Brown & Little, P.L.C. » Judges

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

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

Picking the Wrong Lawyer

Yesterday wasn’t such a great day for me. After losing a bench trial I doubt I would’ve lost had it been in front of a jury, the judge informed my client the she had a bench warrant for failing to appear in another pending case in the same jurisdiction. There was a police officer waiting in the gallery to take her into custody. My client had hired one of those firms with billboards and posters everywhere to handle her first case. Dissatisfied with the representation, she hired me to handle the second. She complained about how hard it was to reach her other lawyer and how she felt he kept her in the dark about everything. My experience trying to stay in the loop with the … Read entire article »

Filed under: Clients, Courts, Ethics, Judges

Trusting Judges

For most felony offenses in Arizona, a person sentenced to a term of probation can be ordered to serve up to a year in the county jail. When prosecutors intend to seek jail time as a condition of probation, they usually say so up front. If it’s a guarantee, the plea will say “defendant shall serve…” before describing the amount of time, whether it’s a deferred term, and whether the defendant gets credit for time served. In other instances where jail is possible, the plea will say “the state anticipates requesting an initial jail term” or something along those lines. Occasionally, the prosecutor changes his or her mind between plea and sentencing. They will also say so if that’s the case. Other times, the probation department’s presentence report … Read entire article »

Filed under: Judges

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