» Entries tagged with "continuance"

Bad Facts + Time = Bad Law

There is an old saying about bad facts making bad law. It is probably true, but luckily, that does not have to be the case. Look no further than the recent Court of Appeals of Arizona case of State v. Lucas and its predecessor for proof. They also show that nearly-identical bad facts will eventually, even before the same court, create bad law sooner or later. The facts of both cases were simple. Victims have a right to refuse interviews in Arizona, and courts can designate a victim’s representative by law when the victim is a minor. In State v. Lucas, the grandmother was the victim’s representative, and the victim reached the age of majority. The defense wanted to interview her. The law provides the … Read entire article »

Filed under: Arizona Cases, Victim's Rights

Justice v. Efficiency

The criminal justice system is broken. Many judges are little more than prosecutors in robes. The courts fuss and fume when you need an extra week or two to make a decision. They push you into whatever plea comes your way. In Phoenix City Court, you usually spend the pretrial stages in front of a single judge. After you decide to fight it, though, they shuffle you elsewhere. The order says you’ll be going to trial in thirty days, but the court struggles to get you in front of a judge in sixty. You won’t know which judge you’ll get for fifty-nine. When everyone assumed you’d plead, they rushed you to a decision. After they realized you were going to fight, they stretched it out as long … Read entire article »

Filed under: Courts, DUI, Trial

Clients, Contracts, and Good Deeds

I could barely understand what she was saying. The woman on the phone was hysterical. She called me that afternoon out of desperation and was so distraught she didn’t make an awful lot of sense. I could piece together that her son was charged with a felony, that his arraignment was coming up very soon, and that he would lose his job if he had to request that day off of work. She insisted I was her son’s new public defender. It didn’t take me long to realize what was happening. Years ago, indigent defense contract work was a key component in our business model. People don’t line up to retain lawyers in their mid-twenties with about ten seconds of experience. Not if the … Read entire article »

Filed under: Clients, Practice in General

The Coverage Dilemma

I do my best to personally attend every single hearing for every single client I represent. Every lawyer I respect does the same. Despite my best intentions, however, I admit I’ve had to ask for coverage. I’m sure I’ll have to do it again. Trials sometimes go longer than planned, and judges sometimes set things over my objection. Every judge thinks his or her orders are the most important. When a non-lawyer justice of the peace sets a misdemeanor pretrial opposite a felony jury trial that’s been docketed for five months, you can bet I’ll be sending another lawyer to do that pretrial. I’ll send someone I trust, but it won’t be me. Yesterday morning, the tables were turned when another lawyer asked me … Read entire article »

Filed under: lawyers, Practice in General

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