Brown & Little, P.L.C. » Entries tagged with "conviction"

Gee Whiz, Referrals!

An email arrived last Monday from Lawyer.com with the title “Potential Client – Action Requested by Tuesday 9.00 AM.” Adrian forwarded the one he got to me shortly afterwards with a message saying “blog fodder?” I really didn’t want to write about it, but I now feel compelled. Apparently, the “Lawyer.com Listing” I didn’t know I had “generated a Potential Criminal Client.” Clicking through took me to a page where information about the “client” was posted. It was someone with questions about something old on his criminal record, and he wanted a consultation. I would’ve ignored it had I not gotten another one. The second one was from a family member of another potential “client” and provided the guy’s full name and jail location as well as … Read entire article »

Filed under: Marketing

He Was Screwed No Matter What

In a recent Supreme Court of Arizona case, State v. Duran, the defendant tried to plead guilty but the trial court rejected his plea. The trial court then royally messed up by saying the prosecutor could use statements Duran made in connection with his change of plea if he testified inconsistently with them at trial. It’s important here to keep in mind the fact the trial court was wrong. Duran’s statements never, ever should have been used against him. The trial court made a mistake, and as a result, the defendant was confronted with the dilemma of testifying and bearing the disastrous brunt of the court’s mistake or not testifying and probably making the best of a really bad situation. A conviction would pretty much be guaranteed … Read entire article »

Filed under: Arizona Cases, Courts

I May Be Amazingly Brilliant and Tall And Good-Looking But I Am Still A Nuts-And-Bolts Criminal Defense Lawyer Available To YOU 24/7

Over at a public defender, Gideon wrote yesterday about a fascinating overturned conviction: Michael Skakel has just had his convictions reversed and a new trial ordered by former Appellate Court judge Thomas Bishop, who was designated to preside over and adjudicate Skakel’s petition for writ of habeas corpus. The allegations revolve mostly around Skakel’s representation by famed celebrity lawyer Mickey Sherman, in that Skakel alleges that Sherman did a terrible job representing him. That “famed celebrity lawyer” was actually the subject of a post at Simple Justice in 2010 after he pled guilty to two counts of willful failure to pay federal income taxes. The post was about how being a celebrity comes at a price and noted how Mickey Sherman was alleged to have converted for personal use money intended to … Read entire article »

Filed under: lawyers, Marketing

In Other News, the Sky Is Blue and Marijuana Prohibition Is Bullshit

FourthAmendment.com put up a link yesterday to this New York Times story. Its title, “Blacks Are Singled Out for Marijuana Arrests, Data Suggests,” is news to exactly no one. Any perceptive human being who has set foot inside a criminal courthouse could also tell you the racial bias doesn’t end with the arrest. There are some other awful trends that quickly became apparent to me practicing criminal law in Arizona. I saw white defendants caught with marijuana for the first time get misdemeanor citations to appear in city or justice courts. Black defendants in the same position got felony charges in superior court. After charges, white defendants went through diversion, avoiding a conviction. Black defendants ended up pleading to misdemeanors. The second time around, … Read entire article »

Filed under: Government Rants

Demanding Lies

Starting out, I had a long talk with a public defender who’d been fighting the good fight for decades. Here’s a quote I won’t forget: Nobody is too innocent for a misdemeanor. I heard this one from someone else I still respect: Nobody is too innocent for unsupervised probation. Neither person would ever shy away from a fight or do anything to force a client into something they didn’t want to do, so it wasn’t advice from plea salesmen who built their reputations on fancy billboards. Taking them as nuggets of wisdom forged from experience, they’re important lessons about human nature and the nature of the beast we call the criminal “justice” system. Most defense attorneys don’t trust the system. Our clients often don’t trust it too, but it’s usually just the … Read entire article »

Filed under: Courts, Government Rants, Prosecutors

It Goes Both Ways

I was in trial this past week, so I didn’t have a lot of free time. I found myself working into the night to deal with things I couldn’t address during the day. I only had enough time during breaks to respond to the things that seemed the most urgent. One of those things was a frantic message from a prosecutor. She wanted me to call her back as soon as possible. I recently tried a case with her because the state wouldn’t budge one bit on the plea. My client faces the exact same thing right now having lost at trial that he would’ve gotten had he accepted the state’s offer. After three motions, a long evidentiary hearing, various oral arguments, a bunch of … Read entire article »

Filed under: DUI, Trial

Judge or Jury?

Apparently, a recent study has confirmed the findings of an older study: The researchers made three primary findings: Judges tend to convict more than juries in cases of “middle” evidentiary strength. Judges acquit more than juries in cases in which judges regard the evidence favoring the prosecution as weak. Judges convict more than juries in cases in which judges regard the evidence favoring the prosecution as strong. Here’s the conclusion: In sum, criminal defendants are benefited by opting for a bench trial when the evidence is weak, and a jury trial otherwise. It seems to me that the studies confirm what’s probably somewhat obvious to most lawyers who’ve tried any appreciable number of cases to verdict before judges and juries. Juries are unpredictable. I’ve had juries convict clients when I felt the state utterly failed to meet … Read entire article »

Filed under: Trial

Because There Is No Other Crime Here…

We have time to charge and convict people of things like this. Basically, Bishop Rick Painter of Phoenix’s Cathedral of Christ the King was convicted of a criminal noise violation for ringing the bells at his church. Here is more information about the case, with a video. Here is the judgment and sentence order, and here is a press release from Alliance Defense Fund, the attorneys he’s retained for his appeal. If you want to check out the church’s website and listen to what may be the bells that got him in trouble, click here. The law he was convicted of breaking was section 23-12 of the Phoenix City Code, “Creation of unreasonably loud and disturbing noises prohibited.” It provides that “[s]ubject to the provisions of … Read entire article »

Filed under: News, US Constitution

Should We Really Try More Cases?

I don’t completely agree that defense attorneys need to try more cases. I think a lot of defense attorneys are plea mills. Those attorneys definitely need to try more cases. However, trial is often too risky an option for many clients to seriously consider. I can’t blame them. In Arizona, mandatory minimums give the state an incredible amount of leverage. Someone accused of a dangerous offense or a dangerous crime against children is guaranteed a stiff prison sentence if they’re convicted. If you have any prior felony conviction and are accused of a felony offense not involving personal drug possession, you are not eligible for probation. You must go to prison if convicted. If you have two allegeable prior felonies and are accused … Read entire article »

Filed under: Practice in General, Trial

Historical Priors

This seems like a simple concept, but there are a couple of nuances that regularly cause problems for attorneys. Having one or more historical priors has an incredible impact on sentencing, so I’m always surprised when lawyers don’t know how it works. Obviously, for a conviction to be an historical prior conviction, it must precede the conviction for the present offense. But what happens if the offense conduct of the so-called “prior” occurred after the conduct underlying the present offense? Interestingly, the type of offense involved in the “prior” is the determining factor. For the convictions listed in A.R.S. § 13-604(W)(2)(a) and (d), the only requirement with regard to ordering is that the conviction for the offense being used as an historical prior felony conviction precede the conviction from … Read entire article »

Filed under: Arizona Statutes

Articles Comments

Web Design by Actualize Solutions