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Case against DeCosta Dismissed

The case against David DeCosta has been dismissed. Here is the story, and here is the minute entry. I haven’t seen the state’s motion to dismiss, but Arizona Criminal Attorney Russ Richelsoph tells me the state moved to dismiss without prejudice because there was “no reasonable likelihood of conviction.” I summarized the facts of the case here, but Mark Bennett explained it best: DeCosta was set up by the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office and the Phoenix Police Department, and he was almost certainly factually innocent. When I found out the criminal case against DeCosta was dismissed, my first thought was “it’s about damn time.” My second thought was “what’s he going to do now?” In my daily practice, I see how destructive criminal charges can be. I … Read entire article »

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Arpaio Set to Music

For your amusement, here’s a little song someone wrote about Sheriff Joe: (H/T Kris and Bob) … Read entire article »

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What's the Solution?

When Fourthamendment.com calls Maricopa County “a banana republic where the Sheriff can intimidate any official he wants,” it’s a good sign we’ve reached a low point. I don’t disagree with the sentiment, though the sheriff’s willingness to intimidate isn’t limited to officials. It’s depressing. Nobody here is safe, and this should be getting a lot more press. The mainstream, national media seems to be ignoring Maricopa County altogether. I’m still seeing more traffic going to posts about David DeCosta and smoking bans than goes to posts about what could be the breakdown of constitutional government as we know it. It seems no one is listening. Scott Greenfield even started losing interest, but Mark Bennett argued Maricopa matters. That prompted another post from Scott about what power, … Read entire article »

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Donahoe Charged

Holy crap. I’ve written about Judge Donahoe of the Maricopa County Superior Court here, here, here, and here. The county attorney just charged him with three felony counts. I’ve uploaded the complaint, release questionnaire, and probable cause statement here. I have too much work on my desk to comment on it now, but “holy crap” pretty much sums it up. I think my most recent post has become even more relevant. … Read entire article »

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More from the Land of Sheriff Joe (Updated)

Out-of-state bloggers beat me to it again. Bobby Frederick, Jeff Gamso, and Scott Greenfield write about how Judge Donahoe has refused to unseal the documents deputy Stoddard took from a defense lawyer’s file and how Sheriff Joe issued an inaccurate press release attacking Donahoe and has apparently refused to put deputies in the courtroom where all of this started. Also worth noting is the fact that two county supervisors with a supposed history of problems with Sheriff Joe have been indicted on numerous felony charges. I don’t have much to add, as the absurdity of the situation here speaks for itself. We have elected a sheriff who thinks he has unlimited powers and a county attorney who seems to support him. The courts can’t control either of … Read entire article »

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You and What Army?

My recent prediction was wrong, and for a moment, being wrong never felt so good. Judge Donahoe of the Maricopa County Superior Court held Deputy Stoddard of the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office in contempt for rifling through a defense lawyer’s file in court. Here is the minute entry. Judge Donahoe’s order was unusual though, as Deputy Stoddard wasn’t fined or sentenced to a definite jail term as a result of his contempt. It wasn’t punitive, criminal contempt. Instead, it was civil contempt. The point was to coerce Deputy Stoddard to hold a press conference and apologize to the defense lawyer. The defense lawyer must be satisfied with the apology in order for Deputy Stoddard to avoid jail. The court’s order was strange, but that wasn’t the … Read entire article »

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David DeCosta Revisited

After this post generated a deluge of negative comments attacking me and protesting the case against David DeCosta, I responded with this post. That didn’t help matters, and the angry comments continued. Scott Greenfield at Simple Justice chimed in here, and Jeff Gamso at Gamso – For the Defense discussed the situation in this post. As the battle raged on with comments and emails of widely varying civility and rationality, I began reviewing the police reports in DeCosta’s case. Initially, I dreaded the idea of going over them. I was expecting to find overwhelming evidence of DeCosta’s guilt. After all, almost everyone who was asserting his innocence did so by criticizing me. People who try to make their case by personally attacking their opponent usually don’t have much of a case. … Read entire article »

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The Best Sales Pitch Ever

One of the greatest joys of owning a small firm is getting to know the friendly folks at LexisNexis and Westlaw. They often call to see how I’m doing or drop by to say hello, and they never forget to keep me abreast of the latest products from their companies. I was talking with a friend yesterday, and somehow Lawyers.com came up. Suddenly, I remembered a fantastic sales pitch I got several months ago from my local LexisNexis representative. He was trying to convince me to pay LexisNexis, which owns Lawyers.com and martindale.com, to list my firm on those sites and do the website and search engine optimization for my firm. Admittedly, I was a little hard on him. I asked him some tough questions about why I … Read entire article »

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Twitter

For those of you who haven’t noticed yet, we finally gave in and joined the cult of Twitter. Now that we’ve drank the Twitter Kool-Aid, you can follow our commentary there as well as here. Please feel free to comment on our blog posts at either location. We’ve added two new links at the bottom of the sidebar, one to follow each of us. If you don’t feel like scrolling all the way down, follow Matt Brown here and Adrian Little here. Each blog post should appear in both of our twitter pages. … Read entire article »

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Wonder Dog

This story is absolutely unbelievable. At least a judge finally put an end to it, but how many years have people convicted by such blatantly false evidence had to serve? If these people were convicted by overwhelmingly obvious sham evidence, why weren’t all of the jury verdicts overturned? I’m assuming it was the bulk of the State’s evidence in each of the cases, which I think it is a fair assumption. Tracking over water? Picking up a scent six months later? The officer should be in jail, and the prosecutors should be poster children for why absolute immunity is a bad idea. I don’t know all of the details, and I know I’m making the above statements without investigating the cases and writing in anger. … Read entire article »

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