» Prosecutors

Prosecutorial DV Psychosis

Negotiating with prosecutors in domestic violence cases can be impossible, as the mere filing of such a case somehow instantly cements in their minds the roles each person involved the case must play. Fairly often, no amount of rational argument or actual evidence is capable of overcoming that. Even otherwise reasonable prosecutors end up absolutely convinced of their position despite overwhelming cause for doubt. This fascinating but also disturbing loss of contact with reality is something I like to call “prosecutorial DV psychosis.” Let’s start with a hypothetical domestic violence situation where there’s a recanting victim. A girlfriend called the police one night and said her boyfriend broke her cell phone. They were both drunk, and the phone was broken. The boyfriend got angry talking … Read entire article »

Filed under: Domestic Violence, Prosecutors

We’re Gonna Need The Hardly Boys For This One…

It was a mystery for the ages, the crime of the century. A few scratcher lottery tickets and/or some cash swiped from a convenience store counter. In broad daylight. The nerve! Police interviewed the clerk, who said he didn’t just steal them himself. Being human polygraphs, officers cleared him right away.  Being forensic reconstruction experts too, they reviewed the surveillance video, which showed a lady quite clearly, but not much more. They immediately concluded there had been a crime. They got a lucky break because the clerk, who definitely didn’t just steal some stuff, got the license plate of the regular who committed the dastardly deed. Officers pulled the driver’s license photo associated with the plate and put it in a lineup that might as well have included a few … Read entire article »

Filed under: Prosecutors

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

A Suggested Policy Improvement

When dealing with the Maricopa County Attorney’s Office, it’s important to understand that there’s pretty much a policy for everything. Like the “show no mercy” policy of a schoolyard bully or street thug, however, each of their policies is only enforceable to the extent they have an unfair advantage and the resultant negotiating leverage to demand the absurd from their victims. Strong cases produce harsh pleas. So do mandatory minimums, and luckily for prosecutors here, there’s almost always one. For the most part, what the policies do is ensure that only the most dangerous criminals, men and women who do not fear the system or have gone to somewhat successful lengths to avoid prosecution, get great plea deals. The ones with consciences, and especially the innocent, would … Read entire article »

Filed under: immigration, Prosecutors

Imaginarily Sufficient But Not Greater

It’s always struck me as silly that we as a society have decided that justice is somehow best measured by time in confinement. Speaking with an experienced former prosecutor who spent time in a foreign country helping to set up a “modern” criminal justice system, I was amused when he said they were backwards with punishment and human rights. When someone did wrong, he explained, the punishment might be giving the victim his finest goat. A convicted criminal might even be forced to give the victim his firstborn boy as a slave or his firstborn daughter as a bride for a serious offense. I could only think about how, here in Arizona, we’d just stick the dad in a cage and all but guarantee the son eventually becomes … Read entire article »

Filed under: Prosecutors, Sentencing

Are They Idiots Or Are They Liars?

I wouldn’t be writing about Mesa twice in row if I didn’t think it was all noteworthy. This time, though, I’m a little less cynical. I refuse to believe the judges at Mesa City Court are anywhere near as simple-minded and unfair as some of the prosecutors there claim. To give you some background, if you are charged with misdemeanor DUI in Arizona and your BAC is between 0.08 and 0.15, the mandatory minimum jail sentence is one day with nine days suspended. If your BAC is between 0.15 and 0.20, it’s nine days with twenty-one days suspended. Any misdemeanor DUI in Arizona could theoretically result in 180 days in jail, but I’ve never seen it happen, heard about it happening, or even realistically considered that any prosecutor could … Read entire article »

Filed under: Courts, DUI, Prosecutors

Sucks Not Eating That Cake, Huh?

I covered a pretty amazing hearing recently. It wasn’t amazing because of anything I did. It was amazing because it perfectly showcased the disastrous impact of mandatory sentencing rules and a culture of punishment and cruelty not just on defendants, but on victims. The client was accused of taking money from a family trust. He was left out of it, but his cousins weren’t. He allegedly drained the trust using forged checks. At his first sentencing, the victims said how they weren’t going to get to go to college. He took their college fund, apparently, and now they had to take out student loans. At least one of them wanted to punish him with a long prison sentence. All of them wanted him to repay … Read entire article »

Filed under: Courts, Prosecutors, Victim's Rights

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

99.9996 Percent Of Prosecutors Are Better Than That

I wrote last week about the first of a great series of articles at the Arizona Republic tackling the subject of prosecutorial misconduct. A surprisingly touchy and defensive group, apparently, some of the biggest-name prosecutors in the state shot back with a group response entitled “Hard-working prosecutors don’t deserve this ‘hack job.'” It went on to read, “Attorneys: Let’s set the record straight, in the interest of justice.” As much as the sassy title probably drew an “Aw, snap!” from every prosecutor whose delicate feelings were bruised by the mean old Arizona Republic’s thought-provoking article, the response from prosecutors didn’t really have much going for it after the title. In fact, it lost me in the first paragraph with this ridiculous statement: A prosecutor’s first duty is to justice, … Read entire article »

Filed under: Prosecutors

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