defense counsel can file a motion to remand arguing the state … Read entire article »

Filed under: Arizona Cases, Government Rants, Juries, Police, Prosecutors

Government Thugs

I spent last weekend at Too Broke for Sturgis, a motorcycle rally put on by ABATE of Arizona. ABATE is a non-profit motorcycle rights organization that does some really good stuff, and its members are some of the nicest people I’ve ever met. Pretty much all of the bikers who attend the rally each year are great people. ABATE rents the whole venue and provides both hired and volunteer security. They limit access and strictly enforce a no underage drinking policy. There are no alcohol sales in the event at all. ABATE charges admission, so I had to pay to get in. So did everyone else. Well, almost everyone. Like at most biker events, there were police everywhere. Sheriff’s deputies mostly stayed on the … Read entire article »

Filed under: Bikers' Rights, Government Rants

Politics In Action

I’d rather not write a post about Kolby Granville, but he’s a public figure and his Facebook posts make it tough to stay quiet. Kolby seemed nice in law school. I think he was in the peace corps and a famous archer before that. I heard he ran for office before law school too. He asked lots of questions in class. He got some type of firm job after graduating, and he quit to become a teacher, at some point running for and winning a spot on Tempe’s City Council. Like hundreds of other people I don’t really know terribly well along with a small group of people I do, he and I are Facebook buddies. He recently posted this: (function(d, s, id) { var js, fjs … Read entire article »

Filed under: DUI, Government Rants

An Epic Pinal County Scandal

A little more than a week ago, Scott Greenfield wrote a post at Simple Justice about how a deputy at the Pinal County Sheriff’s Office shot an unarmed man in the back despite the fact the man had his hands in the air and was clearly surrendering. If it hadn’t been caught on camera by a bystander, it would never have been news because the sheriff initially lied about the facts, insisted the deputy was justified, and let the deputy return to full duty after only three days of paid administrative leave. Luckily, the footage couldn’t be clearer: CBS 5 – KPHO Scott wrote about the deeper message the sheriff was sending by approving of the officer’s clearly unjustified actions, which is indeed the more important thing to consider. … Read entire article »

Filed under: Government Rants, Police, Prosecutors

Lessons From Tombstone

I did the tourist thing in Tombstone this past weekend. It was pretty darn fun, I must admit. There’s the OK Corral, where lawmen who were at times outlaws killed some outlaws who were probably at times not outlaws. There’s historic Allen Street, where who knows how many people died in random gunfights. There were mines, graves for people who were little more than expendable commodities to wealthy businessmen, and there was also no shortage of beautiful high desert scenery, where who knows how many people were killed by hostile natives who didn’t take kindly to being exterminated as settlers continued to occupy their territory. The nifty old courthouse museum, where the convicted were hanged and the acquitted were sometimes hanged too, was a real highlight. … Read entire article »

Filed under: Government Rants

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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