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

The Greater Harm

Early last month, the United States District Court for the District of Arizona issued an opinion about whether driving slowly in the fast lane constituted reasonable suspicion for a traffic stop. FourthAmendment.com wrote about the opinion a few days ago in a post entitled “D.Ariz.: Driving less than the speed limit in the left lane was RS for stop.” Curious, I looked up the case and read the facts. An officer was patrolling the three lanes of westbound traffic on I-10 in Tucson when he saw a pickup truck in the far-left lane going under the 65 mile-per-hour speed limit. The officer noticed other cars were slowing behind the black pickup and passing it in the center lane. When the speed limit increased to 75 miles per … Read entire article »

Filed under: Arizona Cases, immigration, Search and Seizure

Picking Issues

I saw this post on FourthAmendment.com over the weekend. The synopsis, for people who don’t like clicking on links, is that a federal court in Nebraska discussed how a defense lawyer doesn’t have a constitutional duty to raise every non-frivolous issue on appeal. The court quoted the Supreme Court of the United States about how experienced advocates trim weaker arguments on appeal and focus on the best issue instead. As far as the art of persuasion goes, it’s not bad advice. A shotgun-style approach is rarely the best way to approach trial advocacy. It dilutes the best points. It’s hiding a needle in a haystack for seekers who aren’t terribly inclined to search very hard and who don’t know they’re looking for a needle in the … Read entire article »

Filed under: Courts

Making Bad Law

I recently had an interesting talk with a prosecutor. I litigated a case against him a little while back, and I thought it had decent facts for a motion to suppress. The officer’s report clearly stated that he had completed the traffic stop, issued a warning, and told the occupants they were free to go before re-initiating contact and asking them, “hey, do you mind if I take a look in the car?” There’s an Arizona court of appeals case from last year called State v. Sweeney. In it, the court held that, after a traffic stop has concluded, an officer must have reasonable cause to initiate a second detention of a suspect. Based on the totality of the circumstances, the officer in my case didn’t have … Read entire article »

Filed under: Arizona Cases, Prosecutors, Search and Seizure

Difficult Clients

When I first considered becoming a lawyer, I asked a lot of lawyers for their thoughts about practicing law. Two of those lawyers told me the same thing: “the practice of law would be perfect if it weren’t for clients.” What was particularly surprising about that comment was that it came from lawyers thousands of miles apart practicing in completely different areas of law. They were clearly kidding (kind of), as they’re both dedicated advocates for their clients, but the advice let me know that representing people may be the reason for going into law, but those same people may also be the primary source of difficulty in the job. I do my best to build strong working relationships with all my clients. They trust me with … Read entire article »

Filed under: Clients, Practice in General

The Stupidest Thing I've Ever Read

Here it is, a comment a law professor named David Papke posted earlier today: I’m pleased to hear Andrew Golden has observed only minimal alienation in the PD’s Office. It’s nice to know there are islands of integrity and commitment in the profession. However, I strongly agree with Chris King’s sense of the proper relationship between legal education and the practice of law. We don’t want law school to be lawyer-training school. When we cave in to demands of that sort from the ABA and assorted study commissions, we actually invite alienation among law students and lawyers. Legal education should appreciate the depth of the legal discourse and explore its rich complexities. It should operate on a graduate-school level and graduate people truly learned in the law. Okay, maybe I’m exaggerating. Maybe … Read entire article »

Filed under: Law School, Practice in General

Super-nosed Cops

I recently had a case where a police officer claimed he was able to smell a very small amount of unburnt marijuana. The amount was the same weight as a level teaspoon of salt, yet the officer pulled over the truck and performed a search of the vehicle without the client’s permission based solely on the odor of unburnt marijuana. The marijuana was located in the back of a closed camper inside two sealed plastic baggies inside a nylon gym bag filled with clothes. I have absolutely no doubt that the officer couldn’t have possibly smelled that marijuana. However, as a defense attorney few tools exist for me to challenge the claim on a scientific basis. I’ve only located one case where a court took … Read entire article »

Filed under: Police, Search and Seizure

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