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» Entries tagged with "DUI"

They Just Want Your Money

On Monday, I got to hear an elderly gentleman get sentenced for a first-time super extreme DUI (one where his blood alcohol concentration was over 0.20%) as I waited for the court to call my client’s case. He was so nervous he was shaking, and at one point, he begged the judge to not send him to jail. She told him something about how she would have to send her own brother for jail for that charge because the legislature set a mandatory minimum sentence. She also added a little comment about seeing people with a third of his BAC being involved in fatal collisions. How that could be the case seeing how she’s a misdemeanor court judge and doesn’t seem the type to go to … Read entire article »

Filed under: Courts, Government Rants

The Shame of Doing Wrong

If you’re ashamed of what you’re doing, maybe you should reconsider doing it. It seems simple enough, right? I frequently deal with people who have serious substance abuse and mental health issues. They are usually fairly aware of their problems. Although many are incapable of fixing them, I see complete denial less often than I would have expected before I began practicing law. The shameful rock bottom moment, typically the moment that led to them needing my services, is the sort of thing that makes most of them shudder. The embarrassment can help commit them to change, but it can also depress them, leading right back onto the destructive path that caused the problem in the first place. Whether awareness of the need to change … Read entire article »

Filed under: Prosecutors

When Justice Is Corruption And Injustice Is The Law

Via one of my favorite blogs, the ever-fantastic Philly Law Blog written by Jordan Rushie and Leo M. Mulvihill, Jr., whose beard-mentoring qualifications give me beard envy and whose fashion sensibilities continue to intimidate me into wearing plaid for every occasion, respectively, came this amazing little report. In case you don’t want to click through, the report details all kinds of favorable treatment given to important people by Philadelphia’s traffic courts. Unlike most thirty-plus page reports about a court in a different state, I felt compelled to read it. I’m glad I did. The report tells a story of judges giving “special consideration” to people with power. It explains that judges routinely helped the politically connected individuals get all kinds of benefits, even when no express request … Read entire article »

Filed under: Government Rants

A Turd In The Punch Bowl

The times they are a-changing. Arizona now allows bars and retailers to fill growlers of beer from their taps for customers to take home. To-go tap beer is a great idea with all kinds of great benefits. Most notably, it’s cheaper and far safer than continuing to drink at a bar. How many people over the past several years had that extra round before driving home because they didn’t have anything to enjoy when they got back? There aren’t an awful lot of bars that double as retailers. The new law allows people to try great products they wouldn’t otherwise get to try in the comfort of their own homes. A recent article in the Arizona Capitol Times discussed the new law and its many … Read entire article »

Filed under: Arizona Statutes, DUI

Formalities, Theirs and Ours

The law is filled with all kinds of silly formalities. They place the prosecutor’s table on the side closer to the jury box. You’re not supposed to touch the judge’s podium. Some courts require that the lawyers wear a suit or sports coat. A jury is supposed to be sworn. That last one probably seems really important to you, but it isn’t. From a post earlier today from Scott Greenfield at Simple Justice, I learned about a Tenth Circuit opinion yesterday affirming a conviction in a case where the jury reached its verdict despite having never been sworn. Oops! In the case, the defense attorney knew the judge forgot to swear them in, but he waited until after the verdict to bring it up. The … Read entire article »

Filed under: DUI, Government Rants

Great Expectations

Part of my fee agreement explains how my fee in each case is based in part on a variety of considerations, one of which is the expectations of the client. Many of the other listed factors, like the urgency of the matter and the necessity of declining other work, once seemed far more important to me. Over time, they have come to pale in comparison with client expectations. For the client who wants to walk, beating the main charge but being convicted of a lesser is a massive disappointment. It doesn’t matter if they’re avoiding a murder conviction in favor of a lesser charge or just beating the part of the DUI charge that would have made it a felony. Any conviction is a failure. It’s the same … Read entire article »

Filed under: Clients

An Unintended Consequence of S.B. 1070?

Paul B. Kennedy at The Defense Rests put up a post on Tuesday about how the Supreme Court of the United States struck down portions of Arizona’s anti-immigrant statute while letting others stand. He concluded, “[t]he Court’s decision on Monday will open the door for the police in Arizona to profile motorists based on skin color and appearance.” As the article he cited explains, the Supreme Court unanimously upheld the statute’s requirement that police officers check the immigration status of people they stop. That provision, which the article calls the law’s “most controversial aspect,” is found in A.R.S. 11-1051 and provides as follows in relevant part: For any lawful stop, detention or arrest made by a law enforcement official . . . where reasonable suspicion exists that the person is … Read entire article »

Filed under: Arizona Statutes, SCOTUS Cases

The Way They Think

I know a lot of nice prosecutors. I know prosecutors who care about justice. A few of them care about people too. Unfortunately, some of the other prosecutors I know don’t care much about anything except for hurting criminal defendants. The legislature gives them permission to ruin lives, and they relish the opportunity. One of my clients is charged with first-time DUI, and she has a very long history of medical problems. She’s had five back surgeries in the time I’ve represented her. She has to take special precautions just to make it through a day of work, and she sees doctors pretty much constantly. Spending a lot of time in jail would be disastrous for her health. I obtained documentation from medical … Read entire article »

Filed under: DUI, 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

Abusing Science

The government loves science. It should be quite obvious why, as science can very easily be twisted to serve the state’s nefarious purposes while maintaining the illusion of being undeniable and absolute. Science is the smoking gun in many cases, regardless of whether it really is or not. DUI cases in particular are often built on nothing more than government pseudo-science, something without which the state would only be able to prove in many instances that defendants were bad drivers who did a poor job performing parlor tricks for a cop. The results of a supposedly scientific test can instantaneously change a minor civil traffic ticket into a DUI conviction along with all of the accompanying social stigma and various draconian punishments. Most lawyers and judges are … Read entire article »

Filed under: Courts, DUI, Government Rants

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