Brown & Little, P.L.C. » Police

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

Solving Nothing

The Arizona Republic recently reported about a Chandler police sergeant who was demoted and agreed to leave the department by the end of next year for ordering her subordinates to single out Native American shoplifters for being booked into jail instead of cited and released. She wasn’t fired, obviously, and it seems she will still be able to enjoy her pension. That’ll teach other officers not to do stuff like that in the future! Kidding aside, the article explains the sergeant’s patrol district borders the Gila River Indian Community and has a chronic shoplifting problem. This passage in the article forecasts what’s sure to be the Chandler Police Department’s new response to the problem: No one would have objected if Freeman had ordered all shoplifting suspects booked as a … Read entire article »

Filed under: Police

Watching The Watchers

Recent events in Ferguson, Missouri have drawn a great deal of attention to the issue of police brutality. One idea to address the problem involves equipping all police officers on patrol with body-worn cameras, which people apparently call BWCs. It is beyond me how people are even debating this. Study after study suggests that cops behave better when they wear BWCs. Compared to cops who wear BWCs, cops who do not wear BWCs are involved in many more use-of-force incidents and receive far more complaints. When two jurisdictions right here in Arizona, Mesa and Phoenix, had some of their officers wear BWCs, things were no different. In Mesa, there were 40 percent fewer total complaints and 75 percent fewer use of force complaints for officers with cameras. … Read entire article »

Filed under: Police

You’re Screwed Just The Same

Accomplice liability must be a tough thing to grasp, as I often hear defendants argue about how they shouldn’t be sent to prison for various things because it wasn’t totally their fault. They didn’t kidnap the victims, they just continued to hold them against their will after someone else snatched them. They didn’t assault the victims themselves, they just drove their co-defendants to the victims’ house to do it. I could go on and on. Addressing those sorts of arguments, I sometimes hear prosecutors and judges say that it didn’t matter to the victims who made what decision and who took over which responsibilities; they’re awful crimes, and all participants should face the music. In one case, the prosecutor asked, “do artificial distinctions comfort someone in a … Read entire article »

Filed under: DUI, Police

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

For Your Protection

I spent some of my afternoon yesterday in traffic court. The criminal counts in a client’s case had been dismissed by the prosecutor, but the civil count remained. The court set it for a civil traffic hearing regarding my client’s alleged violation of A.R.S. 28-964(A). He was charged with riding a motorcycle in Mesa in September while wearing a helmet with the visor up. I’m not so sure that’s illegal. I pulled up to Mesa’s nice new courthouse and parked in their nice new parking garage. When I walked up and opened the heavy metal and glass door, it felt expensive. Inside, I took off my belt and put it in a tray along with everything in my pockets. A few chubby security guards … Read entire article »

Filed under: Arizona Statutes, Bikers' Rights, Courts, Police

Taking The Law Seriously

The Maricopa County Attorney’s Office has so many policies I can hardly keep them straight. I suspect that few deputy county attorneys even know all of them, as I hear there’s a manual they consult when in doubt. If a defendant files a motion to remand for a new determination of probable case, the policy is apparently to not offer a plea. For certain types of charges, no matter how unique the facts of the case, the offer apparently must involve a prison sentence. Aggravated DUI cases involve a plea to a complicated duo of charges that, quite frankly, makes no sense at all, and repeat offenders get similarly bizarre offers based on a complex and largely arbitrary set of considerations. Most notable, for the purpose of … Read entire article »

Filed under: Government Rants, Legislation, Police, Prosecutors

Stay Classy, Joe

The title comes from Adrian, not me, but it fits. Just the kind of thing you’d expect to see on an official law enforcement vehicle for the sheriff’s office of the fourth largest county in the United States, right? Plastic pink flamingos and junk cars on cinder blocks in the front yard of every county facility are coming soon, I hear. … Read entire article »

Filed under: Police

You Don't Say

I have a tough time not laughing when I think something is funny. I suspect that other people know this and try to make me laugh at inopportune times. Often, they don’t have to try at all. Twice in a row, law enforcement personnel have inadvertently tested my ability to keep a straight face. Given the circumstances, I’m quite proud of myself for suppressing laughter. The first time, I was waiting to get into a maximum security area of a jail after hours. There was some kind of problem with the normal intake area for attorney visits at the facility, so a detention officer had to walk me around the outside of the building to the back entrance for employees. The detention officer was a … Read entire article »

Filed under: Police

More Victims of the Drug War

Local news was filled with stories about Chandler Police officer Carlos Ledesma after he was killed in the line of duty on July 28, 2010. The stories describe a former Marine and Persian Gulf War veteran, a proud father and husband with two young boys. He was shot while conducting an undercover “reversal operation” in Phoenix. From what I’ve read about the case, the facts sound all too familiar. An informant tells the police he has buyers who want to buy a large quantity of marijuana. Police set up a meeting where the informant meets with the buyers and establishes the terms of the deal. The buyers check out a sample of weed provided by officers and prove they have the money. Later, at the … Read entire article »

Filed under: News, Police

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