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

Lessons From Tombstone

I did the tourist thing in Tombstone this past weekend. It was pretty darn fun, I must admit. There’s the OK Corral, where lawmen who were at times outlaws killed some outlaws who were probably at times not outlaws. There’s historic Allen Street, where who knows how many people died in random gunfights. There were mines, graves for people who were little more than expendable commodities to wealthy businessmen, and there was also no shortage of beautiful high desert scenery, where who knows how many people were killed by hostile natives who didn’t take kindly to being exterminated as settlers continued to occupy their territory. The nifty old courthouse museum, where the convicted were hanged and the acquitted were sometimes hanged too, was a real highlight. … Read entire article »

Filed under: Government Rants

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

It’s Not Just About Them

I’m no expert at dog training. If you come to my house, the pony-sized dog will mercilessly lean on you while drooling. If she’s had any water recently, you will probably wish you were wearing a wet suit. If you don’t have one, consider bringing a change of clothes. All we have to show for our multiple failed attempts to train her are lots of hurt feelings. All hers. Any mild correction results in her pouting off to bed for about a day and looking like you’ve beaten her. Any failure to positively reinforce, even when she hasn’t done anything remotely resembling what you wanted her to do, results in her pouting off to bed and looking like you’ve beaten her until you feed her … Read entire article »

Filed under: Courts, Government Rants

Institutional Car Theft

We all know that the government wants to take our money. As I’ve explained before, it sometimes tries to take our cars too. What I didn’t mention is that we don’t even have to be the target of a pending criminal matter for that to happen. A little while back, I spoke with a man who was living at a homeless shelter. He found himself there after being on the streets for some time, but prior to that, he’d been living out of his car. Until the government stole it, that is. They took not just his only means of transportation, but his home as well. It was all because he ran out of gas. After the poor guy found himself stranded by the side of … Read entire article »

Filed under: Government Rants

Power Over Life And Death

A brilliant young man killed himself. The defendant in a federal prosecution for downloading nearly 5 million articles from an organization whose mission is “to foster widespread access to the world’s body of scholarly knowledge,” his situation was clearly more than he could bear. The “victim” settled all civil claims against him this past summer after he returned the data he had in his possession. The government went ahead with prosecution anyway, reasoning as follows: Stealing is stealing, whether you use a computer command or a crowbar, and whether you take documents, data or dollars. His family’s statement contained the following: Aaron’s death is not simply a personal tragedy. It is the product of a criminal justice system rife with intimidation and prosecutorial overreach. Aaron and his family learned in the … Read entire article »

Filed under: Prosecutors

The Simpsons Already Did It

I’m about ready to boycott Facebook. I suppose I could marvel at the diversity of my friends’ political views, but it’s mostly just draining. Half of them are stockpiling weapons. The other half are champing at the bit for some sort of action, any action, from legislators. Why they feel the need to share their views in impersonal snippets bound to piss off half of their “friends” is beyond me. Personally, I’ve avoided posting anything about last week’s tragedy because it has seemed far too soon for me to know what lessons I should be taking away from it, if there are any at all. It’s also far easier to make sense of other people’s reactions than it is to make sense of what happened. After I … Read entire article »

Filed under: Government Rants

A Fundamental Shift

A particular way of thinking dominates among people inside the justice system. The idea is that the state accomplishes the noble goals of the people, and wrongdoers deserve the punishments the legislature created for doing the things the legislature told them not to do independently of the state’s wrongdoing in catching and prosecuting them. The system’s objectives are good and pure and worthy even when its agents and their methods are questionable. That view is apparent in courts everywhere. When prosecutors erroneously ask for dismissals with prejudice instead of without prejudice, courts quietly correct the mistake because defendants shouldn’t benefit from such things. Most of them did it, after all, and the laws say they shouldn’t have. Even when a prosecutor willfully conceals evidence, courts are … Read entire article »

Filed under: Government Rants

Getting a Job and Doing a Job, Gen Y Style

I recently had to fly to an undisclosed location to participate in an interview with a witness who shall remain nameless. Everyone involved tried to make the whole thing seem very high security, as you can probably tell. They seemed to be caught up in the intrigue and secrecy of it all. I found it extremely inconvenient. I didn’t get to know where I was going to go until a couple of days before, and I wasn’t supposed to tell anyone about it. After arriving, I was supposed to meet some people at a mysterious location. They refused to give me any details in advance. I knew the purpose of the meeting and who set it up, and I didn’t want to end up on … Read entire article »

Filed under: Law School, lawyers, Practice in General, Solo Practice

Everybody Has a Boss

Once upon a time, I believed judges could do things. I thought they could rule on motions and even continue trials. Sadly, the world is not as it once seemed. I sat in chambers last month and listened to a seasoned judge talk about how he’d love to continue a trial but couldn’t because “they” were getting onto him about granting too many continuances. This is a man who can, and probably has, imposed the death penalty at some point. He clearly has a boss. Probably more than one. His bosses tell him how to do his job. Given the fact judicial retention elections are not exactly close calls, his bosses aren’t the voting public. Some group of people I don’t know is … Read entire article »

Filed under: Government Rants

It's All Illegal

Years ago, I thought I knew what was illegal and what was not. Now, I know that what I once thought I knew may in fact be unknowable. Take hindering prosecution, for instance. In Arizona, a person commits the offense of hindering prosecution if, with the intent to hinder the prosecution of another person for any felony, the person renders assistance to the other person. A person can render assistance by knowingly preventing by means of deception anyone from performing an act that might aid in the prosecution of the other person. I have a client who was in custody last summer, sitting on the chain in court waiting for a hearing. An officer came to court to get a handwriting exemplar from another inmate on the chain, … Read entire article »

Filed under: Government Rants

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